In 1992, 22-year-old Beck Hansen was scraping by as a video-store clerk while performing “anti-folk” songs at L.A. coffeehouses. During that year, he cut “Loser” in the kitchen of onetime Geto Boys producer Karl Stephenson. The song became the centerpiece of his major-label debut album, 1994's Mellow Gold, which cost $200 to make. But the downside of creating the quintessential slacker anthem is that people assumed Beck was actually a loser himself. "It didn't seem like people understood what I was doing," Beck told Rolling Stone. "It was like, 'Is this guy for real? Is he making music that's worthy or valuable?' I felt like I was constantly having to prove myself."
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