The clock’s run out, time’s up, over, blaow — Eminem prompted music licenser BMI to send a cease-and-desist letter to Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy, demanding that the candidate stop performing the rapper’s lyrics on the campaign trail.
Ramaswamy rapped along to “Lose Yourself” to conclude his appearance at the Iowa State Fair in mid-August. Eminem’s representation and BMI both confirmed to Variety that a letter was sent to Ramaswamy’s campaign lawyer on Aug. 23, “objecting to the campaign’s use of Eminem’s musical compositions.”
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“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 concludes.
Videos of Ramaswamy’s performance gained significant attention on social media, increasing awareness of the candidate ahead of his participation in the first Republican Party presidential debate, which broadcast on Fox News on Aug. 23. Though Ramaswamy has never held elected office, the media aftermath largely declared him one of the chief breakthrough candidates from the event.
A biotech entrepreneur, Ramaswamy has made his long-term relationship with rap known, discussing his time at Harvard where he donned a Kangol cap and an alter ego, Da Vek, in an interview with The New York Times earlier this month.
“I did not grow up in the circumstances he did,” Ramaswamy told the Times, discussing how he continues to identify with Eminem. “But the idea of being an underdog, people having low expectations of you, that part speaks to me.”
The Daily Mail was first to report on the letter received by the Ramaswamy campaign.
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