“Leave it to Beaver’s” Jerry Mathers played a fictional character called The Beaver. Beaver lived in Mayfield. Marshall Mathers didn’t play a character in a TV show, but he is famously known by his made-up name. Marshall calls himself Eminem.
Marshall grew up in Detroit in a predominately black neighborhood, and according to Marshall, he got the crap beat out of him by neighborhood kids. He claims his paychecks from working at Little Caesar’s were stolen by his mom, so she could play bingo. Being a pasty white kid in the ‘hood Marshall needed a cover story and that worked just fine. Marshall and his rap mate “Mike” formed his first group and Marshall started calling himself Eminem. What happened to Mike? One wonders if “Mike” ever demanded half of Marshall’s earnings since Marshall absconded with the second “M” from Mike. But stealing half his stage name seems appropriate for a rapper. More street-cred for pasty-white-boy. Marshall seems to never smile as well. I guess that is part of the image.
In any event, Marshall has done very well for himself. He’s reportedly worth 250 million dollars.
At the Iowa State Fair, politicians and running-for-president businessman Vivek Ramaswamy were making their “vote for me” pitches. Ramaswamy is in his 30s and grew up listening to Marshall Mathers’ rap lyrics. Apparently, Ramaswamy grew up less than wealthy and, like Mathers, made a fortune. Ramaswamy is a fan of Mathers and rapped out some of the lyrics from Mathers’ “8 Mile” movie song “Lose Yourself.” Mathers wasn’t pleased. 50-year-old former bad boy, now middle-aged man and current multi-millionaire Mathers had his people send Ramaswamy’s people a “cease and desist” letter.
STOP RAPPING MY SONGS YOU, YOU, REPUBLICAN!
99 percent of the music industry does this during election runups. They wait for any Republican to play or use their song and then make it clear that they won’t allow it. So Mathers — a man with 250 million dollars, a man of the people — won’t allow Ramaswamy to rap lyrics of a song he co-wrote with two other men. Can he do that? Well, with high-priced lawyers, you can claim anything.
So, my “legal” answer is: Maybe? This one isn’t as clear-cut as when a politician plays background music without a license while ascending a stage. In that case, their “people” would have been smart to get the rights beforehand via a shell company (maybe one of the Biden shells). Then the song could be played. That has happened to the consternation of the songwriter. That scenario wasn’t what happened in Iowa. Can Mr. Mathers stop Ramaswamy from impromptu grabbing a mic and rapping a stanza from a song? I don’t think so.
Ramaswamy was at a State Fair, he wasn’t at a political rally. From what I understand, he “rapped” only part of a song, and did so (apparently) in the spur of the moment. Mathers’ “peeps” sent the cease and desist letter ordering Ramaswamy to stop doing that. Ok. I would say. I won’t rap your song in total, at any more Iowa State Fairs. If I was Ramaswamy’s underpaid lawyer, I’d probably tell him to write back with something like this:
Dear Mr. Mathers, the Two Other Guys Who wrote your bad boy lyrics, BMI (that distributes the song), and all the other Scoldy People employed by Marshall et al.:
Thanks for the publicity! Yes, I rapped part of a song Marshall partly wrote. My bad performance wasn’t planned nor was it an attempt to steal from Marshall, like his mom did for her bingo games. Yo, I was just having fun at a State Fair. I am still a fan of Marshall and his credited and uncredited co-writers. I understand Marshall has sued a bunch of organizations for unauthorized use of that song. I also understand that Marshall did allow the use of that song for Joe Biden’s campaign. Although Joe Biden claims he grew up a “poor white boy” and was raised by Puerto Ricans (sometimes blacks) in a ‘hood that rained oil, I actually did start from nothing. Anyway, I am going to have my “peeps” write some rap lyrics for my next “actual” campaign event. I tried my hand at some lyrics. See the first stanza below. I’m going to rap about your buddy, Joe Biden. What do you think, my rapping bro?
Again, thanks for the free pub and the shoutout! Yo! I still like your songs.
Yours in rap,
Joe’s hands are shakey his legs are weaky, arms like spaghetti,
You know what I’m sayin’, peeps
Naps over, Big Guy! Time for some big lies
There’s Adderall on your dresser, Jill gonna dress ya, drugs for the presser
Joe’s presser, it’s a mess, like word salad dressing, mind like cheddar cheese
Joe’s confused again, looking for Jill, he needs his pills, easter bunny rabbit says chill… joe
Joe’s out to lunch, acting punch…drunk
No question from the Newsies they might ask a doozy, Joe’s acting boozy
Joe need a nap he don’t know where he’s at, snap snap in his trap. Over here Joe!
Now Joe’s on vacation he’s favorite location, where is his medication
Yo who is runnin’ the nation? You know what I’m sayin’?
It ain’t the empty suit in DC.
Yo… what do you think? Does [someone] have a future in rap, or should that someone stick with cartoons?