01x04 - False Imposition

Previously on Empire...

Lucious: Well, the police think they got a witness with Bunkie's murder.

I want to find out who it is. Can you get on that?

Yes, sir.

Lucious: Kidd Fo-Fo signed with Billy Beretti. He is my enemy.

Go after him.

Doctor: You've got ALS.

There's no cure for that.

Just want to have s*x with me now 'cause I'm a celebrity and all, huh?

I want to keep them together.

What am I to you?

My mama.

I don't understand you!

You don't have to understand me.

My obedience is no longer for sale.

Michael: You sure you want to give everything up?

I'm going after his empire. I'm gonna take it.

I'm gonna ask you one more time: what do you want?

I just told you. We could shoot a music video, pop some bottles, get some pretty girls, and then we can get some gigs.

You want to run Empire one day?

'Cause that's not gonna cut it.

At least I got songs.

Jamal doesn't have any new songs.

He's so busy complaining about how life sucks living in Bushwick 'cause he cut himself off.

Look, I'm not talking about Jamal.

I'm asking you, what do you want?!

Anika: Lucious, let's just think about pushing back the release date for the album, so...

No, no, we're not pushing back the release date.

His album drops the day that Empire goes public.

Why are you riding everybody so hard?

Okay, let me explain to y'all what I want. I want...

Cookie: Let me tell you what I want.

What I want is a better office, not a broom closet on the 13th floor, next to Accounting.

And I would also like to have full benefits for my trusty assistant here.

Becky: Sir, there's nothing I can do.

Homegirl gave HR a dead person's social security number.

Uh, sorry, but I don't do taxes.

Look, Cookie, I will work on getting you a better office, but right now I need you to leave mine so I can do my job.

Yeah, 'cause your little Mally Mal, he need all the help he can get right now.

You know what?

You need to stop rapping like you're from the streets 'cause you're not 'bout that life.

You want to know why "No Apologies" was so good?

It was the best thing you ever did because it was about Bunkie, and that was real for you.

You rapped from here.

Stay there.

(laughs quietly)

Where's your office, boo boo kitty?

You know what? You need to just put me on in her office.

I know what Hakeem needs.

And it's not some debutante with a bougie ear who doesn't want to disturb her pearls.

What I want is for everyone to be talking about Empire until this IPO is launched.

What I want is everyone talking about Hakeem.

What I want most of all is for you to put Donkey Kong in a barrel and get the hell out of my office.

(clears throat)

♪ ♪

You stole those from down the hallway, didn't you?

I didn't steal a damn thing.

I produced this album.

I produced all those albums.

Well, you were good.


I'm the best producer Lucious Lyon's ever had.

And I'm about to make him remember how...


Hey, girl.

This is the office they gave you?

Uh, it's temporary.

That's wrong.

What you want, Tiana?

I was wondering if you could listen to my new demo.

If you're not busy...

Porsha, get her something to drink.

Have a seat.

Okay. Thanks.

So, uh...

(clears throat)

Uh... why do you want me to hear your song?

Well, it needs something and I just can't figure out what it is.

Why didn't you ask Anika what it needs?

She's a suit.

And that song you pulled for Jamal was dope.

Is he, like, your only client, or are you working with other people, too?

Tiana, sweetheart, I own half this company.

And I will be moving out of this little hellhole soon.

Soon as Lucious can remember that I'm the one who deserves to be across that hall from him.

Let me hear this song.

Yeah. It's called "Keep It Movin'."

The hook is good, but it needs something. You'll see.

(driving dance beat begins)

♪ I'm so dangerous ♪
♪ Listen to me, here we go ♪
♪ I got a body like a weapon ♪
♪ It goes bang, bang, bang, bang... ♪

I need you in the studio, making new music.

All right, I'm on it.

No, right now.

Right now?

I got passes to Titan's show in Brooklyn.

All the thots gonna be there.

It's good for promotion.

So you dig Titan, huh?

Love it.

Yeah, I think he's dope.

Well, at least let me check out the passes, make sure they're all-access.

Oh, they're good.

Got four.

You know?

You want to know why Titan is so dope?


He's always recording something new.

He's always on tour.

I mean, I hear rumors that the boy don't even sleep.

He's the baddest rapper in the game, and I wish he was at Empire.

Hey, Becky.

Yes, sir?

Ven aquí, mi amor.


Happy birthday.

Dad, that's not cool.

My birthday's a month away... (gasps)

Oh, my God! Oh, yes!

I love Titan!

Oh, my God, thank you!

Lucious: You'd better get going. Okay.

That's cold, Dad.

That's foul.

This race between you and Jamal?

It's yours to lose.

Prove to me that you as bad as Titan.

That's all I want.

(hard bass line pounding)

Announcer: And now, Creedmoor Entertainment presents multiple Grammy Award winner, Rapper of the Year, Titan!

Becky, there's your man!

I love you, Titan!

♪ Give me all that, you be all right ♪
♪ Better not talk back 'cause I work hard ♪
♪ Just so I can play hard ♪
♪ But if you work a lil harder ♪
♪ You can play even harder ♪
♪ So I be on my hustle... hard ♪
♪ Hustle... hard ♪
♪ Hustle... hard ♪
♪ Oh, my God, I work hard ♪

Ladies, you need to hold it right there.

All-access, boo boo.

Yes. All-access, coming through.

I cannot wait to meet him.

Excuse you.

Hold up, fool.

Man, get off me.

Do I know you?

Man: You don't remember me?

Should I remember you?

Yeah. I'm the one who lit it up.

What you gonna do, huh?



Back up. Everybody back...

Get down.

Get off me!

Lucious: I can't believe Titan is still locked up.

He's making headlines. They're calling him the savior of hip-hop.

And I hear his contract renewal's stalled.

I think your old partner-- that scumbag Beretti...

Damn it.

...is using his arrest as leverage, trying to undercut his deal.

You hear me talking to you?

What's up? What you doing?

I can't...

I can't make it stop.

What'd the doctor say?

Doctor said it's serious.




I have ALS.

They're not giving me much time.

They said I got, like, three years at best.


(water runs)

Cookie: There are gonna be some changes around here.

In addition to me managing Jamal...

Sorry I'm late.

Good morning.

What are you doing here? This is a closed status meeting.

Yeah, and speaking of status, I was just about to inform the A&R department that, as of this morning, in addition to handling and managing Jamal, I'm also handling this label's fiercest young female artist.

Awesome news, right?

Are you out of your mind?


I thought you'd be cool.

So from now on I handle and approve all things Tiana.

Performances, appearances, recordings-- everything down to her nail gel color.

Y'all clear on that? We'll discuss this later.

No, there's nothing to discuss, sweetheart.

Why don't you go to the studio? I'll catch up.

All right.

With your fierce self. Y'all wait to see what I do with her.

Are we gonna have some problems?

(scoffs) Cookie...

I don't have time for this right now.

I have to run a meeting. If you want to stay, you stay. I don't care what you do.

Okay, well, then I will stay.

Good morning, everyone.

Um, first order of business.

Kidd Fo-Fo-- we don't have him anymore.

No, good riddance.

Did y'all a favor, as far as I'm concerned.

As I said, Kidd Fo-Fo-- he's not on our roster.

So: who do we have, who can we get, who's making noise, who's filling up the hip-hop blogs?

Titan, basically.

Nobody else exists. He's making a fortune for Creedmoor.

Outselling every genre.

Yeah, but we don't have Titan, so we need somebody else.

Y-Y'all don't understand the difference between the real deal and a poser. Get some authenticity up in here.

We need somebody like Titan.

I don't want someone like Titan.

The Empire wants Titan.

Bring him here.

Ms. Calhoun, can I see you for a second?

Don't worry about it. I'll take it from here.

So, how do we go about getting Titan?

Now you know why I've been so hard on you.

And been pushing Hakeem so hard.

I need my successor positioned and I need our company to be stronger than it's ever been.

I need you to be stronger.

What does Titan have to do with this?

You heard them in the A&R meeting-- he's... the most authentic artist since Tupac.

They're not talking about Empire.

They're talking about him.

I know what I'm saying, baby.

He's with Creedmoor.

Well, that's our added bonus.

Because if we poach him from Creedmoor...

That's a bullet to Beretti's head.

You're right.

That's brilliant.


I'll sign him.

No, no, no. I told Vernon to handle this.

Um, he's involved in some gang beef, and it's just dangerous.

Lucious, stop treating me like I'm some damn baby doll.

Nobody's treating you like a baby. I'm treating you like you're my...

Yo, what's this I hear about you trying to steal an artist from a competing label?

You watch your tone in my office.

Everyone... steals artists.

Yeah, it's a part of the game, baby.

Not right before a public stock offering.

I'm obliged to caution against unsavory business practices.

Mr. Menchel's right, Dad. Poaching a jailed thug?

It just sends the wrong message.

I tried to tell you cats this is a potentially great PR move.

Truth is we're not poaching him.

We are saving his life.

To me, it looks like payback for Beretti stealing Kidd Fo-Fo.

He didn't steal Kidd Fo-Fo.

Lucious dropped him 'cause he's wack.

Because he was too controversial.

No, because he wasn't good enough.

Look, Titan's narrative is real. He needs to be here.

Beretti is gonna come back at us... hard.

So? Let him.

It's about time we kicked that fake-ass pimp to the curb.

And Beretti, the last thing he's expecting us to do is to hit back.

He thinks we're gonna play nice since we're launching the IPO.

Vernon, when does Titan get out?

That boy ain't getting out.

He's on a no-bail hold.

Previous gun charge. Lawyers ain't doing jack.

And his face is all over magazines and Web sites.

And Beretti is still making money.

I will go to BCC.

(laughs) Andre, can you check with your contact at the mayor's office and see if she can get me a private meeting?

Vernon: No, baby girl, you ain't going nowhere.

These cats are real.

And you can't handle that. (laughs)

This is the dumbest thing I ever heard.

Lucious, you really gonna send this bougie debutante to the county jail?

Man, are you stupid?

Vernon: Ain't nobody gonna touch Titan when he's in Brooklyn Correctional.

He shot Cashville's top drug dealer.

These cats are fighting over territory.

They want revenge.

Lucious: Vernon, I need you to set up a meeting for Anika and Titan's manager where she can slide him an offer somewhere in their hood.

I'll go with her to make sure she's safe.

And, Cookie, you're gonna stay out of this.

You know I can handle this, Lucious.

What you need to handle is your client.

I hear he's having a little trouble since he's been waving his little rainbow flag around, telling everybody he doesn't need my money.

I know y'all hungry.

I figured your gas hadn't been turned on yet.

Hi, sweetheart.

Thank you, Cookie.

You're so sweet.

In the whole apartment ain't enough plugs.

I have to get a power strip.

Well, here, buy some. Here.

And while you're at it, get some things and fix this place up.

I know how y'all divas like to decorate.

Please get that out of my face.

That's Lucious' money.

Suit yourself.

All right, Jamal, you're hungry. Come have some pizza.

Do you want a slice, Cookie?


You know, this place ain't half as bad as where we lived in Philly.

But me and your daddy still made some number-one hits in there, we sure did.

Shooting rats in between takes and all.


So, what you got?

My songs ain't ready yet.

They ain't.

Mal, don't you play me.

Now, I'm trying to build something for us.

I'm managing Tiana now, and I'm going after somebody else, baby, somebody big.

Somebody who knows how to fight for what they believe in.

Well, I'm happy for you.

And I hope you get everything that you want.

Mal, you're the one who wanted to make your own music, okay?

That's fine, but we don't have time for you to be having some mental artsy... block brain fart, whatever you having!

I'm not.

I'm not!

Okay, well, listen.

I need you to get to work, baby, okay?

I need you to make me some music, okay?

Now, pull yourself together! (claps)

Man, you'd better get off my couch doing that.

Wow, come on.

You got a $2 million apartment for that.

This is business.

In case you haven't noticed, it ain't bad for business.

There's a gazillion tribute pages.

We're known as TaKeem.

Well, TaKeem, we need you guys to find a duet to record together.

Because I just closed a deal with the Teen Choice Awards.


They have agreed that they want to shoot the Nomination Announcement Concert at Laviticus.

As you can imagine, the hottest talent is gonna be there.

And we want the both of you to be representing Empire.

That's genius. (chuckles)

I'm not watering my music down for no tweens.

Can't be afraid of mass appeal, son. You hook these little white kids early, you've got 'em loyal for life.

You really think I'm afraid of something, Dad?

If you're not prolific, Jamal's gonna catch up to you.

Jamal would never do a teen show.

That's why he'll never be as big as you.


Cookie's down, so let's get crackin'.

Oh, you ran it by Cookie?

Of course I did. She's my manager.

Dad, I tried to talk her out of it, but you know how...

Let me tell you something, TaKeem.

I have worked very hard on my relationships in order to get this done for you.

And I am not gonna be having Cookie messing this up.

She's not. She's stoked about it.

Okay. Well, what exactly did Cookie promise you when you signed with her?

To do the same thing she's doing for Jamal-- protect the music and make me a star.

The same thing she did for you back in the day, right?



As-salaam alaikum, my sister.

Wa alaikum as-salaam.

Um, I need to speak to Sister Fatima regarding her son, Titan.

I know your story, Sister. Very well.

I've followed you.

They rip our families apart, and they lock up our strongest, trying to keep us weak, killing us at the root.

I missed my babies so much.

Thank you.

Some, uh, Nation sisters led prayer in lockup.

Yeah, they helped me keep my spirit intact.

You must be happy to be back home.


I'm back, but I ain't home.

I fall asleep now just as lonely as I was on that cot.

All those years, the thought of me holding my own again gave me so much peace.


But here I am.

My husband left me.

My oldest is too ashamed.

My youngest don't even remember.

Fatima: I feel your pain, Sister.

You gave up your best years for them kids, and now you have to beg their forgiveness for the sacrifice you made?

It's not fair.

But it's called being a mother, ain't it?

Yes, indeedy.

Is Titan your only?

Fatima: (chuckles) He's the provider. The youngest.

You know, I tell people Allah saved the best for last.

Yeah, my youngest is talented, too.


I fear for him.

My son protected himself.

That animal that he shot burned down our community center the night before.

Titan went there every day after school.

He learned music at that center.

Kept him off the streets.

You-you raised a good son.

But from seeing his videos, he ain't following the Nation anymore, is he?

Billy Beretti lured him.

If he had stayed with the Nation, he wouldn't be in jail.

Look, Sister, Lucious Lyon's got an army of lawyers and he wants to help.

Lucious: I didn't write this.

Vernon: Of course you didn't write it. Legal wrote it.

We sound smart as wack.

Becky: Lucious only has five minutes. Okay?

I'm amazed by these.

Ah, Detective Walker. Good to see you.

Thanks for squeezing me in, Mr. Lyon.

I understand you found Bunkie's car.

Uh, yeah. We found trace evidence in the vehicle, so I'm obliged to ask you all some questions.

How often did you travel in his car?

Well, as...

Maybe a couple times a week, whenever we needed to talk.

We all rode in his car.

Yeah, that's what I figured, but, um, we think Bunkie was shot around 9:30 on the 12th.

Do you recall where you were at that time?

I probably have to check with Becky, but I'm... sure I was home.

You were at home?



I have 15 maids. (chuckles)

(chuckles) Big place.


♪ The drama, the drama ♪
♪ The babies, the mamas ♪
♪ Maybe you promised ♪
♪ But you were dishonest ♪
♪ You got some trip in your stride ♪
♪ There's only one pimp in this ride ♪
♪ Hop out the car if that is what you wanna do ♪
♪ Drop the drama-thon ♪
♪ Do what you gonna do ♪
♪ I'm round that corner, when through we can rendezvous ♪
♪ Make Daddy proud of you ♪
♪ Boo ♪
♪ And so you walk ♪

(siren wailing)


♪ And so you... ♪

Daddy, what's going on?

Sit tight, Andre.

Just be cool.

I'll be right back.


(chuckles) My father wasn't alone.

Lucious: Is there a problem?

Officer: We just need to take a quick look around.

Is that your boy?

That's my son Andre.

Officer: How you doing, Andre?

Yeah, we were together at his house watching the, uh, Mayweather fight.

If you can call that a fight. (chuckles)

(indistinct police transmission)

(shattering sounds)

I had one too many. I spent the night in the guest room.

(chuckles) I was there.

You okay?


Are you?

All right.

I understand that you're more than Titan's managers.

You're blood cousins?

We grew up with him.

Over in Marcy.

Your beats inspired us, man.


For real, bro. Appreciate that.

Titan used to copy all your rhymes when we was kids.

That's how he got started.

Which is exactly why he should be with Empire.

Hey, look, um, yo, fellas, want something to drink?

Um, two black and rums.

Can I get a Scotch? You take care of this.

You know, in case you were unaware, I am the head of A&R for this company.

Not his assistant.

My bad.

Brick: Look, baby girl, bottom line--

Beretti got muscle over at BC-squared.

We ain't talked to Titan since the night he got locked up.

Oh, yeah, it's deep.

Our boy shot a Cashville gangster.

(tires squeal)

Get down, they're clapping!

(automatic weapon fires, Anika screams)

Stay down! Stay down!

I can't have you around these people.

Baby, I got this, okay?

I'll find another way...

No, I will find another way.

You stay out of it.

Well, I went to see Titan's mother.

Did you?

Yeah, she's serious, Lucious.

I mean, bean pie, prayer rug, covered hair, all of that, serious.

She raised Titan in the Nation of Islam.

Titan is a part of the Fruit?

Yeah, that's what I'm telling you.


Nothing but racist views.


So is America.

Every day, I worry about my sons, don't you?

I know how bad you wanted Titan, but they're gonna break his ass in prison.

You lose your soul when you feel like the world's forgotten you.

I never forgot about you.


I did some things that I had to do in order to make sure that when you got out, you would have all of this stuff.

"This stuff," meaning this material stuff?

You just stopped coming.

No calls, no letter, no explanation, just left me twisting in the wind.


Remember our first Christmas?


It was cold.

We didn't have nothing, we didn't need anything.

You wrote me a song.

(chuckles) You tried to get me to steal a Christmas tree.

Yeah, and you punked out.


I made inroads.

I'm-a go back and talk to Titan's mother.

I think I can get her to see the light.

But getting in bed with Titan means inviting the Nation back into your life.

Doesn't matter.

I mean, this is business, it's not personal.

The Nation killed your father.

Just let me know if you want me to go talk to his mother.

You know, I never forgot about you.

Keep telling yourself that, Lucious.

♪ Every time I show her my maneuver ♪
♪ She brag about the way I give it to her ♪
♪ Uh, I do it sort of like a ruler ♪
♪ That's a cutie ♪
♪ E-Executor, oh! ♪

Stop, stop.

You're doing it too hard.

It's a G-rated song.

I had to put intense stuff on it.

Look, you have to be romantic.

You have to be seductive now.

(door opens)

Look, I don't care how you feel about your mother.

She knows music.

So you're gonna rerecord this.

You're gonna go to her house, Tiana will be waiting for you there.

You'll listen to it together, and when Cookie signs off, we'll go to mix.

You got to be kidding me.

Hakeem, I can't make you love your mother, but you will respect her.

Because she's lived through a hell that you have to understand if your music is ever gonna elevate to the place of poetry where it resonates in the hearts of its listeners.

Like your boy, Titan?

Yeah, like Titan.

Hey, Mal, heard you found a rat hole to live in.


Yeah, it's disgusting.

It's noisy as hell.

Finding it hard to work there, huh?


Well, you know nothing's changed for me, man.

You could have your old place back, my support back, whatever you need; I still believe in your talent.

No, I don't need your charity, so here.

I didn't expect to get paid for helping out Hakeem at Laviticus.

He needed me, so I helped him.

No charge, no strings.

You're on the roster.

You get paid like everybody else.

I'm no one's sideman.

It's worth more than you got.

I'm not gonna get paid for something I didn't create myself.

You're disobeying the very first rule of music, son.

Always take the money.

You know, nothing's changed for me, either.

I believe in my talent. It's mine.

It's worth much more than you got.

♪ ♪
♪ ♪

Just heard from my boy over at BCC.


Titan's in solitary.

Can't nobody touch him.

It's good for him. He needs to be protected.

But I changed my mind. I ain't going after him.

Why? 'Cause of the drive-by?

No. Hell, no.

Uh, Cookie said that she was talking to his mama, and he's heavily involved with the Fruit of Islam.

The Nation?


Baby, you like fruit?

Look, son, all I'm saying is, stay on Hakeem.

He's got the goods.

He can compete with any of these clowns out here, including Titan.

He ain't ready.

Listen, you definitely don't need to be messing with Beretti.

I'm messing with this right now.

It's bad timing.

Speaking of the devil...

Is that Beretti?

(Lucious laughs)

Hey, no, no, no.

Jay, let him in. Let him in.

Him and his girlfriend.

Is that you plus one?

♪ ♪

It's been a long time.

So, your big mama helped raise you?

Yeah. Big Mama was real strict.

It explains the good head on your shoulders.

I always wanted to raise a daughter.

Hakeem's really lucky to have you back.

I was about your age when I met Lucious.



He was freestyling down on the corner of 23rd.


I started doing the Wop.

You don't even know what that is.

He tried to outdance me, girl.

Next thing I know, we got three sons.

(both laugh)

Where is Hakeem?

He's always been late.

Let's eat these dumplings before they turn.


I have tried to find it in my heart to forgive you.

To forgive me?

You were the one that broke the trust between us.

That's why I left you. That's the whole story.

No, the whole story is without me, you'd still be selling CDs out of the trunk of your car. The whole story is, without me, you don't have the maid to look after your sons.

You don't get into the studio.

You don't have me shape the album.

Did you write one lyric on that album?

No. Or play a single note?

Was it you that performed it all around this planet and made it famous?

No, but you saw fit to put your name on my words without even consulting me.

You know how I found out?

I was looking at the cover of my CD and read the credits.

You're not an artist, Bill.

I don't care how many artists you steal from by putting your name on their credits.

You will never be an artist.


Let me ask you something.

Being a designer...


When you're out there doing your thing, do people try to put you in a box?

Especially when you're bringing your new game.

People are threatened.

The more talent you have, the more they're gonna keep you in a box.

That's exactly what they're trying to do.

Everybody want me to be what they want me to be.

It's not gonna happen.

There's a book I'm gonna give to you.


I read it when the industry tried to savage my 2009 spring collection, and it changed everything for me.

It's called 48 Laws of Power.


You're such a douche bag.

Your mother went through a lot trying to make us dinner.

I can't believe you gave that little girl the keys to your apartment, Hakeem.

Amateur mistake.

I'll make you a deal, Bill.

If you promise not to exploit Titan, I won't steal him from you.

You're a powerful man, Bill.

You can use your power to help him get out of prison instead of letting him twist in the wind while you capitalize off of his, um...


Yeah, his misfortune.

I'm not here to negotiate.

What the hell are you here for?

Give me my music back?

Only when I stop making money from 'em.

Good for you.

I'm here to tell you not to go public.

I'm here to tell you: cancel your IPO.

Or what?

Billy: If you go through with it, I will dig up the dirt of your past and bury your Empire and everyone in it.

And I think I'm gonna change the name of this place.

I'm gonna call it Cookie's.

Vernon: Get your ass out of here, Beretti.

Bye, Bill.


I've changed my mind.

I'm gonna go visit Titan in the prison tomorrow.

I'm about to decimate Beretti's ass.


Get it.

Tiana gonna go ape when she see me.

I ain't even gonna make it through sound check.

Yeah, but you got to go to sound check, Hakeem.

You've got to be professional.

(groans) If Tiana pops off and acts crazy and messes things up, then that's her problem with her dumb ass.

Dad can't blame you for nothing.

(metallic tapping) I guess.

What's that?

Just the stupid bad pipes.

Man, I swear, when they take a shower, it sounds even worse.

Bet you want to move back now, huh?

Hell, no.

(muffled talking, rhythmic thumping)

Hey, uh, listen.

You hear that? -I know they're not doing what I think they're doing.

I can't tell whether he's fighting her or banging her.

(screeching Spanish-like gibberish)

Man, you stupid.

(muffled moaning, thumping continue)

Yo, you should make a song out of that.

♪ Uh, uh, uh ♪
♪ Hey... ♪

Get to sound check, fool.

And don't embarrass yourself.

All right, I'm-a holler at you.

Ha... There he is.

I got this.

Yeah, you get him, 'cause I'll kill him.

You're late.

Look, I'm here, ain't I?

We can talk about Camilla later. Come here.

Don't you dare blow this-- I worked too hard, Hakeem.

Look, I'm sorry about Camilla.

Sometimes I can get a little wild. You know that.

It don't mean nothing.

Whatever. I'm cool with that.

What I'm not cool with is you dissing your mother, then showing up to our sound check late.

So you're saying... it's cool if I see that girl?

I'm saying let's get it really tight and bring this house down.

Man: Yo, give me my money.

Give me my money!

Woman: You can keep your money!

(distorted, echoing): ♪ You can keep your money... ♪

(indistinct chatter in distance)

(car alarm blaring)

(woman shouting indistinctly)

(dog barking in distance)

Give me my money. Yo, you owe me. Pay up.


You owe me five dollars.

(alarm stops)

♪ Dollar... ♪

(car alarm blaring)

♪ Dollar, dollar bill, y'all... ♪
♪ Dollar, dollar bill, y'all... ♪

(chain strikes)

♪ Da, da, da-da-da-da-da-da ♪
♪ Da-da-da-da-da ♪

(man shouts indistinctly)

(sirens wailing in distance)

♪ It's time ♪
♪ To be a man now ♪

(distorted, echoing): ♪ You can keep ya money ♪

(mid-tempo percussive beat)

♪ ♪
♪ Everybody lookin' for somethin' ♪
♪ You can keep ya money... ♪

Woman: From Club Laviticus in New York City, the Teen Choice Awards Nominations Concert Live!

♪ ♪

Hakeem: ♪ Hakeem ♪
♪ I'm so dangerous ♪
♪ Tiana ♪
♪ Empire ♪
♪ Listen to me ♪
♪ Here we go ♪
♪ I got a body like a weapon ♪
♪ It goes bang, bang, bang, bang, bang ♪
♪ And every time that we're together ♪
♪ What's up, baby? ♪
♪ I drive you insane ♪
♪ Insane, got me in ya hand ♪
♪ Whatcha gonna do wit' it? Know I need a man ♪
♪ That can aim, let's get it ♪
♪ Get a lil trigga-happy, Daddy ♪
♪ Get a lil trigga-happy, Daddy ♪
♪ Yeah ♪

Hakeem: ♪ Every time I show her my maneuver ♪
♪ She brag about the way I give it to her ♪
♪ Oh ♪
♪ I do it ♪
♪ Sorta like a Ruger ♪
♪ That's a cutie e-executor ♪
♪ And I don't even got a license ♪
♪ But it don't matter 'cause we keep it private ♪
♪ Ah... ♪
♪ Every time I ♪
♪ Ez'ee wide it, she can light it ♪
♪ She's excited, and I'm excited ♪

Tiana: ♪ But I don't got time for love ♪
♪ Don't got time for love ♪

Rock, Tiana!

♪ Keep it movin', keep it movin' ♪
♪ Keep it movin', keep it movin', 'cause I ♪
♪ Don't got time for love ♪
♪ I don't got time for love ♪
♪ I got no time ♪
♪ Keep it movin', keep it movin' ♪
♪ Uh-uh ♪
♪ Keep it movin', keep it movin' ♪
♪ Whoa... ♪
♪ Keep it movin', here we go ♪
♪ Keep it movin', here we go ♪

(rhythmic distortion of voices)

♪ I got a body like a weapon ♪
♪ It goes bang, bang, bang, bang, bang ♪
♪ And every time that we're together ♪
♪ Yeah ♪
♪ I make ya say my name ♪

Tiana: ♪ Got me in your hand, whatcha gonna do wit' it ♪
♪ Know I need a man that can aim, let's get it ♪
♪ Let's get it ♪
♪ Get a little trigga-happy, Daddy ♪
♪ Hakeem ♪
♪ Get a little trigga-happy, Daddy ♪
♪ I just want to hit the bull's-eye once ♪
♪ You just want to make me wait around for months ♪
♪ You can go first, I can go second, but I ain't sweating ♪
♪ For the record, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang ♪
♪ Yeah ♪
♪ One more time, bang, bang, bang, bang. ♪

(elevator bell dings)

Prison's closed.

Nobody getting in here tonight.

I'm here to see Titan.

(panting): What?

(laughs): Hey, y-you're my idol, man.

Hey, um... uh, hold up, hold up.

Dude, you are not gonna believe who just rocked up here, man-- Lucious freakin' Lyon.

You can call me Lucious, Officer.

Yes, sir. Mr. Lucious, sir, I, uh...

I can escort you in, but, uh... only you, sir.

It's cool.

(door buzzes)

This way.

Officer. Officer.

My mom always told me the music business wasn't nothing but the devil.

Beretti was the devil.

I see the devil in you.

You lost your soul a long time ago.



Maybe I lost my soul.

But... I've lived through some hard times, man.

You've seen a man die?

You kill him?


If you stay with Beretti long enough...

...you'll sell your soul to him.

After... he's robbed you and broken you... like he tried to do to me.

He stole from you, too?

Robbed me of millions. (laughs)

So you want to use me to get back at him, right?

I heard that beef you had with Cashville backstage was about him burning down your community center.

I made some of my first demos there.

That's what your mama said.

One point seven.


One point... seven million, right?

That was the amount it'll cost to rebuild the center.

I cut a check for that and your signing bonus this morning.

So you want to help the Nation?

No. Never.

But it's your money-- you do with it as you choose.

But if I was you, I would... rebuild the center and put a studio in there, naming it after myself... so I could protect my legacy.

Start recording for Empire on this phone.

♪ ♪


Look, you were right about the song, okay?

I said it so you won't have to.

Now, could I go take a leak?

Hey. I gave you that advice because I care.

Look, I can't force a relationship between us, but... I think you do know I love you, don't you?

Let me think.

I don't.

Uh... Hakeem.


I can't get back the 17 years we lost... but I'm here now.

Too late.


♪ Every time I show her my maneuver ♪
♪ She brag about the way I give it to her ♪
♪ Oh ♪
♪ I do it sorta like a Ruger ♪
♪ That's a cutie e-executor ♪

(chuckles): Look at him go.

♪ And I don't even got a license ♪

Becky: Titan-- he's got lyrics.

Man, I told you he's a beast.

I knew if you slipped him that cell phone that he would sign with us.

It wasn't that easy.

But it was worth it, right?

Yeah. Good job. (chuckles)

Well... since it was my idea... how about you let me shadow you with him?

Learn from the best.

I don't see why not.



Did good.


Tiana: ♪ Keep it movin', here we go ♪
♪ Keep it movin', here we go ♪
♪ ♪

Look at him.

I lined up Titan for you, and I whipped Hakeem and Tiana's duet into shape, and now all the blogs are talking about how your son is taking off like a rocket.

No, that is your son, too. (laughs)

Oh, go!

Even though he acts like I'm not.


Hakeem: ♪ I just want to hit the bull's-eye once... ♪

I like his picture of you.

♪ You can go first, I can go second... ♪

But the headline should read: "The Cookie Strikes Back."

(song continues)

You know something?

You and I always made a real good team.

You're damn right we did.

I make you better.

Don't forget that.

Tiana: ♪ Don't got time for love... ♪

Thank you, baby.


You might want to clear that with Anika.

Okay, the baby mama.

Ha! Still crazy, Lucious.