Republicans have been railing against Eminem for over 20 years now, but that apparently won’t stop them from also trying to use his music to appeal to voters. Last year, they were recoiling from his Super Bowl Halftime Show and as recently as last week, Eminem’s anti-Trump stances were being derided on Elon Musk’s zombie Twitter six years after those fans stuck between the two controversial figures weighed with their nostalgia for “The Real Slim Shady” against their racist views.
Vivek Ramaswamy, a Republican Presidential candidate who’s beginning his campaign ahead of next year’s elections, personified that struggle during a rally in Iowa on Saturday, rapping the iconic intro from Em’s most popular song, “Lose Yourself.” It’s… pretty painful to watch, actually. Steel yourself and hit “play” below — but stretch first, because you’re likely to pull a muscle from cringing so hard afterward.
I’m not sure which part is worse: His atrocious mic presence or the utter lack of interest from the crowd. Maybe it’s when he tries to get the lady onstage behind him involved and she snaps back to reality after clearly dissociating through his performance to avoid the secondhand embarrassment. Yike. The question this begs, though, is who is this for? Gen Z doesn’t have much fondness for Em and the fans who grew up with him have loudly moved on in recent years. Boomers hated him from jump, so which voting base does Ramaswamy hope to appeal to?
Meanwhile, the real Slim Shady actually performed the song himself for boxer Terence Crawford’s ring entrance late last month when he fought Errol Spence, Jr. Maybe Ramaswamy is hoping for some of that “Lose Yourself” luck, as Crawford dominated Spence on his way to a technical knockout victory and welterweight championship.