‘Succession’ Actor Jeremy Strong Made Up Part of Kendall Roy’s ‘L to the OG’ Rap Himself
Succession is expected to clean up at the 2020 Emmys, with a whopping 8 nominations for acting. Jeremy Strong, who plays Kendall Roy on the show, was one of those cast members nominated for his performance on the TV show. Strong is so talented, in fact, he added one of the most essential parts of the Succession Season 2 rap for his father, “L to the OG,” himself.
The ‘Succession’ Season 2, Episode 8 rap that was the definition of cringe
In a recent Wrap profile, Strong told the story of how his infamous “L to the OG” rap came to be in season 2, episode 8, “Dundee.” Per the publication:
Nicholas Britell, the soundtrack composer as well as music supervisor on the show, recalled, ‘Jesse [Armstrong] reached out and said: ‘Soooo, Kendall’s gonna rap as a tribute to Logan. And it has to be both completely cringeworthy but at the same time kind of really well executed.’
Armstrong, who created Succession for HBO, set up a task for Strong that sounded completely “impossible.” The actor didn’t exactly rise to the challenge, initially.
“I advocated cutting it immediately,” Strong told The Wrap. Part of the reason? In the script, the very first line of the rap was: “‘Yo — kick it MC.”
“Oh, God, it’s going to be silly,” Strong revealed that he thought at the time.
However, Strong ended up putting faith in the Succession showrunner.
“ … Jesse always knows how to go too far,” the cast member explained. “He knew it was just where the show lived.” After a pause, Strong added: “But I did think, ‘This might just be silly and I don’t know how we pull this off.’”
What tipped the tide for Strong? Apparently the Succession creator was inspired by a real-life version of the cringe-y rap — as was Strong.
“… Armstrong sent him an Instagram video of Michael Hess, a billionaire oil heir, who rapped with Nelly at his 30th birthday,” the Wrap reported. From there, the actor was OK with the scene; “Strong decided to take the leap.”
The show’s cast member Jeremy Strong, who plays Kendall Roy, added one of the most important parts of the song
“Once committed, Strong was naturally going to take it all the way,” the publication confirmed. The actor — who is rumored to be a “method actor” — dove headfirst into the rap.
“At the actor’s request, Britell sent a demo of himself doing the rap. Strong used that to practice until he felt like he could comfortably do it by heart,” per The Wrap.
However, it wasn’t just about rap rehearsal for Strong. The Succession cast member brought his own creative energy to the task — adding in one of the most memorable moments.
Strong was the one who “added a melody to the chorus, ‘L to the OG,’” the magazine explained. The Wrap argued that these 4 little words, in fact, “carried the whole scene — sending it viral, becoming a meme.”
It was so meme-ified that people made Halloween costumes out of the “rap outfit.”
Perhaps Strong taking creative ownership over the rap is part of what made it “fun” for him to do — as he told The Wrap. The Succession actor continued:
What I loved about that is that it was an example of a way in which Jesse put me through the wringer. I like to take risks, but that one certainly I haven’t done before. I had three or four days to prepare and learn and do it. So it felt like walking the plank.