The Way I Am (Eminem song)

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"The Way I Am"
Single by Eminem
from the album The Marshall Mathers LP
Released December 27, 2000
Format CD single, digital download
Recorded 2000
Genre Hardcore hip hop
Length 4:50
Label Aftermath, Interscope, Shady
Writer(s) Marshall Mathers
Producer(s) Eminem
Certification Gold (SRIA)
Eminem singles chronology
"The Real Slim Shady"
(2000)
"The Way I Am"
(2000)
"Stan"
(2000)

"The Way I Am" is a song by American hip hop recording artist Eminem. It was released on December 27, 2000 as the second single from his highly acclaimed album The Marshall Mathers LP (2000). It is also featured on his 2005 compilation album, Curtain Call: The Hits. In the tradition of most of Eminem's follow-up singles, "The Way I Am" is one of the songs that he has a sole songwriting credit and features a much darker and emotionally driven sound than the album's lead single, which was "The Real Slim Shady".

Background[edit]

It features the first beat Eminem produced on his own, featuring an ominous bass line, a piano loop, and chimes. In the song, Eminem lashes out at people he feels are putting too much pressure on him, including overzealous fans and record executives expecting him to top the success of his hit single "My Name Is", though in fact he went on to do so with "The Real Slim Shady," as well as other songs. He delivers each line very aggressively, almost shouting them out. The song contains the line "When a dude's gettin bullied and shoots up his school...", referring to either Eric Harris or Dylan Klebold, the bullied perpetrators of the Columbine High School massacre which took place the previous year. The song has also been remixed by Danny Lohner featuring Marilyn Manson, who has performed the song with Eminem live on stage. The song reached number 8 in the United Kingdom, while in Mathers' United States it did not fare as well, not charting on the top 50. In 2005 it was re-released on the album Curtain Call: The Hits. "The Way I Am" certifying Gold in Sweden, sold over 10,000 copies.[1] In 2008, Eminem released an autobiography titled The Way I Am.

Structure[edit]

From the perspective of traditional poetic theory, almost the entire song, excluding the chorus, can be described as being written in anapestic tetrameter. However, though this poetic label accurately describes the short-short-long pattern that dominates Eminem's flow in this song, it fails to capture the musical rhythm of his delivery, which in Rap is more significant. Eminem delivers his short-short-long "anapestic" rhythm in a highly syncopated manner which is completely off the beat: he rests on the beat itself, 1,2,3,4, and delivers his words on the other 16th notes (e & a), accenting the last 16th note, the same place where the kick drum hits. This highly syncopated rhythm gives this piece much of its dramatic tension and is identical to the rhythm of the piano accompaniment. The chorus adapts lines from the song "As the Rhyme Goes On" from Eric B. and Rakim's debut album Paid in Full in which Rakim raps, "I'm the R, the A, to the K, I M--if I wasn't, then why would I say I am?" - Rakim would later be signed to Aftermath, but left before releasing an album.

Critical response[edit]

Cynthia Fuchs of PopMatters was positive: "In "The Way I Am," Eminem expounds, "Since birth I've been cursed with this curse to just curse / And just blurt this berserk and bizarre shit that works / And it sells and it helps in itself to relieve / All this tension, dispensin' these sentences." So there it is: he's performing therapy."[2] AllMusic higlighted the song.[3] Sputnikmusic described this song as "Amityville's portrayal of the Detroit he grew up in; The Way I Am as a whole". Same critic listed it in Recommended Downloads and praising the single: "Built over doomy, gothic arpeggios, rumbling bass, and church bells, Eminem lays down one of the most perfectly formed lyrics of his career, weaving in and out of a tight rhyme scheme that echoes the loping piano motif. Interesting aside: this is one of the first Eminem songs that gives M. Mathers 100% of the writing credits."[4] IGN praised the song: "Eminem is an angry a$$ white boy and the vitriol continues on "I Way That I Am," in which he soundly states "I am whatever you say I am/If I wasn't why would I say I am?" And when he complains that he's "so sick and tired of being admired…" one almost believes that he'll hang up the mic and disappear (but Em obviously loves the attention so that's not an option at this point in the game). The throbbing, tubular bell and piano laced beat only add to the intensity of the track (incidentally it was crafted by Em himself and it's one of the more stellar examples of his often hit or miss production techniques)."[5] Sal Cinquemani called this song: "He (Eminem) revels in the fact that there's teen violence in upper-class cities on the epic "The Way I Am."[6] The song was named the 35th Best Song of the decade by the magazine Complex.[7] Before Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2012 NBA Playoffs, Miami Heat forward LeBron James is seen in the locker room rapping along to the track during his pregame preparation.

Music video[edit]

The music video at the beginning plays a slow instrumental of his song "Kim", and part of the "Steve Berman" skit (which is the track before this song in the album), and when the song starts, it shows him about to jump out the window of a tall building, and shows him falling through the sky, in a sequence inspired by the Coen brothers film The Hudsucker Proxy, in which the hero also falls slowly from a skyscraper window.[8] Marilyn Manson appears behind Eminem when the song refers to him—and a few more times thereafter. Other shots show fans coming up to him, asking for his autograph, as well as Eminem in his neighborhood in front of an old house. At the end of the video, when Eminem hits the ground, it bounces him safely like a giant mattress. It was named the 19th Best Music Video of the 2000s by Complex magazine.[9] The song is angst-ridden and ostensibly directed towards the record executives who had greatly stressed Eminem to top the success of his last album. As of the time of writing, which was shortly before the album's end of production, Eminem had yet to create any such singles that might replicate his previous success with "My Name Is", though he would soon pen "The Real Slim Shady", which would go on to be his most successful single to date. Resultantly, the song lashes out at those who he perceived were placing undue burdens upon him. He also directs the song at overzealous fans, telling them they should leave him alone rather than harass him and his family.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "The Way I Am" - 4:53
  2. "Bad Influence" - 3:40
  3. "My Fault" (Pizza Mix) - 3:54
  4. "The Way I Am" (Video) - 4:53
  • UK Cassette
  1. "The Way I Am" - 4:53
  2. "Bad Influence" - 3:40
  • Australian CD single[11]
  1. "The Way I Am" (Unedited Version) - 4:53
  2. "The Way I Am" (Clean) - 4:55
  3. "Kids" (Uncensored Version) - 5:07
  4. "'97 Bonnie & Clyde" - 5:17
  5. "Steve Berman" (Skit) - 0:56
  6. "The Real Slim Shady" (Video) - 4:44

Charts[edit]

Chart (2000) Peak
position
Australian Singles Chart 34
Austrian Singles Chart 11
Belgian Singles Chart (Flanders) 16
Belgian Singles Chart (Wallonia) 9
Danish Singles Chart [12] 15
Dutch Top 40[13] 10
Finnish Singles Chart 8
German Singles Chart[14] 19
Irish Singles Chart 4
Swedish Singles Chart 6
Swiss Singles Chart 19
UK Singles Chart[15] 8
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[16] 58
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs[16] 26
U.S. Billboard Rhythmic Top 40[17] 5

References[edit]

External links[edit]