In what might be described as a unique blend of politics and pop culture, GOP presidential contender Vivek Ramaswamy, the renowned entrepreneur, displayed an unexpected side of himself at the 2023 Iowa State Fair.
The scene was set moments after Ramaswamy wrapped up a dialogue with Iowa’s Governor, Kim Reynolds. As the entrepreneur was busy autographing hats and engaging with the crowd, Eminem’s 2002 chart-topper “Lose Yourself” began echoing across the venue. The 38-year-old Ramaswamy, showing clear delight, broke into an impromptu rap rendition, capturing both attention and smartphones in the process.
The enthusiasm was contagious as the moment transformed into a brief, almost one-minute, sing-along concert. And as one can expect in the age of social media, clips of the performance soon flooded the virtual realm, generating a range of reactions.
While some applauded the performance with comments like “He’s the man,” others found it a bit on the “cringe” side. Yet, there were those who felt that had Ramaswamy chosen to freestyle, it might have come across as more authentic, given his history with rap.
Indeed, this isn’t the first time “Da Vek” – Ramaswamy’s rap alias during his Harvard days – made waves with his music. He frequently performed “Lose Yourself” during his time on campus, showcasing his admiration for Eminem’s journey and the song’s underlying message of seizing opportunities.
Drawing parallels to Eminem’s narrative of grit, ambition, and making the most of a moment, Ramaswamy spoke about his personal identification with the rapper’s story. Hailing from an immigrant background and having a distinct college experience, Ramaswamy felt a kinship with Eminem’s tale of determination and seizing opportunities. “I saw myself, honestly, making it big through American capitalism… he seizes it and then he makes it happen, and I thought it was a pretty cool story,” Ramaswamy reflected.
Regardless of whether one views Ramaswamy’s rap stint as genuine or a calculated move to grab headlines, it’s undeniable that the event achieved its goal: getting people talking. And as the political season heats up, one thing is certain: the road to the White House is often paved with unexpected twists and turns.