When Eminem made his national debut in 1999, beginning with his first song “My Name Is,” he was the talk of the town. Eminem was not only a gifted and magnetic poet, but he also targeted everyone from his daughter’s mother to his own mother. Unfortunately, LGBT individuals were also in his sights. Or so it appeared, considering Marshall Mathers’ frequent usage of the homophobic slur beginning with the letter “F.” Today, there are numerous stories concerning Em’s use of the phrase and his connection to homophobia. But, with the release of “Stan” in 2000, Eminem, at least for a brief period, shifted the narrative. The song, which is about an infatuated fan, has since taken on its own life. Today, the term “stan” refers to someone who supports another person on the internet. As in, “I stan for Marvel comics.” However, it was when Eminem ascended the stage with the famously fabulous singer Elton John that made news. “Stan” “Stan,” which appeared on Eminem’s 2000 album The Marshall Mathers LP, has since become one of his most renowned tracks. It depicts a fan’s fixation with the celebrity, as well as the fan’s deteriorating mental state, which leads to his murder-suicide. The song is passionate and dark, and it contains Dido on the recording. It’s a contemporary short story.
Dear Slim, I wrote you, but you still ain’t callin’
I left my cell, my pager and my home phone at the bottom
I sent two letters back in autumn, you must not’ve got ’em
There probably was a problem at the post office or somethin’
Sometimes I scribble addresses too sloppy when I jot ’em
But anyways, fuck it, what’s been up, man? How’s your daughter?
My girlfriend’s pregnant too, I’m ’bout to be a father
If I have a daughter, guess what I’ma call her?
I’ma name her Bonnie
Criticism of Eminem
Coming up, Eminem used his lyrics to take aim at pop artists, his family, and others, frequently “killing off” his mother and daughter’s mother. While the thoughts were amusing in some ways, akin to how a violent video game or film may fascinate, they were frightening. And Eminem used this reality in his song “Stan.” Eminem made news during the 2001 Grammy Awards, drawing criticism from organizations such as GLAAD, which advocates for LGBTQ+ rights. That’s when musician Elton John, who is openly gay, came out and sang Dido’s part in “Stan.” Thus, putting Eminem with an openly gay person would seem to suggest that Eminem is not homophobic. The performance was so well-received that it was included on Em’s greatest hits CD, Curtain Call: The Hits, released in 2005. However, fans were unaware that Elton would be joining the rapper ahead of the Grammy Awards. However, as the performance began, the song and music began. Over lightening and thunder, a piano is played. The drums then enter just before Eminem begins rapping. When the chorus begins, Elton enters center stage, revealing himself as the guest vocalist.
My tea’s gone cold, I’m wondering why I
Got out of bed at all
The morning rain clouds up my window
And I can’t see at all
And even if I could, it’d all be grey
But your picture on my wall
It reminds me that it’s not so bad, it’s not so bad
The song concludes with Eminem “writing” to Stan, justifying some of his harsh lyrics and stating that what he says is often done in fun. Take him less seriously. In the song, it’s as if he’s communicating to both his detractors and his supporters, offering a method to the madness. A Relationship The two icons have formed a friendship as a result of their connection. So much so that Eminem allegedly sent him a diamond-encrusted piece of jewelry, according to John. “[Eminem] was accused of being homophobic by so many people,” Elton said. “Because of his lyrics, which I thought were ridiculous.” And I came out and said I didn’t think he is.” Elton also discussed the gift Eminem gave him. That narrative, as well as the 2001 Grammy performance, can be found here.