Eminem's been on a hell of Genius annotation roll lately, revealing that in the early days he used to be bothered by comparisons to Nas and that his lyrics are often not nearly as complex as people think. And today he hopped back on the lyrical explanation site to tell a behind-the-scenes story of that one time his engineer was so high in the studio he accidentally erased an entire verse from "Stan."
"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!"
Well, it looks like we can officially add that story to the list of accidentally destroyed hip-hop artifacts, along with the original lyrics for TLOP that Kanye's daughter flushed down the toilet and Nas' first version of Illmatic. Just think, we were a joint away from every hip-hop head on the planet memorizing something different than Phil Collins references.
It's strange to hear that the same work you view as flawless the artist thinks could have been better—just how much better? Would it have been possible for the song to be even more classic? The mind reels at the possibilities...