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Eminem was stunned when his name was called.
Depending on what kind of Eminem fan you are, the last week or so has been more than a little polarizing. His latest single, “Walk on Water,” wasn’t quite the return to hard-hitting form that some Slim Shady supporters would’ve liked, going instead for a more introspective, melodic vibe. The vocal work by Beyoncé, who delivers the soaring chorus, followed Em’s recent tradition of having big-time female artists support him on certain songs. With all this in mind, the world remains kind of split insofar as their expectations for Revival, Eminem’s long-awaited LP that feels like it could drop at any moment. However, if you ask the rapper himself, he’s not quite worthy of any accolades for his new material just yet.
Take, for example, his reaction to winning “Best Hip Hop” at MTV’s Europe Music Awards last weekend, the same awards show where he performed “Walk On Water” in front of a live audience for the first time. Chuck D, B-Real, and Tom Morello, who are members of the rock-rap hybrid Prophets of Rage, took the stage to present the award in a category that boasted nominees like Drake, Future, Kendrick Lamar and Post Malone. In a crowded field, Eminem still came out on top, but when he stepped up to accept the honor, he looked visibly stunned, as per Noisey. “I don’t really know how I got this,” he said. “I haven’t had an album out in a few years.” During his performance segment, frequent collaborator Skylar Grey replaced Beyoncé on female vocals.
That’s not the only startling news about Eminem that has made headlines so far this week. A recent study of over 190 NYU students found that certain music preferences, including a love for Shady’s hit record “Lose Yourself,” were popular with those who ranked near the top of the psychopathy scale. There’s been no through-line established by the researchers as of yet, meaning the data is still in its infancy, but the findings were presented at a neuroscience conference with about 30,000 in attendance earlier this week. Between this revelation and his somewhat unexpected MTV EMA, Eminem’s music is getting people talking once again. The real test will be how the public reacts to Revival whenever it sees the light of day.