Producer: DJ Mark the 45 King
Album: The Marshall Mathers LP
Label: Aftermath/Interscope
One of Eminem's finest musical moments (probably the best rap-as-another-character performance since Biggie did it), this is, without a doubt, a classic. (So good even Elton John and the Grammy people co-signed...and they don't even like rap.) The Dido sample was out of left field yet went perfectly with the pen-on-paper scribbling SFX under the moody rainfall. (Who knew The 45 King still had that fire?) Em kept the emotional impact going through—surprise!—four verses by making Stan grow more agitated and angry at Eminem as the storyline progressed. There were nuances to the character, off-handed remarks like "I wrote the address perfect," that gave listeners a better sense of Stan's disturbed personality (just from that line you could imagine him spending hours writing the address on the envelope) and thus made him feel more three-dimensional. The deranged fan ("P.S. We should be together too") was portrayed so well, and Em ended up becoming so famous, that "Stan" became a part of popular lexicon.