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Don’t Lose Yourself: Rapper Ramaswamy Gets His Comeuppance as Eminem Asks to Cease and Desist

Don’t Lose Yourself: Rapper Ramaswamy Gets His Comeuppance as Eminem Asks to Cease and Desist

  • The GOP presidential hopeful, who’s been inspired by the musician, has taken to performing the white rapper’s popular number “Lose Yourself” on the campaign trail.

Marshall B. Mathers, III, professionally known as Eminem, has asked GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy to stop using his music in his campaign. Through music licensee BMI, the best-selling artist has sent a cease-and-desist letter asking the Indian American to stop performing hit 2002 song “Lose Yourself” on the campaign trail. “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,” the letter read. 

The news of the letter was first reported by the Daily Mail. It was sent a few days after Ramaswamy broke into an impromptu performance of the popular Eminem song at the Iowa State Fair alongside Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds. According to CNN, “Ramaswamy told Reynolds at the event that ‘Lose Yourself’ was his preferred walkout song for a campaign event.

Ramaswamy took to X, formerly known as Twitter, and joked about the letter. “Will The REAL Slim Shady Please Stand Up? He didn’t just say what I think he did, did he? @Eminem.”

Ramaswamy sent an email to supporters today, where he shared a copy of the letter and responded to the notice. “I’ve listened to people that have tried to protest me and had a conversation with them instead,” he wrote. “My political rivals launched a barrage of attacks and insults toward me and I debated them instead. Now, Eminem, one of the biggest proponents of free speech, is trying to shut me down.” 

Noting that for his entire career, the rapper was “the center of the debate on censorship in media and artistic expression,” he questioned why should “freedom of expression be limited to someone who agrees with you, politically?” He took this opportunity to urge Americans “to stand up and demand that the entrenched, out-of-touch liberal elites respect all Americans’ free speech and ensure that all voices are heard – not just those on the left they agree with. The path to truth runs through free speech and expression. Period”

Meanwhile, his campaign spokesperson Tricia McLaughlin told CNN that the  campaign will comply with the request to stop using Eminem’s music. “Vivek just got on the stage and cut loose,” McLaughlin said. “To the American people’s chagrin, we will have to leave the rapping to the real slim shady.”

As a student at Harvard, Ramaswamy was highly inspired by Eminem, and was particularly inspired by the American rapper’s breakout hit “Lose Yourself” which came out in 2002, the year before he went to the prestigious university.  “I saw myself, honestly, making it big through American capitalism, and that’s why the Eminem story spoke to me,” he told Politico in a recent interview. “In Eminem, he found an insurgent-like figure, the kind of persona Ramaswamy aspired to and still seems to draw at least some inspiration from,” Politico noted.

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At Harvard, Ramaswamy had a side hustle as a rapper, and a moniker as well. He was “a libertarian-minded” rapper who went by the stage name “Da Vek. According to Politico, “the gig was an early sign of the extroverted, self-assured personality that has propelled him far further in the primary than virtually anyone expected.”

In a December 2016 interview with The Harvard Crimson, the university’s student newspaper, Ramaswamy described “Lose Yourself” as his life’s theme song. “I think that children should be forced to listen to it,” he said. “The edited version, of course.” In its 2016 profile on Ramaswamy, The Crimson described him as “someone who could go back and forth between two different personas: The Chairman,” named for his role atop the Harvard Political Union, and his rapper alter-ego.” According to the profile, “Da Vek only emerges when Ramaswamy is outfitted entirely in black, complete with a black Kangol hat.”

Although he never seriously considered a career in rap, he and his wife Apoorva Ramaswamy told Politico that they attribute his love for the genre to “the outgoing nature he has exhibited on the trail.” Apoorva Ramaswamy told Politico that her husband “goes all in on whatever he’s interested in at any given time.,” including “the insignificant portion of time,” when her “future husband was on the Manhattan standup scene and doing shows while being an investor.”

Though he can’t use the song that’s been his inspiration since his Harvard days, there is no doubt that some of the traits Ramaswamy learned as a rapper he’s exhibiting on the campaign trail will come in handy as the countdown begins. 

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