How ‘Illmatic’ by Nas Beautifully Narrates Ruth’s Story in ‘Ozark’ Final Episodes

How ‘Illmatic’ by Nas Beautifully Narrates Ruth’s Story in ‘Ozark’ Final Episodes

Ozark is once and for all leaving the lives of its many fans with the end of season 4. The characters, the stories, the money laundering—everything will stay with us for an eternity. However, there is one thing that has been integral to everything Ozark, ever since the show began five years ago: its soundtrack. And just as the music was a driving force behind the storytelling of Ozark’s first 3 seasons, it has been the same for the last season. But this time around, an entire album was used as a spiritual guide for one episode of Ozark, and that album is “Illmatic” by Nas.

But how exactly did it all come together? What went behind the idea of letting Illmatic run an entire episode as well as the impact it had on Ruth? Showrunner Chris Mundy recently opened up about it all in an interview. Here’s everything that he said about Nas, Ozark, and Ruth Langmore.

Why was Illmatic by Nas chosen for Ozark Season 4?

When Chris Mundy, the showrunner for Ozark, was asked why he chose this particular album to be the spiritual guide for the entire episode of Ozark season 4, he said he wanted it to be like a trance. “I wanted it to be deep in Ruth’s head. I wanted to use that record, which I love, as her way of not breaking out of the moment,” Mundy said in an interview with Men’s Health.

The idea behind picking Nas’ Illmatic was keeping it old school. While reminiscing about the time when they were coming up with ideas for the music in Ozark season 4, he shared how he “told Gabe [Hilfer], ‘I wanna be deep in Ruth’s head.’ He said, ‘Illmatic.’

Chris also talks about how even though Nas and Ruth are not exactly similar to each other, still, there are these parallels that she draws between herself and the rapper. “I could understand her identification with it or her love of it,” Mundy said. “The parallels seemed too perfect.” According to him, the album feels very whole, but at the same time, it has these various moods that suit the best for what they were shooting.

Mundy also talked about how they had to work hard to get the songs that they wanted. “It was just a matter of trying to get it cleared, which is difficult sometimes with ‘90s hip-hop. Because not all the samples were always cleared.” They had to clear some legal stuff to have each song from Nas on the soundtrack for Ozark.

What did you think the use of Nas’s album in Ozark and its connection with Ruth Langmore?

ALSO READ: Ruth Langmore Left Thoughtful and Comforted After a Quick Chat About Nas With Killer Mike in Ozark Season 4 Part 2


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