"I keep telling [Beck Hansen] that he's the guy who has to walk down the street and be recognized," says Mark Kates, the Geffen Records A&R director who signed Hansen to a deal in December after a fierce competition with Warner Bros. and Capitol. "He should enjoy his anonymity while it lasts, because when it goes, it goes."
A loose comment by Hansen about a developing interest in rap led [Rob Schnapf] to hook him up with Karl Stephenson, a young hip-hop producer. Hansen went to Stephenson's house, played a slide guitar lick that the producer sampled and surrounded with a solid beat, and started spewing out stream-of-consciousness lyrics that, intentionally or otherwise, summed up the experience of the young and the aimless.
"Loser" was really just a one-off experiment, and Hansen put the track aside and went back to his folk songs, making his home tapes and releasing several independent singles. "Loser" sat for a full year, until the Bongload guys asked if they could release it as a single.