Eminem has snapped one politician back to reality after the unauthorized use of his music.
The “Rap God” artist recently sent a cease-and-desist letter to Republican presidential nominee Vivek Ramaswamy after the businessman-turned-politician rapped along to Eminem’s 2002 hit “Lose Yourself” at the Iowa State Fair this month. A representative for music licenser BMI confirmed to The Times that the company had filed the letter on behalf of Eminem.
Video of Ramaswamy’s spur-of-the-moment performance has garnered millions of views on social media. Reactions in the comments section to the right-wing candidate’s rapping ranged from ultra-supportive to very critical, with most expressing surprise at the occurrence.
“This letter serves as notice … that BMI has received a communication from Marshall B. Mathers, III, professionally known as Eminem, objecting to the Vivek Ramaswamy campaign’s use of Eminem’s musical compositions,” states the cease-and-desist letter; The Times reviewed a copy.
“BMI will consider any performance of the Eminem Works by the Vivek 2024 campaign from this date forward to be a material breach of the Agreement for which BMI reserves all rights and remedies with respect thereto.”
Ramaswamy’s camp has responded to the letter publicly by stating that the presidential hopeful will stop rapping along to the “Just Lose It” artist’s songs.
“Vivek just got on the stage and cut loose,” Ramaswamy’s campaign spokesperson Tricia McLaughlin said. “To the American people’s chagrin, we will have to leave the rapping to the real Slim Shady.”
Ramaswamy is no stranger to the rap game, however. As an undergrad at Harvard University, he performed at open-mic nights as rapper “Da Vek.”
“I saw myself, honestly, making it big through American capitalism, and that’s why the Eminem story spoke to me,” Ramaswamy told Politico. “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.”
Ramaswamy made his grand debut on the national level at last week’s Republican presidential primary debate.
The 38-year-old Ohio native drew attacks from the other candidates at Wednesday’s debate centering on his age and political inexperience, as well as foreign policy beliefs that buck traditional GOP orthodoxy about the United States’ role as leader of the free world. Rival candidates accused him of being either naive about international policy or shamelessly exploiting an increasingly isolationist bent in the GOP to advance his political standing.
Times staff writer Seema Mehta contributed to this report.