Eminem, an artist who's long been guarded about licensing his music, has a career first: He has provided a song — his signature song — to a political candidate.
The Detroit rapper’s “Lose Yourself” is the soundtrack to a new spot from the Joe Biden presidential campaign, a 45-second get-out-the-vote push that arrives just ahead of Election Day. Released online early Monday, the ad, titled "One Opportunity," features black-and-white footage from locales across the U.S., including Detroit and a recent Biden visit to the Michigan State Fairgrounds.
The ad is interspersed with the message “VOTE” amid the familiar urgent beat of “Lose Yourself” and Eminem’s motivational lyrics: “If you had one shot or one opportunity …”
In providing his song to the Biden campaign, Eminem is essentially giving his official endorsement to the Democratic presidential candidate and running mate Kamala Harris.
Eminem performs onstage during the 92nd Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on Feb. 9, 2020 in Hollywood, California.
The rapper certainly hasn’t been shy about politics through his career, whether bashing then-President George W. Bush via the 2004 song “Mosh” or famously bashing President Donald Trump on freestyles and album tracks.
But the Biden ad marks the first time the 48-year-old star has licensed one of his songs to a political candidate — and indeed, one of the rare instances Eminem has granted a clearance for any type of outside use.
Among major artists, Eminem consistently has been among the most licensing-shy, limiting the use of his music even in an era of lucrative film, television and advertising revenue. The best-known licensing of “Lose Yourself” came in 2011, when the “Eight Mile” movie hit was deployed in Chrysler’s “Imported from Detroit” campaign, which premiered during the Super Bowl.
In 2017, Eight Mile Style, the Ferndale company that oversees Eminem’s song publishing, successfully sued a New Zealand political party for a knockoff version of “Lose Yourself” that aired as part of a TV campaign there. The judge in the case declared the 2002 song to be the “jewel in the crown” of the rapper’s catalog.
Biden’s “Lose Yourself” clip follows recent shows of support for Trump by rappers such as Lil Wayne, Kanye West and 50 Cent (although 50 has since walked back his endorsement).
It also comes amid the ongoing protests from many of the artists whose recordings have been played at Trump events, including the Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Phil Collins, John Fogerty and Eminem collaborator Rihanna, some of whom have filed formal cease-and-desists.