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Eminem Demands Vivek Ramaswamy Stop Using His Music On Campaign Trail



Courtesy of vivekgramaswamy/Instagram
Rapper Eminem has demanded that Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy stop using his music on the campaign trail.
Music publisher BMI, writing on behalf of Eminem, sent a cease-and-desist letter to Ramaswamy’s lawyer last week.
“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,” the company wrote.
Days earlier, during a campaign stop at the Iowa State Fair, Ramaswamy was captured on video performing Eminem’s 2002 hit “Lose Yourself.”
Attorney Daniel R. Gutenplan, a partner at EPG Lawyers, who is not involved in the agreement, said the letter “confirms that Mr. Ramaswamy contracted with BMI to license certain music that BMI controls,” including Eminem’s song.
“Now, having received an objection from Eminem, BMI has informed Mr. Ramaswamy that it will consider any continued use of Eminem’s music to be a breach of the agreement,” which likely includes a clause “to address situations just like this,” Gutenplan said. Ramaswamy “smartly chose to comply,” rather than pick a fight with a popular artist, he said.
“Mr. Ramaswamy has already gained enormous publicity from the use of Eminem’s music, and if anything, BMI’s cease-and-desist letter only increased that publicity and Mr. Ramaswamy’s burgeoning popularity,” Gutenplan said.
It is common for artists to object to the use of their music by political campaigns, and happens nearly every cycle. Ramaswamy joked about the demand on social media.
“Will The REAL Slim Shady Please Stand Up? He didn’t just say what I think he did, did he? @Eminem,” he joked on X, formerly Twitter, referring to the 2002 song “The Real Slim Shady.”
“This is a matter of cultural incongruence,” said Marcus Collins, author of “For the Culture: The Power Behind What We Buy, What We Do, and Who We Want to Be.”
“Eminem made his song to express the ethos of the underdog striving to win. One might argue that that is the same spirit of Vivek’s presidential campaign. However, because Vivek’s beliefs and ideology are antithetical to Eminem’s, the use of Eminem’s song in this context could potentially give it new meaning — meaning that Em wants to avoid,” Collins said.
“Since they don’t see the world similarly, Eminem doesn’t want his cultural production — his music — to be associated with ideologies and beliefs that incongruent with his own, so as not to be erroneously associated with such worldviews,” Collins said.
Ramaswamy, a 38-year-old entrepreneur, is the youngest candidate in the Republican field, and a political newcomer. His performance in the first GOP primary debate in Milwaukee, Wis., last week generated buzz and boosted his profile among some voters.
He came out strongly in support of Donald Trump, and cast himself as a younger version of the former president.
“President Trump, I believe, was the best president of the 21st century. It’s a fact,” Ramaswamy said.
But some younger voters weren’t as impressed.
“Ramaswamy is an extraordinarily contrived figure who does not resonate with or represent Indian Americans, young voters, or young Indian American voters like me,” said political commentator Kaivan Shroff.
“Ramaswamy is eager to weaponize his minority identity against other marginalized groups. He is particularly, and viciously, anti-Black,” Shroff said. “On issues that matter most to young voters, such as gun violence and climate change, his answers could not have been farther from the mainstream preferences of our demographic.”
His full-throated support for Trump led other candidates on the debate stage, particularly former Vice President Mike Pence, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, to challenge Ramaswamy in Trump’s absence.
TMX contributed to this article.