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29 Aug, 2023 00:11

Eminem tells US presidential candidate to stop using his music

Republican Vivek Ramaswamy went viral by rapping on the campaign trail earlier this month
Eminem tells US presidential candidate to stop using his music

Republican presidential contender Vivek Ramaswamy has learned that his love for Eminem apparently isn’t reciprocated, as the rapper has demanded that the upstart US politician stop using his music at campaign events.

Music licenser BMI has sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Ramaswamy campaign’s lawyer, raising the specter of legal action if he continues to play Eminem’s music. The letter, dated August 23 and later obtained by the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper, was sent at Eminem’s request.

“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” and asking the company to exclude his songs from its licensing agreement with the candidate, the letter said.

Ramaswamy’s association with Eminem’s music was made famous earlier this month, while the candidate was campaigning at the Iowa State Fair alongside Governor Kim Reynolds. Asked by the governor to name his favorite “walkout” song, he quickly chose Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself.’ When the song started playing, the 38-year-old Ramaswamy rapped along. A video of his performance went viral on social media.

“Vivek just got on the stage and cut loose,” Ramaswamy’s campaign said in a statement about the BMI letter. “To the American people's chagrin, we will have to leave the rapping to the real ‘Slim Shady.’”

Ramaswamy, who has emerged as one of the top-polling Republican candidates behind former President Donald Trump in the 2024 race, told the New York Times earlier this month that he used to rap during his days as a college student at Harvard University. He performed under the name 'Da Vek the Rapper.' He also told the newspaper of his love for Eminem.

“I did not grow up in the circumstances he did, but the idea of being an underdog, people having low expectations of you, that part speaks to me,” he said.

The 38-year-old tech entrepreneur is trying to replicate Donald Trump’s 2016 success as a political outsider who storms onto the scene from the business world. He has followed in Trump’s footsteps in at least one aspect: running into controversy over his campaign music. More than a dozen recording artists, ranging from the Rolling Stones to Rihanna, demanded that Trump stop using their music on the campaign trail in both 2016 and 2020.