Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy jumped to the mic on Saturday to rap Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” to a mostly stagnant crowd.
Ramaswamy, who handed out a freestyle for Fox News’ Steve Doocy last month, capped a “Fair Side Chat” event with a performance of the iconic hip-hop song at the Iowa State Fair.
The contestant greeted the convention-goers before jumping into the rap at the beginning of Slim Shady’s first verse, which blared through the speakers.
“He opens his mouth but the words don’t come out. He’s choking, huh? Everyone’s joking now, time’s up, time’s up, over, blaow,” Ramaswamy said before rapping several more lines from the song.
In footage aired on C-SPAN, the Iowa crowd mostly stood still while the contestant brought bar after bar onto the stage. He later gave up the mic and handed it to Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (r.) shortly after the chorus began.
Ramaswamy has historically combined hip-hop and politics. While attending Harvard University, he had a “side hustle as a libertarian-minded rap artist,” rapping under the stage name Da Vek. Politico reported in July.
In an interview with Politico, Ramaswamy said Eminem’s story appealed to him, naming “Lose Yourself” a song he often performed at Harvard open mic nights.
“He’s growing up in trailers with a single mother and wants to make it. He will take the opportunity to do it. He feels like he’s going to seize the moment to do it, seize it and then make it happen, and I thought it was a pretty cool story,” said Ramaswamy, who lives in Cincinnati to Indian immigrant parents was born.
“I didn’t grow up in a trailer, but I didn’t grow up in the same circumstances as most of my fellow Harvard students either. I aspired to do what many of their parents did. It kind of appealed to me, I’d say,” he told Politico.
Ramaswamy is 46.2 percentage points behind former President Donald Trump on average for the Republican primary. according to FiveThirtyEight.