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’s mid-season finale shocked viewers yesterday with surprise moments at every turn. Besides everything from cameos including Charlamagne Tha God and Da Brat to a fully integrated Pepsi commercial, the second season of Fox ultra popular family drama/musical shed light on many trends currently in Hip Hop. With that in mind, here are five things Empire season two gets right about current rap trends.
The Petty Origins Of Modern Beef
The on-going beef between Freeda Gatz and Hakeem started for a fairly trivial reason with Lucious at the root. Several modern rap feuds have sprung up this year that are laughable in basis. 2015’s biggest beef was obviously Meek Mill and Drake. According to the eventual urban legend, the drama was caused by Drizzy not tweeting in promotion for Mill’s Dreams Worth More Than Money album. Of course, this led the Philly rapper to seal his own fate with those tweets outing out the Toronto artist’s ghostwriter. Even Rick Ross’ on-going beef with 50 Cent originated from something silly in hindsight.
There Is A More Useless Technology Than “Hoverboards”
That horrific video of Wiz Khalifa being unfairly detained by police officers in a Los Angeles airport had those electric self-balancing scooters at the center. There isn’t a rapper this year who didn’t sport what many simply dub as a hoverboard. Sure, New York has banned them on public streets, but that hasn’t stopped the gadget’s popularity. Empire season two featured one scene with Hakeem sporting one and Tiana Brown being accompanied by several dancers rolling to the beat of her performance.
Hip Hop Has A Large Place In The Streaming Wars
This season’s biggest narrative arch focused on Empire Enterprises attempting to acquire a music streaming company. Makes sense as Hip Hop is the most streamed genre in music today. It also mirrors the current fight Jay Z has with Tidal in comparison to rivals Apple Music and Spotify. Part of Lucious’ struggle included building the capital to make such a large purchase. Too bad by the time the mid-season finale is over, he lost the company.
Rap Lawyers Are Legal Magicians
The biggest character introduction this year has to be Thirsty, portrayed by The Wire actor Andre Royo. Making his way into Lucious’ circle earlier on in the season as the Empire Enterprise founder sat in jail for the murder of his former associate Bunky, an indefinite stay was inevitable until the lawyer used some shady legal magic. Thirsty even orchestrated the recovery of Vernon’s body which not only alleviated Andre and his wife of a potential murder charge but insured Empire Enterprise didn’t get caught in a federal investigation on money laundering.
Labels Are Quick To Pick Artists From The Street
As Lucious resurrected the Gutta Life Records arm of Empire Enterprises, he found Freeda Gatz after murdering her father Frank Gathers. Besides adding salt to the wound in signing her, the fiery female had roots in the streets and later on is discovered being an adequate battle rapper. As in the recent case in Bobby Shmurda, labels are quick to get artists from messed up backgrounds if there’s potential to sell and make tons of money.