Following months of speculation and anticipation, Fox recently dropped the trailer for season two of ratings juggernaut Empire. A lot has changed since viewers were first introduced to the Lyon family in early January. Head patriarch Lucious discovered his diagnosis of ALS was something a lot less life threatening yet, was charged with the killing his former friend Bunky and finds himself currently incarcerated. This is an 180 from the series beginning with his ex-wife Cookie being released from prison. Getting over the closeted homosexual hump, middle son Jamal takes over Empire Enterprises and even manages to get a little Suge Knight-ish during a few episodes. Meanwhile, oldest son Andre is still coming to terms with his bipolar disorder. Empire Enterprises’ greatest threat comes when Hakeem forms an alliance with Lucious’ ex-fiance Annika who is possibly helping a rival record label. Wrapping everything together is Cookie’s power struggle to get the piece of the company that is deserved. As the second season of Empire is surely set possibly break more viewership records, DX is proud to present the next edition of “Empire State Of Mind.”

Empire State Of Mind: Does “Empire” Get Battle Rap Right?

The dramatic breakdown of the Lyon clan continued as tensions between Empire Enterprises and The Dynasty grew significantly when Hakeem destroyed a peace offering from Lucious via USB drive. This lead the family patriarch to instigate a beef between recent signee Freda Gatz and his youngest son. Gatz sends the first shots during a concert at Lucious’ club making allusions to Hakeem’s recent kidnappings and luxurious upbringing. Social media goes crazy of course. Ironically, Hakeem’s first response is through Snapchat? Attempting to prove his dominance, he challenges Gatz to a rap battle featuring some ludicrous production values while Cookie and Lucious make a back-end bet over the winner.

In a previous episode introducing Gatz’s battle rap abilities, gunfire erupted after a fight when things got too personal. Hakeem seemed out of his league. Besides the hilarious training sequence where each member of the contestants’ entourage threw out random words for them to freestyle to, the actual scene between the two artists couldn’t have been more over-the-top. And yes, Funkmaster Flex served as the host and DJ for the event in the most obvious allusion to Hip Hop’s biggest beef of 2015, Drake Vs. Meek Mill. Empire’s first season featured the cringe-worthy moment where Jamal sung his way through a battle. Yes, Empire predated Mill “getting bodied by a singing nigga.”

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This particular battle reached outrageous levels normally seen in anything involving Cadalack and Daylyt. Everything from choreographed dancing to crowd participation created an ambiance that was more Broadway than anything featured on King Of The Dot Entertainment. The scene almost felt like a parody of 8 Miles best moments. Twitter, offered some of the best commentaries on the episode:

Despite the dramatics, events don’t make sense in reality. The show presents Hakeem as a huge major label rap star. In reality, there’s no way anyone in his position would have taken that chance. Matter of fact, it wouldn’t have even been worth the effort against someone unknown like Gatz. The best rap beefs from Drake vs. Mill and Nas vs Hov to Biggie vs. Pac featured greats almost at their prime. In reality, a rapper in Hakeem’s position would’ve simply ignored any attacks. However, the real winner of the night was Pepsi who managed to involve themselves in the actual storyline of Jamal getting an endorsement deal from the soda maker. By the episode’s conclusion, Empire may have set a new precedent for having using endorsements within the narrative structure of an episode.