Lupe Fiasco has recently shared footage of him teaching his new “Rap Theory & Practice” class at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As part of the course, which is described as “an exploration into the underlying fundamental functions, structures, and principles of rap,” Fiasco decodes and breaks down lyrics from himself, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar.
Songs that Lupe Fiasco examined during the lecture included Eminem’s 2000 hit song “Stan,” from The Marshall Mathers LP album, Kendrick Lamar’s “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst” and his own track “Jonylah Forever,” from his 2018 release DROGAS Wave.
“Stan! Anybody not aware of Stan? Anybody not blown away with that list? Stan is probably Eminem’s greatest record. Arguably, hands down, probably Eminem’s greatest record. This song is about a fan. It’s where we get the word Stan from. The song is about a fan who writes Eminem a letter. “Dear Marshall…” and writes his first verse. Writes another letter in second verse that’s little bit more aggressive. Then he does the third verse, per say. It’s a recording. Stan recording himself, kidnapping his girlfriend and doing this wired murder suicide plot. And he’s recording this thing to Eminem and at the end of the verse he comes to realization, ‘oh s–t, how I’m gonna send this out?!’ But that’s not a plot twist. That’s great. you gotta stop there but there is fourth verse. And the twist is, Eminem finally receives the letter from the first verse and he sat down to response: ‘Dear Stan…” and at the end of the verse, Eminem has the epiphany ‘oh s–t, it was you.’ The layering and the complexity of how he worked that repetition plot break structure, it was masterful. Taking very simple concept that we all learned when we were kinds.” said Lupe Fiasco.
You can watch it below: