Eminem returns with a ballad, with help from Beyonce

Rapper Eminem debuted a new track, Walk On Water, which is from his new album, his first in four years.
Rapper Eminem debuted a new track, Walk On Water, which is from his new album, his first in four years. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Rap superstar Eminem made his long-awaited return over the weekend with a strikingly fresh sound - an introspective ballad that features Beyonce.

Eminem, the top-selling rapper of all time who earned his fame on the back of aggressive beats and lightning-quick rhymes, is accompanied almost entirely by piano and strings on the new track, Walk On Water.

In a series of social media posts, the 45-year-old indicated that Walk was the debut single from a new album, Revival, which would be his first in four years.

MTV announced that he would perform the song live for the first time on Sunday at the network's European Music Awards in London.

Walk is driven by a gospel-tinged chorus in which Beyonce sings of how Eminem is deeply human. "I walk on water - but only when it freezes," sings Beyonce, in one of her first appearances since giving birth to twins in June.

In the song, Eminem describes his perfectionism and how it fuels his anxiety as he fears his new material will not live up to his standards.

"Will this just be another misstep / To tarnish whatever legacy, love or respect I've garnered?" he raps.

"The rhyme has to be perfect / The delivery flawless / And it always feels like I'm hitting the mark / 'Til I go sit in the car, listen and pick it apart."