"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 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.
In 2008, Eminem released a second autobiography titled The Way I Am.
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."AllMusic highlighted the song.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." 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)." 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." The song was named the 35th Best Song of the decade by the magazine Complex. 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.
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.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'.