Eminem, in his prime, was the most famous rapper in the world. Eminem (real name Marshall Mathers) has sold millions and has, arguably, been (musically) one of the most successful artists in hip-hop. The Marshall Mathers LP was Eminem’s second album, and it was just as good as his The Slim Shady LP, if not better and cemented his place in hip-hop.
The album was a smash hit and sold 1.78million copies in its first week in the US alone and won Eminem a Grammy for ‘Best Rap Album’. The lead single, ‘The Real Slim Shady’, is one of the most legendary songs in hip-hop, but not as legendary as the album’s third single, ‘Stan’.
‘Stan’ tells the story of a fan who is unhealthily obsessed with Eminem. The song details the contents of a piece of fan mail that ‘Stan’ wrote to Eminem before he took his own life. The fanmail details how he appreciated Eminem’s music and expresses how much he related to the negative things Eminem addressed in his music.
The letter details how Stan saw himself in Eminem because they had so much in common. ‘Stan’ expressed he was confused as to why Shady would not return his letters since their life stories were almost identical. For ‘Stan’, it was a matter of life or death that Mathers responded to since he felt that he was the only person in the world who could understand him and his struggles.
The 45 King-produced track samples Dido’s 1999 song ‘Thank You’ and is considered one of his signature tracks. The Encore emcee has performed it with Ed Sheeran in Detroit, and has since become a four times platinum single.
However, the fanatic’s name has since been co-opted by fans and used to describe someone who is obsessive or doing something that alludes to stalking and can be used in a derogatory manner.
In 2017, the word “Stan” was added to the Oxford American Dictionary, defined as “An overzealous or obsessive fan of a particular celebrity.” As well as being a noun, the term can also be used as a verb with the example, “When I was a teenager, I stanned Justin Bieber.” The 2000 song is listed as the origin of the word.
You can listen to the track below.