If youre a fan of Succession and you have taste, then you most likely still have Kendall Ken.W.A Roys (Jeremy Strong) rap about his father Logan L to the O-G Roy (Brian Cox) stuck in your head. The song, the glory, and the second-hand embarrassment occurred during an episode that aired two weeks ago (Dundee), but just because were heading into the season finale doesnt mean it will be forgotten anytime soon. Or ever.
Thats because the musical concoction was cooked up by the same man thats provided us with the earworm (and, welllets just say itbop) that is the Succession opening theme and the rest of the series score: composer Nicholas Britell.
Britellwho is notably also Barry Jenkins go-to composer, having worked on Moonlight and If Beale Street Could Talkspoke with TV Guide about being a part of this now definitive moment in television history and how he channeled Kendalls inner flava.
The thing Ive found throughout the show is that serious stuff feels serious, musically, but the more absurd something gets onscreen, the more serious I play the music, Britell told TV Guide. When it came time for this sequence, the assignment, in a way, was a reflection of that same duality. On the one hand, it had to be incredibly cringeworthy Kendall deciding he was going to perform a rap to his father. But at the same time, it wouldnt work unless it felt like it was actually really well done. It has to feel well-executed for the humor to also be there.
In the episode, Kendall credits his boy Squiggle for helping him make this glorious piece of art, an opening fact that only makes the whole performance that follows somehow even better. In fact, since this episode, Succession fans have struggled with the fact that while the scene is, as mentioned, cringeworthy, it is also actually quite good. Even Succession creator and showrunner Jesse Armstrong spoke to that fundamental truth in the post-episode Inside the Episode featurette:
The idea of Kendall rapping was, I remember, I was thinking, if you heard a billionaires son had done that, youd be like, yeah, it sounds like the sort of toe-curling thing you might see on Instagram I think its pretty embarrassing. Its also kind of good.
Try as you might to fight it, one thing is uncomfortably true: Kendall Roys got bars. Sure, the raps accompanying beata reinterpretation of Johann Sebastian Bachs Prelude in C Minor from Britells collection of college beatscertainly helps him out, but a beat cant contain the hot fire that is a deeply personal lyric like, Dont get it twisted / Ive been through Hell / But since I stan dad, Im alive and well.
The show is constantly embracing the different modes, different tones, and different emotions its exploring, Britell said. The reason I chose the beat was that it actually resonated with some of the courtly classical sound Ive been writing for the score. I used to make so many beats, but that one felt like a spiritual cousin to some of the things Im working on right now.
Now, its one thing for actor Jeremy Strong to rap over a Britell beat in character; its a whole other thing for a notable rapper like Pusha T to do the same thing in reality. Which is exactly whats happened, as HBO has recently announced an official remix of the Succession theme by Pusha Ttitled Puppets (Succession Remix)due for release this Friday, just in time for the second season finale on Sunday.
There was only one person on the list of people to reach out to. Of course it had to be Pusha. There was no backup, there was no plan B, Britell told Vulture. Pushas voice is like a missile!
Like so many of us, Pusha T also apparently cant get enough of Succession. No idea how he personally feels about Kendalls rap skillshe does feel that Roman (Kieran Culkin) should be the one to take over Waystar Roycobut we should all know by now that the true path to enlightenment is to face L to the O-G head-on, stare into it like the sun, and watch it on a loop until you find the meaning of life or finally realize that Succession is, in fact, a comedy.
Now: Enjoy this bop once more, now with no interruptions.
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