What’s on Kendall Roy’s Rap Playlist?
For all his fair-weather phases, Kendall Roy’s rap fandom might be his most consistent personality trait. Who can forget our first introduction to the tragicomic Roy son, which had him shadowboxing in the backseat of a car while spitting along to Beastie Boys’ deep cut “An Open Letter to NYC”? (“So What’cha Want?” would have been the more obvious needle drop, but given Kendall’s character, “Open Letter” made more sense “dramaturgically.”)
There was also the time Ken paid tribute to his dad by performing an original rap song, “L to the OG” (shouts to Squiggle for the beat); the playlist he made for the world’s loneliest 40th birthday party, which featured songs by Grandmaster Flash, ScHoolboy Q, J Hus, KRS-One, and Dizzee Rascal; and the scene from Sunday’s episode in which the newly appointed Waystar Roy co-CEO amped himself up by listening to Jay-Z’s Nas and Mobb Deep diss “Takeover” right before flying to Norway to get ethered by GoJo honcho Lukas Matsson.
Extrapolating all the available information we have about Kendall and his love for the genre, here are ten more rap songs we’re positive he’s had in heavy rotation.
Kendall — a Wu-Tang obsessive who once threw a hissy fit as a child when his dad refused to open a kung-fu-themed movie studio — was forced to book a children’s Wu-Tang cover act for his birthday after the real Wu declined to appear (citing the time Kendall ambushed RZA on the Man with the Iron Fists red carpet and asked him to record a selfie video saying “bong bong”).
If the Roy family are a facsimile of the real-life Murdochs, then Kendall is a direct analogue for James Murdoch, who financed the creation of the backpack record label Rawkus Records in 1995. There’s a mini-reference to this in the season-one episode “Which Side Are You On?” when Kendall and his best frenemy, Stewy Hosseini, force their company on a rapper who is signed to a record label Waystar-Royco owns after one of his concerts. “You’re fucking imperial right now,” Kendall tells him. “I think American Diablo is your best album!” Anyway, yes, Kendall loves backpack rap and frequently listens to Dead Prez while thinking Yes, this is bigger than hip-hop.
Whenever Kendall does coke, he corners someone to talk about the “revolutionary use of samples” on Paul’s Boutique.
A mainstay in Kendall’s car during his “fuck the patriarchy” era. The extent of his knowledge about Azealia Banks is that she is a woman. Feminist principles aside, he liberally uses the C-word while rapping along, not unlike he does when he “guts Vaulter.”
Kendall is one of those rap fans who hates Drake because “he didn’t even start from the bottom!” But he makes an exception here, repeating Aubrey’s “Bitch, you wasn’t with me shootin’ in the gym” as a positive affirmation during his divorce from now-ex-wife Rava.
The Buddhist who wears Tom Fords has a tattoo that says “Meditate Don’t Medicate” on his left shoulder blade.
The eldest Roy offspring once tried to pay DJ Premier to teach him how to scratch records. Premo politely turned him down, recalling the time Kendall publicly misattributed a Guru lyric to Phife Dawg. Ken still listens to “Boom” and wonders what could have been.
This is Kendall’s version of Meek Mill’s “Dreams and Nightmares (Intro).” Whenever he hears it, he is physically incapable of stopping himself from jumping on furniture.
“DR BIRDS,” Griselda
You don’t want to know how much time Kendall has spent in his bedroom practicing Westside Gunn’s ad libs — they’re bringing back the boom-bap sound he loves! — even though he himself would “never be caught dead in Buffalo.”
Kendall keeps a young person on payroll strictly to advise him on what the kids are listening to. He hates this song and everything Yeat stands for, but he listens to it anyway because he’s terrified of seeming out of touch.