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The White Lotus has an interesting soundtrack. The music in the opening credits sets the tone for the entire HBO series — one riddled with intrigue and intensity. Ironically, the sounds heard in The White Lotus were almost used in a different kind of project. Find out how the music from The White Lotus almost ended up in this Kanye West collaboration.

Natasha Rothwell, Murray Bartlett appear at the lobby desk as their characters in 'The White Lotus'
Natasha Rothwell, Murray Bartlett | Mario Perez/HBO

‘The White Lotus’ HBO Max series has an eerie musical score

When creator Mike White thought about the music for The White Lotus, he knew he wanted something that “makes you feel like there’s gonna be some kind of human sacrifice at some point.” White, who wrote and directed the six-episode series, explained to the Los Angeles Times in August 2021 how the goal of The White Lotus soundtrack was to create a sense of “tropical anxiety.” 

Composer Cristobal Tapia de Veer did just that. “And then some,” according to White. Before working on The White Lotus, Tapia de Veer composed music for UtopiaBlack MirrorHumans, and the Nazi revenge series Hunters

Kanye West worked with Cristobal Tapia de Veer on a Nike project 

As Tapia de Veer explains to IndieWire, West reached out about collaborating on a project for Nike. “I went to his place where he works, and then I was trying to understand what he wanted,” the composer explained. 

Tapia de Veer noted it was difficult to understand the direction West wanted to take regarding the project. “[He’s] always talking about a million things at the same time,” says Tapia de Veer. Ultimately, he wanted to understand how Nike shoes related to music. So, Tapia de Veer went to work on what would eventually become the soundtrack for The White Lotus

‘The White Lotus’ composer said there were ‘problems’ working with Kanye West 

With Nike shoes relating to music in mind, Tapia de Veer “tried to find a way to play melodies” in a way that was “really striking.” What happened was an accident, but something Tapia de Veer knew “was like gold.” 

“I was like, ‘OK, this I’m going to show to Kanye,'” he recalled to IndieWire. “I was there for like a week and I had to leave. There [were] problems, and Kanye started firing people and his lawyers and everything was too long…it was a mess.”

West never reached out to Tapia de Veer about the sounds he created for the Nike project. When The White Lotus was brought to his attention, Tapia de Veer knew the “tribal voices” he created were perfect for the show.

Cast of ‘The White Lotus’ find themselves in a tense and satirical paradise 

The White Lotus tells the story of a highly transformative week at an exclusive Hawaiian resort through the lens of several guests. From the newlywed couple played by Alexandra Daddario and Jake Lacy to the grieving socialite played by Jennifer Coolidge, the star-studded cast delivers on the comically emotional roller coaster that is the HBO series. 


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The post-colonial comedy of manners crossed with a murder mystery examines themes of privilege and wealth on multiple levels. For instance, Sydney Sweeney plays Olivia Mossbacher, the overly woke daughter of Connie Britton’s Nicole, who at one point asks: “Who’s her physician, Lena Dunham?” 

Aside from the tension-riddled themes, Tapia de Veer’s music creates an environment just menacing enough to captivate viewers without turning them off completely. It’s interesting to think the sounds heard in The White Lotus could have ended up in a Nike shoe commercial. 

Stream The White Lotus on HBO Max.