In the same EW interview, Snook was quick to clarify that Armstrong and his fellow writers didn’t throw the “Succession” cast in the deep end without any kind of warning. “It was written in the script, but not the whole thing,” she said. “It was just like ‘Kendall does a rap,’ with one verse. And [Strong] didn’t want to do it at first!”
“Succession” has always been hard proof that truth tends to be stranger than fiction. For as much as it functions as a funhouse mirror for the Roys’ and WayStar’s real-life counterparts (most pointedly, the Mudorchs and their conglomerate News Corp and the Fox brand), it’s rare that anything happens on the show that doesn’t resemble something even more outlandish or disturbing that took place in the real world. In the case of Kendall’s rap, Strong said Armstrong “sent me a video that was on Instagram of this guy — he’s an oil heir, and he’s a billionaire. At his 40th birthday, he got on stage and rapped with Nelly, and he was pretty f*cking good. Jesse was like, something like that.”
While I can’t say that sentiment extends to Kendall’s own rapping (to quote his brother Roman, “You need to stop this!”), his rap itself actually feels like the handiwork of a legit musician … because it was. Yes, none other than “Succession” composer Nicholas Britell — whose haunting theme song for the show will never leave your brain once you’ve heard it — penned the tune.
“[Britell] texted me saying, ‘I want to do the rap for you over the phone,'” said Strong. “I still have the recording on my phone of him doing the rap for me for the first time.” Now that’s something I would pay good money to hear.