‘Succession’ Actor Who Plays Kendall Reveals What He Really Thought of His Character’s Season 2 Rap
One of the most memorable — and meme-able — moments from HBO’s Succession Season 2 was Kendall Roy’s very public rap about his father, Logan Roy. What did the actor who plays Kendall on the TV show — Jeremy Strong — think about his character’s rap performance in Succession Season 2?
‘Succession’ cast member on Kendall Roy’s season 2 rap that became a meme
Strong’s recent interview with The Wrap revealed what the actor really thought about his character Kendall Roy’s cringe-y season 2 rap.
While Strong admits he doesn’t always rehearse scenes — in order to keep the tension alive and fresh — the rap scene was one that “Strong rehearsed obsessively,” the publication reported. The Succession cast member felt a little bit like he was punching above his weight in attempting the scene.
“He had never rapped before,” The Wrap continued. The composer and music supervisor on HBO’s Succession, Nicholas Britell, also told the magazine how the scene came to be. Jesse Armstrong, the series creator, contacted Britell to tell him: “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.” That sounds like a difficult line to toe. For Strong, in fact, it sounded downright “impossible.”
“I advocated cutting it immediately,” Strong explained. He worried it was “going to be silly.” However, the Succession cast member put complete faith in the showrunner.
“… Jesse always knows how to go too far,” Strong said. “He knew it was just where the show lived.” Still, Strong was concerned that they would be able to “pull … off” the season 2, episode 8 scene.
Apparently, all Strong needed was a bit of inspiration from the real world.
“Armstrong sent him an Instagram video of Michael Hess, a billionaire oil heir, who rapped with Nelly at his 30th birthday,” the publication reported. Strong conceded and dove headfirst into his rap rehearsal.
Jeremy Strong went into intense planning and prepping mode for the episode 8 rap about Logan Roy
The Succession music supervisor sent Strong “a demo of himself doing the rap,” which the actor used “to practice until he felt like he could comfortably do it by heart.”
One of the most cringeworthy — and memorable — moments of the rap? Strong made it up all by himself. The actor who plays Kendall is the one who “added a melody to the chorus, ‘L to the OG.'”
The Wrap argues that this simple line “carried the whole scene” and made the rap go “viral, becoming a meme.” Some people even dressed up like Kendall in his “rap outfit” for Halloween.
Overall, Strong is grateful for the experience as an actor.
“What I loved about that is that it was an example of a way in which Jesse put me through the wringer,” Strong said of the Succession creator. The challenge in itself is what he appreciated most:
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. Rapping feels very empowering, that alone was nice — to have a chance to express my love for my father.