The Way I Am (Eminem song)

"The Way I Am" is a song by American rapper Eminem from his third album The Marshall Mathers LP (2000). "The Way I Am" was released as the second single from the album on September 7, 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 for which he has sole songwriting credit. It features a much darker and emotionally driven sound than the album's lead single, which was "The Real Slim Shady".

"The Way I Am"
Single by Eminem
from the album The Marshall Mathers LP
ReleasedSeptember 7, 2000
GenreHardcore hip hop
Songwriter(s)Marshall Mathers
Eminem singles chronology
"The Real Slim Shady"
"The Way I Am"


The song is a prominent hardcore hip-hop track for its angst-ridden lyrics and hostile, aggressive delivery by Eminem. It features the first beat Eminem produced on his own, featuring an ominous bass line, a piano loop, and bell 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 extremely aggressively, almost shouting them out, representing the angry, resentful tone taken by the lyrics. The song contains the line "When a dude's gettin bullied and shoots up his school, and they blame it on Marilyn...", referring to either Eric Harris or Dylan Klebold, the bullied perpetrators of the Columbine High School massacre which took place the previous year, and the resulting media backlash against Marilyn Manson. 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 the 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" was certified Gold in Sweden, selling over 20,000 copies.[1]

In 2008, Eminem released a second autobiography titled The Way I Am.

Critical reception

The song received very positive reviews. Aspects lauded were the vocal delivery, rhyme pattern, production and political material covered. 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 highlighted 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 him 100% of the writing credits."[4] IGN praised the song: "Eminem is an angry ass white boy and the vitriol continues on "I Way 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] The same magazine, in April 2011, ranked the song at #3 on their 100 Best Eminem Songs list. The line, "If I wasn't, then why would I say I am" was inspired by the song As The "Rhyme Goes On" by Eric B and Rakim.

Music video

The music video at the beginning plays a slow instrumental of his song "Kim", after the "Kim" instrumental is played, the song carries on as normal 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. In the music video version of the song wind sound effects can be heard when Eminem is singing the intro, the first & last chorus. This can't be heard in the album version. The music video removes Eminem saying 'whatever'.[9]

Track listing

UK CD single[10]
1."The Way I Am"4:50
2."Bad Influence"3:40
3."My Fault" (pizza mix)
  • Mathers
  • J. Bass
  • M. Bass
  • Bass Brothers
  • Eminem
4."The Way I Am" (video)  4:52
Total length:17:16
UK Cassette
1."The Way I Am"4:50
2."Bad Influence"3:40
Total length:8:30
Australian CD single[11]
1."The Way I Am" (unedited version)4:50
2."The Way I Am" (clean)
  • Mathers
  • Eminem
3."Kids" (uncensored version)5:07
4."'97 Bonnie & Clyde"
  • Mathers
  • J. Bass
  • M. Bass
  • Bass Brothers
  • Eminem[a]
5."Steve Berman" (skit)Mathers 0:56
6."The Real Slim Shady" (video)  4:44
Total length:25:43



Region CertificationCertified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[32] Gold 400,000
United States (RIAA)[33] Platinum 1,000,000*

sales+streaming figures based on certification alone


  1. "(Guld & Platina) ÅR 2000" [(Gold & Platinum) Year 2000] (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. pp. 8, 10. Archived from the original ("The Way I Am" at #2131) on March 4, 2012.
  2. "Eminem: The Marshall Mathers LP - PopMatters Music Review". Archived from the original on 22 April 2006. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  3. Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "The Marshall Mathers LP - Eminem - Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  4. "Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP (album review 15) - Sputnikmusic". Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  5. "The Marshall Mathers LP". IGN. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  6. Sal Cinquemani (16 January 2001). "Eminem: The Marshall Mathers LP - Album Review - Slant Magazine". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  7. "Complex - Style, Music, Sneakers, Entertainment, Girls, Technology". Archived from the original on 2009-12-05. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
  8. "The Hudsucker Proxy Trailer". YouTube. 2008-02-23. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
  9. "Complex | Style, Music, Sneakers, Entertainment, Girls, Technology". Archived from the original on 2009-11-20. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
  10. "Way I Am: Music". Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  11. "Way i Am: Music". Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  12. " – Eminem – The Way I Am". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  13. " – Eminem – The Way I Am" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  14. " – Eminem – The Way I Am" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  15. " – Eminem – The Way I Am" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  16. " – Eminem – The Way I Am". Tracklisten. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  17. "Eminem: The Way I Am" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  18. " – Eminem – The Way I Am". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  19. "Chart Track: Week 40, 2000". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  20. "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 44, 2000" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  21. " – Eminem – The Way I Am" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  22. " – Eminem – The Way I Am". Singles Top 100. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  23. " – Eminem – The Way I Am". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  24. "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  25. "Eminem Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  26. "Eminem Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  27. "Eminem Chart History (Rhythmic)". Billboard. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  28. "Rapports Annuels 2000". Ultratop. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  29. "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 2000". Top 40. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  30. "Jaaroverzichten – Single 2000". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  31. "Årslista Singlar – År 2000" (in Swedish). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  32. "British single certifications – Eminem – The Way I Am". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved February 15, 2019. Select singles in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type The Way I Am in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  33. "American single certifications – Eminem – The Way I Am". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved February 28, 2018. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
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