The candidate was greeting fairgoers before breaking out into rap toward the beginning of Slim Shady’s first verse as it rang out over the speakers.
“He opens his mouth but the words won’t come out. He’s choking, how? Everybody’s jokin’ now, the clock’s run out, time’s up, over, blaow,” said Ramaswamy before rapping several more lines from the song.
In footage that aired on C-SPAN, the Iowa crowd stood mostly still as the candidate delivered bar after bar onstage. He later abandoned the mic and handed it off to Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) just after the chorus began.
Ramaswamy has fused hip-hop and politics in the past. While an undergrad at Harvard University, he had a “side-hustle as a libertarian-minded rap artist” who rapped under the stage name Da Vek, Politico reported in July.
In an interview with Politico, Ramaswamy said Eminem’s story spoke to him and named “Lose Yourself” as a song he performed often at Harvard open-mic nights.
“He’s growing up in the trailers, with a single mom, and he wants to make it. He’s going to use the moment to do it. He feels like he’s going to use the moment to do it, he seizes it and then he makes it happen, and I thought it was a pretty cool story,” said Ramaswamy, who was born in Cincinnati to parents who immigrated from India.
“I didn’t grow up in a trailer, but I also didn’t grow up in the same circumstances that most of my peers at Harvard did, either. I aspired to achieve what many of their parents did. It kind of spoke to me, I would say,” he told Politico.