Rapper Eminem sent a cease and desist letter to GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy asking him to stop using his music during his campaign, something Ramaswamy agreed to do. Yahoo Finance Senior Columnist Rick Newman explains why politicians, often Republicans, get asked by musicians to stop using their music.

Video Transcript

RACHELLE AKUFFO: Eminem is demanding GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy to stop playing his music. A cease and desist order was sent to Ramaswamy’s lawyer more than a week after the candidate rapped the hit song “Lose Yourself” at a campaign stop in Iowa. To tell us more, Yahoo Finance’s Rick Newman is here. So, Rick, what is really going on here?


RICK NEWMAN: –you like my song, but I don’t like you up there on the stage in your fancy suit. You got a billion bucks in that shiny tooth, but you’re kind of a dick, so make your own song, fool. I think that’s what Eminem’s trying to say.


RACHELLE AKUFFO: I’m speechless.

BRAD SMITH: I’m speechless. Rick, you got us so speechless here. You came on you came on looking like dark mode Kermit for a hot second there, dropping some Eminem rhymes for us real quick. So this is not the first time that we’ve heard musicians taking issues, especially with GOP candidates using their songs before. Trump had a history of this, and so now Ramaswamy.

RICK NEWMAN: Well, the recurring theme is Republicans co-opting popular songs that talk about street life and tough life. And there’s cognitive dissonance here, of course, because Ramaswamy, to use one example, is a hard core conservative. He wants to cut social programs and basically slash the government, he hates welfare. And what does Eminem sing about? He sings about life on the streets and trying to get ahead from a tough start.

We’ve seen this before. Chris Christie, when he was running for governor, I think, in New Jersey, he played a bunch of Bruce Springsteen songs. And Bruce Springsteen said, knock it off, man, I don’t really care for your politics. The Rolling Stones asked Donald Trump to stop using one of their songs.

One of the most famous pieces of music in a presidential campaign was the old Fleetwood Mac song “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow,” which was Bill Clinton’s theme. And I don’t think Fleetwood Mac had any problem with that. So the safe route here for Republicans is just stick with faux patriotic country songs. Stop trying to get into rap and rock and roll, because they don’t want to be associated with you, Republicans.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: So then, Rick, what is the difference then between actually playing the songs, versus rapping the songs? Is there any sort of difference there that would give Vivek perhaps a little bit of wiggle room here?

RICK NEWMAN: That’s a legal question, but there was apparently some kind of arrangement, before anybody really knew who Vivek Ramaswamy was, between him and Eminem, where Vivek was allowed to use Eminem’s music to some extent. But then came the GOP debate from a couple of weeks ago, or last week I guess it was– time flies– and Ramaswamy really stood out as a super hard core extreme conservative. So among conservative Republicans, some of them liked him, but other people really didn’t like him. And my view of Ramaswamy is he’s completely unelectable in a general election. There’s just no chance he could beat a Democrat, including Joe Biden, because he’s extreme.

So I think what happened is Eminem and a lot of other people were like, oh, this is who this guy really is, I don’t want to be associated with him anyway. So like I said in my rap at the beginning, Vivek Ramaswamy, you need to make your own songs.

BRAD SMITH: Rick appreciate it here, and giving us the full breakdown, as well, some historical context, as well. There you go, we’ve got your new LinkedIn profile and resume updated here, part-time rapper. Let us know when that new album drops, too.

RICK NEWMAN: Yeah, I’m working on it. Maybe I’ll go viral, and that’ll do it.

BRAD SMITH: Bars, all right. Rick Newman, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

RICK NEWMAN: Bye, guys.