That Time a Baked Sound Engineer Changed Eminem’s ‘Stan’ Forever

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Em. Photo: Theo Wargo/2014 Getty Images

After re-reflecting on "Stan" last week — as one does from time to time? — Eminem shared a new studio anecdote about the virtuosic song with the Genius community. The behind-the-scenes gem involved a stoned sound engineer who inadvertently erased the rapper's winning rhymes during a second take. With respect to the Stan character's third verse specifically (the one in which the crazed fan is in the car), Em recalled: "I realize [the engineer'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?'" Cue Mr. Mackey.

And check out the full story, including its dramatic, semi-heartbreaking conclusion, 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!

The annotation comes roughly a year after others about the song's writing process:

When I heard “your picture on my wall,” I was like “Yo, this could be about somebody who takes me too seriously.” So I knew what I was going to write about before I wrote it. A lot of times when I’m writing songs, I see visions for everything I’m writing. This was one of those.

And during his weekend nostalgia binge, Eminem also commented on "The Real Slim Shady," "Marshall Mathers," and "Criminal." See them all here.