When we look back on Eminem’s career, there’s almost zero doubt that “Stan” will shake out toward the top of the rapper’s best songs list. It inspired one of the most-famous awards show performances in history, gave birth to a term that even people who weren’t old enough to experience the song use in conversation and — perhaps most importantly — is just a really good example of Eminem’s ability when he was at the top of his game. But a new annotation on Genius by the rapper reveals how the song was almost destroyed before he could get it out of the studio.
One joint-rolling engineer accidentally recorded over the first take of the explosive third verse. That’d be the one where Stan on his way to drive himself and his girlfriend off a bridge and Em says the original was even better than the verse that made it out into the world. Check out his story below:
“When we recorded Stan I worked with a couple different engineers but this particular engineer I had never worked with before. While we were recording the third verse of Stan, he started rolling a joint and asked me if I minded if he smoked while we cut. What was I gonna do? Say no? He was already rolling it so I told him “no problem”. Everything was cool and I had gotten all the way to the last 3 lines and I screwed up so all he had to do was punch in my vocals at the end so I could re-do that line and the verse was finished. Back then we were recording on 2 inch tape, so once you recorded over something it’s gone forever. So I’m in the booth waiting and he backs the tape up all the way to the beginning of the verse and punches me in. I realize he’s in the wrong spot and I can’t hear any of my vocals so I start waving my arms and yelling in the mic to try to get his attention. He doesn’t notice so I run into the control room through a cloud of smoke and yell “Yo, I wanted to keep those vocals” he just looked at me and said “My bad man…you wanna hit this?”
The first half of the verse was GONE. I re-recorded it but you should have heard the original take that shit was WAY better…oh well!”