Vivek Ramaswamy thought he could show off his rap “skills” on the campaign trail — but he’s getting a legal halt from Eminem instead.
BMI, the company in charge of Eminem’s compositions, sent a cease and desist letter on Aug. 23 to the Republican presidential hopeful, asking that he stop performing Slim Shady’s tracks. Now, Ramaswamy says he’ll “respect his wishes.”
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“But I would just say: ‘Will The Real Slim Shady please stand up?” he told MSNBC Tuesday.
“Eminem and his rise used to be a guy who actually stood up to the establishment and said the things that the establishment didn’t want him to say,” Ramaswamy added. “I think the fact that my political viewpoints may differ from his, I think people change over the course of their lives.”
His response comes after he received a letter from BMI that asked that Eminem’s work be removed from a licensing contract Ramaswamy had in place. “BMI will consider any performance of the Eminem Works by the Vivek 2024 campaign from this date forward to be a material breach,” the letter read.
Ramaswamy ended his fire-side chat rapping to “Lose Yourself” pic.twitter.com/CP9wiohq9t
— Caroline Vakil (@CarolineVakil) August 12, 2023
The letter arrived nearly two weeks after Ramaswamy performed Eminem’s track “Lose Yourself” during a stop at the Iowa State Fair, where he spoke alongside Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds. At the event, Ramaswamy said the Eminem track was his preferred walkout song, before he proceeded to rap its lyrics.
“Vivek just got on the stage and cut loose. To the American people’s chagrin, we will have to leave the rapping to the real slim shady,” a spokesperson for Ramaswamy’s campaign told DailyMail.com Monday.
Ramaswamy — who performed political raps while he studied at Harvard under the stage name Da Vek the Rapper — also spoke extensively about being a longtime fan of the rap star in an interview with The New York Times. “I did not grow up in the circumstances he did,” said Ramaswamy. “But the idea of being an underdog, people having low expectations of you, that part speaks to me.”
Ramaswamy told Politico in July that he identified with the message in “Lose Yourself.”
“I saw myself, honestly, making it big through American capitalism, and that’s why the Eminem story spoke to me,” Ramaswamy said. “He’s growing up in the trailers, with a single mom, and he wants to make it… I didn’t grow up in a trailer, but I also didn’t grow up in the same circumstances that most of my peers at Harvard did, either. I aspired to achieve what many of their parents did. It kind of spoke to me, I would say.”
Despite being largely self-funded and lagging behind in fundraising targets in several key polls, Ramaswamy is now tied with or, in some polls, has even surpassed the consistently second-place DeSantis.
This story was updated on Aug. 29 at 6:30 pm ET after Vivek Ramaswamy agreed to stop using Eminem’s music on the campaign trail
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