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Eminem to Republican Vivek Ramaswamy: Stop Using My Music on the Campaign Trail

Vivek Ramaswamy thought he could show off his rap “skills” on the campaign trail — but he’s getting a legal halt from Eminem.

Rolling Stone can confirm that 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 “remove all Eminem Works” from a licensing agreement with BMI that allows the political candidate to use music.

“This letter serves as notice that the Eminem Works are excluded from the Agreement effective immediately,” the letter from BMI executive Pamela Williams read. “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 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 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.

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