Warning: This article contains spoilers for Ozark Season 4 Part 2.
The second half of Ozark Season 4 follows Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner) for a large portion of the story. The first episode shows Ruth on her way to Chicago to avenge her cousin Wyatt, and while Ruth is weighing her options, fans couldn’t help but notice the intriguing choice of music throughout the episode and the rest of the season.
Viewers learn in Season 1 that Ruth is a big fan of rap and hip-hop, and she’s frequently seen listening to rap music throughout the show. However, the music seemed to have been chosen for a reason this time around.
Ruth’s main song throughout Episode 1 is Nas’s N.Y. State of Mind is a popular song from his album, Illmatic. The song inspires an interesting conversation between her and rapper Killer Mike after recognizing him sitting in a coffee shop and ends the rapper’s cameo with an allusion that may have gone over some viewers’ heads.
Rapper Nas reference in Ozark Season 4
While Ruth has a mini heart-to-heart with Killer Mike, they share some thoughtful remarks about Nas’s life and music. After deciding that Nas likely wouldn’t have been a rapper if someone had offered him a better life, Mike tells Ruth she should drink less coffee.
In Ruth’s special way, she smiles and says “I never sleep,” which prompted Mike to ask why.
Her answer? “You know.”
And many Nas fans did know that she was talking about Nas’s N.Y. State of Mind lyric that says, “I never sleep, ’cause sleep is the cousin of death,” explaining Ruth’s answer and giving an explanation to the Episode 8’s title, The Cousin of Death.
Throughout the episode and much of the rest of the season, Ruth’s mind is haunted by her family members who have passed, either by her own hands or the hands of the cartel. With Wyatt’s passing, it’s possible Ruth could really feel like the cousin of death.
Several snippets from Illmatic continued to play as Ruth took action, as determined as she’s ever been in her life, to make her cousin’s killer pay.
Fans react to Nas’s Illmatic reference in Ozark Season 4
Although some viewers may have missed the clever allusion and Nas reference, others were quick to catch on to what was happening with the soundtrack during the Ozark episode.
Many fans took to Twitter to express their thoughts, praising the soundtrack throughout the season. One fan wrote, “Ruth on her way to kill someone to Nas Illmatic makes Ozark an all time classic television series alone,” while another user wrote, “This first episode of Ozark is reminding me how crazy Nas went on Illmatic.”
Others contributed too, writing things like, “Netflix must have paid Nas big bank to make Illmatic the soundtrack of this first episode of the end of Ozark,” “Ruth really ridin round small town Ozark rocking Nas’ Illmatic album,” and “Episode 8 of Ozark low-key paying Nas homage is pretty dope.”
Ozark is now streaming on Netflix.