02x06 - A High Hope for a Low Heaven

Previously on Empire...

Baby, come back in.

Get up out of my house!

You still with Anika?

I was never with Anika.

You feeling me?

No!

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to come on to you... you forgive me?

Meet your new Gutter Life president Mr. Andre Lyon!

Pryce: He's testing you.

I baptize you in the name of the Father and the Son. Amen!

You got something and it don't come around every day.

Let me help you do something with it.

You are the fifth promoter I met with.

I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty.

Drop it, bitch!

Who sent you?

Thirsty!

Quit trying to steal our tracks.

Cookie and Lucious got beef, but that ain't got nothing to do with you.

You need her.

More importantly, she loves you.

Welcome to Lyon Dynasty.

You want to chillax here, you gonna pay tax here.

What is this?!

(tires screech)

♪ ♪

A'ight, let's go! Let's go!

Where you taking me?

Hey, just pull his ass out.

Hurry up!

Get off me!

Shut up!

Damn, you put it on me, girl.

(laughing)

You put it on me.

I know. (laughs)

I got to get some sleep before work.

Well, we ain't slept yet.

I want to stay up with you all day, but, um, I got to go.

I got to go to work early and prepare for my meeting with my new boss Andre.

You could be a few minutes late.

I can't be a second late.

You keep that leg right there, you gonna end up late.

Oh, no. I should go.

You got this, baby.

Can't no man knock you off of your game.

No man?

Not unless his name is J Poppa.

Oh, who's that... ?

Keem, this is my fifth time calling you.

Now, you better not be ducking me.

Laz got you the headline spot for the Big Apple Jam.

Okay, that's big, Keem. That's big for you.

And the Lyon Dynasty.

So you need to get your ass down here to rehearse.

I got Destiny's Problem Child looking for their lead man, so if that's still you, I suggest you hit my back ASAP!

You wonder why Gladys ever had the Pips, right?

(laughs)

Who?

Seriously?

Y'all need to stay off y'all's cell phones and quit all that Tinderoni and Grinding, and learn some history...

Porsha? Porsha?

Shut up, please. Thank you.

Okay, until Hakeem gets here, Ladies, we need to run the song.

We need to work on the song.

So, Laura, take it from the top, Porsha.

The top of what, Cookie?

We already did the intro, the chorus.

Hakeem comes in right after.

Right, okay.

Excuse me for a second.

Just, uh...

Hakeem Lyon, get your black ass down here.

Well, okay, Miss Thing.

Since you already know the choreography, let me see it.

Okay.

♪ Three, four, five, six... ♪

Hey, Cookie, you should let me spit Hakeem verse.

You know, just to get them into it. I got skills...

No, you don't.

I do.

No, you don't and you need to stop asking.

'Cause in a minute, you gonna be asking for a new job somewhere else, see, 'cause I should've fired your dumb ass, like, ten times alre...

(phone rings)

See, wait. Finally.

What the hell?

No, that's not real.

It's Lucious.

(piano playing)

♪ Delta John to Alpha 1 ♪
♪ Said my systems checkin' ♪
♪ Something's going on ♪
♪ What to do ♪
♪ Are you coming through? ♪
♪ Delta John to Alpha 1 ♪
♪ Said my systems crashed ♪
♪ And something's come undone ♪
♪ 911, copy, copy you ♪
♪ Delta John to Alpha 1 ♪
♪ Said my system check is done ♪
♪ Know the rules of how to play ♪
♪ Learn the truth it happened today ♪
♪ 'Cause you won't love ♪
♪ And he can't leave ♪
♪ You can't fight the urge to cheat ♪
♪ You just hide awake, alone ♪
♪ Till the night and days are gone ♪
♪ So be good ♪
♪ Fair thee well ♪
♪ Follow through ♪
♪ Move on ♪
♪ Mon'ami, mon'ami ♪
♪ You be true, you be true ♪
♪ And I'll try ♪
♪ Be strong but you won't love ♪
♪ The way you should ♪
♪ Sometimes love can make it good ♪
♪ If you're listening ♪
♪ Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh... ♪
♪ But you hurt love. ♪

Yo, I'm sorry. Stop for one second.

Oh, come on! You were killing it, man!

I'm sorry, my head just ain't in this.

Okay, then where is it? What's wrong?

For one, you know the Staples Center didn't hit me back.

Wait, hold on, hold on. Hey, hey!

Give me a, give me a minute. Give me a minute.

Take a break.

Question is... is it in your head or is it in your heart?

I don't know, man, I just...

I'm so disgusted with myself since Michael cheated.

Fidelity ain't, everybody ain't made for it.

Yeah, but that's past shady.

He up on my balcony with his little thing hanging out...

No, no, no, I don't need to know the details, I don't need...

All you need to know is that the Staples Center, there's no way they gonna pass on you.

And regarding Michael, you got to put that into the music, man.

Come on.

Engineer?

(piano playing)

♪ Made the choice to play the field ♪
♪ But you got nervous and high at the wheel ♪
♪ You like to voice... ♪

Now I knew there was some low-ass levels I am working!

You would go to, Lucious.

But this, this is some otherworld lowness.

Look what he had done to your brother.

What?

I didn't do this.

This ain't me, Cookie.

Oh, my God.

They really snatched him.

Wait, wait, wait.

Oh, baby, damn!

I know what this is. I know what this is.

Come on, come with me.

Yeah, I'm coming, too.

Cookie: No!

The further away from this for you the better. They will take you, too.

Are you kidding me? I'm coming!

No! You're gonna stay right here.

Get your ass down, man!

We should've taken the more famous brother.

The one with talent.

This one here is probably worth 50 cents on Jamal Lyon's dollar.

What, y'all some cowboys?

What, y'all a bunch of punk-ass cowboys?!

Well, my name Hakeem...

What was that, you little bitch?

Huh? Huh?!

Yeah, we gonna get him back okay.

How do you know?

How do you know, Lucious?

'Cause they only asked for $40,000.

If this was some long-term or they gonna hurt him or kill him...

Don't say that! Don't say that!

I'm just saying it's a simple snatch and grab.

"Snatch and grab"... Really, Lucious?

You know where we come from ain't no such thing as no snatch and grab; they snatch your ass, it's a wrap.

Yeah, well, things done changed.

Nobody gets bodied these days.

You know, this is just somebody trying to do a simple hustle and they flexing on you.

Flexing on me?! Why me?

Because you're a rookie to the block and they want to remind you.

Look, don't forget, they know that you're my baby mama and they know that he's related to me, so whatever happens, we're gonna get our boy back, I swear.

(cell phone ringing)

Okay.

Go ahead. That's them.

Hello?

Yep, we got the money.

We at the drop-off!

No, no, hold on, hold on, hold on.

Look, before we go any further, I want to know that there's proof of life.

Proof... ?

Proof that he's okay.

(quietly): Proof of life?!

Lucious and Cookie Lyon, I'm still alive.

This video is proof of life.

I'm still here.

Yeah, I see it.

We're good, so... where do you want it?

Yeah, I see the welding spot... all right.

All right, thank you.

What was that, Lucious?

We're good to go.

Uh-huh.

What was that?

You said this was just a snatch and grab.

What is "proof of life"?

Th... there's always variables.

Look, it's a different time now, baby.

Just stay calm.

They said they gonna drop him about three blocks west of here.

This is the drop spot for them.

As we start rebranding Gutter Life with me as president, I'd like to get to know our roster.

We listed all the artists, the tickets sales, digital downloads, tour grosses and the algorithms.

Mathematically, you can see where our artists rank against other independent labels of the same size.

I already know the numbers.

But that's not where it starts.

Is it, Becky?

Of course not.

It starts with talent and drive and having something...

You don't have to recite what you learned from your Empire intern manual. Not here for that.

This all has to mean something, ladies and gentlemen.

Now what if we based our roster on the wealth of an individual's character, as well as their bottom line?

Becky, can you set up a meeting for me with each of these artists?

I'd like to get them to know before I start pruning the tree.

Of course.

If they're not up to standard... the new standard of Gutter Life... we have to drop them.

Don't make any sudden moves when the drop-off car gets here.

Okay.

Okay? Just stay calm.

Okay, here here they go.

Okay.

Now, this is on their terms, let them make the release.

All right, all right.

Cookie!

No.

He's not here!

Lucious, Hakeem not here!

Hey, baby...

Hey, get your ass out!

Hey! Hey, man!

Hey, man, where my son?!

Where's my son?

Hey, man, I don't know your son, man!

Look, homeboy asked to be let out.

And you let him out?!

Listen, two dudes paid me a G to drive this van.

What did they look like?

I... I don't know.

What? What? Uh-uh! Shake him...

Please! Please! Please!

They gave me a phone, all right?

And directions... I swear, that's all.

Cookie: Shut up, bitch!

Where did our son go, Lucious?

Where's Hakeem?

(siren wailing in distance)

♪ ♪

Mama, stop.

Stop, stop, stop talking about how everything's gonna be fine, how I'm gonna be okay, because clearly, I'm not.

No, I have nothing!

I have no one.

Good-bye, Mom.

Hakeem, what are you... ?

What are you doing?

(sighing)

♪ ♪

Look, Keem, I know you mad, but we're trying to help.

We can't do that if you don't let us in.

I understand you've been through an ordeal, Hakeem, and I'm just gonna check you over.

I'm straight. Thank you.

Stop lying, boy.

Jamal: Hakeem, what happened?

Man, you all right?

I said I'm straight.

Andre: You need something, bro?

I don't need nothing 'cept for all y'all to fall back.

Tell your mother where you disappeared for five hours.

Hakeem, can you see out of your eye?

Is there anything that you can recall?

I'm good, yo!

Why don't you let me determine if there are any injuries, then we can go from there.

I got nothing but a jacked eye. That's it.

I'd like to see if there are any signs of any other kind of abuse.

I'm out of here, yo.

Cookie: No.

No, you're gonna take your ass in the dining room and let the doctor do his job.

(phone buzzing)

Cookie: Uh... Why is she blowing up your phone? H...

Leave him alone, Mama. Mama.

Would you please take off your jacket?

(sighing)

Lucious, I recommended a couple of stitches for the eye, but it will close with those butterfly bandages.

Other than that, there's no serious injuries.

Boy's very lucky.

Doc... here.

I owe you. Thank you.

You're welcome.

Cookie: Hakeem, what is wrong with you?

You can't tell we was worried about your ungrateful ass?

I'm just ready to go. I need a ride.

Lucious: No, what happened to you, son, is my worst nightmare.

Hakeem: It can't be worse than the nightmare of being your son.

No. I ain't your mama.

Watch how you talk to me.

Gotta watch nothing.

We in here tripping like we some white picket fence family.

Tell yourself whatever you need so you can go to sleep, but recognize none of this would've gone down if I wasn't your son.

This is because of you and you.

What? Boy...

No, no, no. Let him go.

Let him go.

He's just humiliated right now.

Give him a few days.

Staples Center passed on me.

What?

They claim that I am "too narrow of an artist to fill their stadium."

That's code word for gay.

And I'm sorry, Dad, that's because Empire keeps on marketing me as a gay artist.

But that's what you are.

That's not what I am.

I'm gay and I'm an artist, but that don't make me a gay artist, and you of all people should understand that.

(door slams)

And I'm gonna tell you this much, Dad: I'm gonna fire the whole damn marketing team, Steve Cho and all them suckers, if they don't get it together.

No, you're not gonna fire anybody.

You're gonna take that passion, you're gonna put it into the song.

Can you start it from, um, right before the third hook, middle part of the, the high part?

Thank you.

(music begins)

♪ Go to hell ♪
♪ Nothing's left inside this shell ♪
♪ 'Cause I've lived this long ♪
♪ And nothing's wrong when living ends, no ♪
♪ You broke love, la, la, la, love ♪
♪ La, love, la, love ♪
♪ You broke love ♪
♪ La, la, la, love, la, la, la, love ♪
♪ La, love, but you broke love ♪
♪ La, la, la, love, la, la, la, love, love ♪
♪ Love, you broke love ♪
♪ Oh... love ♪
♪ La, la ♪
♪ Love. ♪

(music ends)

Lucious.

(chuckles)

Jamieson.

Lucious: Why is Jamieson Hinthrop in my studio?

Your brilliant son asked me for help reaching the heights that he so richly deserves.

You do want that, right?

D... don't worry about what I want or what my son wants.

You know what, I didn't need this clown in my life.

You don't need him in yours.

What is this?

Your father almost signed with me after he left Beretti.

Till he found out I was gay.

Oh.

No, I didn't know that.

Well, look, times have changed.

Exactly. That's why you don't need him.

You don't even work with artists anymore, do you?

You're just a rich dude that throws these lavish parties and tries to manipulate political candidates.

That's right, Lucious.

I am devoting the rest of my life to making the world a better place for LGBT people.

And I want to help you, Jamal.

And he's on the board of the Staples Center, Dad. Look, Mal, there's all kinds of vampires in this business.

Some suck your blood, others will suck your...

Dad, don't d... Nuh-uh. Don't do that.

The day I found out that Lucious Lyon had a gay son is the day that I knew, I knew right then and there, that there was a God.

Okay, see, nuh-uh. All of this back and forth is not gonna go down.

Whatever issue that you two have with each other is between the both of you, okay? Jamieson, I brought you on board because Empire is marketing me in a niche way.

Yeah.

Dad, I have to undo that. Period.

I say we put the past behind us.

Jamal is a major talent, poised to break all kinds of barriers, and I would be honored to use all of my influence to help pave that way.

(intro playing)

♪ Dollars in the bank, dollars in the bank ♪
♪ Bank ♪

♪ We be pulling rank ♪
♪ If you coming for the money ♪
♪ Whoo! ♪
♪ He ain't shootin' blanks, I ain't shootin' blanks ♪
♪ Blanks ♪

♪ Fire in my tank, that's what ♪

(distorted): ♪ Keep me runnin', got them runnin', r-runnin' ♪

(normal audio): ♪ I'm-a get my cake, you can never take it from me ♪

(distorted): ♪ My mind runnin', my mind runnin' ♪

(normal audio): ♪ Got these bitches runnin' ♪

(distorted): ♪ Go hard for the money, I'm always around ♪

(normal audio): ♪ To come take it from me, I lay you down ♪

(distorted): ♪ Handle my business ♪
♪ I stay on one hundred ♪

(normal): ♪ My level is different ♪
♪ Ain't none of you on it ♪

(distorted): ♪ I ain't playing games with you losers ♪
♪ I'm the type that can do what he want ♪

(normal audio): ♪ Got a shorty who gonna ride with me ♪
♪ I ain't got to ask, you know she gonna run ♪
♪ I just say it's nothin' ♪

(distorted): ♪ Dollars ♪
♪ In the bank, dollars in the bank... ♪

Stop! Stop!

Stop, stop!

This ain't the song I came up with.

It is, Hakeem.

Uh, the playback's a little faster, but we can slow it down.

How you gonna tell me, man? I know the song I wrote.

How the hell y'all think y'all ready with y'all voices sounding like static?

Who is your musical inspirations?

EPMD, KRS-One, Public Enemy, any other hardcore Negro not afraid to take it to the streets.

If you could change one thing about hip-hop today, what would it be?

(snapping gum)

You think hip-hop loves women?

You do know what "P-Busta" stand for, right, playa?

Any other revenue streams you think we should explore in order to best tap your fan base?

So, J Poppa, instead of asking questions, let me just cut to the quick.

I'm assuming the "J" in "J Poppa" stands for "joints"? "Jewels"?

"Jigga"?

Nah, man.

It's 'cause my first name is Job.

As in the Book of Job?

"I know that my redeemer lives, and that, in the end, he shall stand on the earth."

Job 19:25.

I'm a PK.

Well, actually, I'm a Preacher's Grandkid.

So that's where the "Poppa" comes from.

A man's gotta show some love to Grampoppa for keeping me off the streets and letting me work on my music.

You ever think about incorporating the Word into your music?

You could reach a lot more people with the light than you can with the darkness, brother.

Are you for real?

Oh, yeah.

Let's do business.

It's gonna be fun.

Lucious: You know this business, Cookie.

Y'all damn near asked for it.

Maybe you're just not cut out for this part of the hustle.

He's your son, Lucious. And he got hurt.

Baby, you know there are two kinds of security in hip-hop.

There's the house dog and then there's the junkyard dog. And if you gonna make it in this game, you need both of them.

And the only reason you ain't had to think about none of this is because I've created this blanket of security with Empire.

So you gonna use this as a way to say we need to give up and crawl back to you?

No, I don't want you back, Cookie.

Just Hakeem.

And if you love him like you say you love him, Cookie, you're gonna want that for him.

Listen, baby, these wolves, they done sunk they teeth into you.

They ain't gonna let go until they open up a vein, and when they open it up, they're never lettin' it close.

And you gonna learn the hard way why you need somebody like me in your corner.

(scoffs) You just gonna leave us to the wolves?

So you can prove your little stupid point?

You ain't a boss, Lucious.

You's a busta.

Cookie...

Cookie, my ass.

Mm-mm.

Hmph.


(door opens)

(door shuts)

(glass clinks)

Hakeem: ♪ ... new Benz and that spoiler, whip... ♪
♪ Thirsty, need to sip... ♪
♪ On my dollars, uh ♪

(distorted): ♪ I ain't never gonna fall off, I see most of y'all caught up ♪
♪ Keep on one hundred, mess up, keep on one hundred, mess up ♪
♪ Dollars in the bank ♪

(glass shatters)

(music stops)

(panting)

♪ Keep on one hundred, mess up the drama ♪
♪ You don't want no drama, 'cause money too long ♪
♪ Get that, don't play with me. ♪

Cookie: Hakeem. Okay, Hakeem.

Look, you need to calm down. I told you I got this under control, right?

Look, I'm meeting with a top security firm right now as we speak, okay? So...

His little ass hung up on me.

(chuckles)

Arguing with him isn't gonna help.

(chuckles) Lucious didn't set this up, but he might as well have 'cause this is playing right into his hands.

(sighs) I need to get a security team in place.

Hear me out, right?

Before you say anything.

What if you hired the cats that snatched Hakeem and jacked Tiana?

Are you stupid?

(chuckles)

You being serious?

Yeah.

I told you I was a cop, right?

Mm-hmm.

15 years ago, when I was a rookie on the job, there was a rash of these quick grabs, right?

All of them in the rap industry.

And department was chasing its own tail, trying to figure out who's pulling this off, and it turns out right when we got it locked down, they all just stopped.

And you know why?

'Cause the labels put 'em on payroll.

They were hitting 'em off legitimately, 'cause it's easier that way for everybody.

"Legitimately."

House dogs and junkyard dogs.

(sighs)

No, no, I don't want those wolves in my house. No.

Then hire ex-cops at Lyon Dynasty.

I...

No.

I don't mess with cops.

Oh, no offense.

Nah, none taken.

(clicks tongue)

Guess I just got to pay someone then.

Uh, if those wolves get into your house, I got you.

(scoffs)

You gonna be my wolf slayer, hon?

That's right.

Wolves, dragons.

Dragons. Lions.

(chuckles) Yeah, well, it's the Lyons you need to look out for, 'cause...

Uh, I can handle the Lyons.

(scoffs)

Especially the lioness.

♪ I'm starting to realize ♪
♪ Pressure... ♪
♪ Pressure, I know you feel ♪
♪ Pressure ♪
♪ Pressure, just keep it real... ♪

Hmm.

I'll set up the meeting.

Jamal: Ma, I been hitting Hakeem, like, three times.

He ain't hit me back.

I'm really worried about him, Mal.

I'm starting to worry about him too.

Maybe I should just cancel the Big Apple Jam.

Why would you do that? Don't do that.

Andre and I will get Hakeem.

Make him come around.

You just keep the train on the rail.

It's kind of a big deal for the Lyon Dynasty.

It's nice that you said that.

Let's just hope that Hakeem comes to his senses and knows what a big opportunity you set up.

Thanks, Jamal.

I set up a meet with the guys who snatched Hakeem.

I'm taking him with me.

The boy needs to feel like a man again.

You clear on what we're doing, right?

You're running the meet.

Yeah, and I'm letting you get your come-up.

But you gonna be good?

You gonna be good?

Yeah, Mom.

Shh.

Let's just get the negotiation done.

All right.

Thank you for taking the time to meet with us.

So who you callin' a little bitch now, huh?!

Hakeem...

Please... lower the gun, baby.

Hakeem!

(distorted): ♪ I ain't talkin' 'bout ones... ♪

Hakeem...

You really think I'm gonna make a plan with these fools?!

Yes! Yes, because that's what we came here to do, all right?

Now, ain't no good solution in you pulling that trigger.

I'm-a pull his number!

Why you so quiet?!

No, no, no, no.

(Cookie's voice distorting, echoing) ... Hakeem, okay?

(trembling breath)

Hakeem... if you pull the trigger... you're gonna force me to step in front of the bullet.

(distorted): ♪ I just say it's nothin'... ♪
♪ Keep it one hundred... ♪

(panting)

I'd rather die than lose you again.

(softly): Please?

(cocks gun)

Now let's talk.

Yeah, well, due to these unforeseen circumstances, I'm doubling our weekly security fee.

(chuckles)

You step near me, my artists or my family again, you won't even hear the knock at the door.

Are we clear?

Bitch, I said, are we clear?

We good.

Now...

welcome to my streets, bitch.

J Poppa: Gutter Life for life, y'all!

♪ Playin' with my toys every day like a playpen ♪
♪ Ears to the street like I'm 'sleep ♪
♪ On the pavement so I can hear 'em talkin' ♪
♪ Wishin' I fall off, no limit on my card ♪
♪ So they know that I ball hard ♪
♪ Playin' with my toys every day like a playpen ♪
♪ Ears to the street like I'm 'sleep on the pavement ♪
♪ So I can hear 'em talkin', wishin' I fall off ♪
♪ No limit on my card, so they know that I ball hard... ♪

Look at J Poppa gettin' it. Go ahead, brother.

He do all right.

Uh-huh. How's that wand working for you?

Why are you so nasty?

You nasty!

But, uh...

♪ Like change for a twenty... ♪

That wand is hitting it correctly.

Yes, it is hitting all the walls.

Yo, I be so weak in the damn knees, I can hardly stand.

I'd just take a step and I'd just be, like, uh!

Like... sha-shanda!

(laughs)

Okay, yo, I'm gonna go talk to Dre. I'll be back.

All right. Hey.

♪ My competition is minimal ♪
♪ We can line 'em all up and then sort 'em out ♪
♪ If there's a dude realer than me, then please point him out ♪
♪ Please, please ♪
♪ Playin' with my toys every day like a playpen ♪
♪ Ears to the street like 'sleep on the pavement ♪
♪ So I can hear 'em talkin', wishin' I fall off ♪
♪ No limit on my card, so they know that I ball hard... ♪

Nice house, big brother.

You heard from Hakeem?

Not a word. He's off the reservation.

I'm worried about him.

Yeah, me, too.

Hopefully, he'll come around, but if not, we pull him back up.

Yeah.

Yo, he's fired up.

He's much more than that. He's my archangel Michael, rolling to the depths of hell with me.

Which is why I'm willing to overlook their relationship for now.

Who?

Oh, don't play with me, man.

I know they got a thing going on.

It could be a major problem having an A&R consorting with an artist, Jamal.

(chuckles): You know how many deals have been made in bed?

Just let her have this one... It's real; ain't a problem.

It won't be a problem till it's a problem.

♪ Every day like a playpen, ears to the street ♪
♪ Like I'm 'sleep on the pavement ♪
♪ So I can hear 'em talkin' ♪
♪ Wishin' I fall off, no limit on my card ♪
♪ So they know that I ball hard, for I do not ♪
♪ Understand what I do ♪
♪ For what I want to do, I do not do ♪
♪ But what I do not want to do, I agree that ♪
♪ The law is good, and I put that on my hood... ♪

What the hell was that?

Lucious: That's what I want to know.

What in the hell is that?

That's Romans 7, verse 15 through 16.

My man.

Look at that... the bloggers are loving it.

Becky: With all due respect, Lucious, I don't think that Andre understands the philosophy of the label.

Doesn't sound like there's any respect in that at all, Becky.

Wait a minute, are you making your decisions from a Bible or from a business degree?

It's purely business, Pop, I assure you.

Look, I didn't force him to do anything he didn't want to do, okay?

♪ Control my energy and effort ♪
♪ So this year I'm finna bring the pressure, come on... ♪

Yo, Dad.

I'm going to a little party at Jamieson's... you want to roll?

Hell, no. Been there, done that.

Oh, r... really?

I hope he delivers everything he promised you.

Watch yourself.

Will do.

♪♪

(cheering)

(cheering)

Gutter Life for life!

Gutter Life for life... !

Crowd: Gutter Life for life!

Man: Hey, yo, Lucious, why don't you spit some bars for us, man?

Nah, tonight is not about me... tonight is about these incredible artists from the hood that came to nourish us with some of the stories from their soul.

And like it's always said, "Hip-hop is a dish best served raw," like this next MC, the powerful Miss Freda Gatz!

♪♪

(cheering, rhythmic clapping)

♪ I'm Derek Jeter with the pitch ♪
♪ Pitch ♪
♪ Bruce Lee up with the kick ♪
♪ Kick ♪

♪ Lucious Lyon with the whip ♪
♪ Whip ♪
♪ Boss Bitch I keep a clip ♪

♪ Freda poppin' on anybody ♪
♪ Wanna take it there, I don't break for air ♪
♪ I keep my gun cocked 'cause I'm never scared ♪
♪ So hell, no, we can't play it fair... ♪

This one is not even up for debate.

Long as she clears the bar.

(chuckles): I'm only kiddin', Pop.

♪ This drug money murder, all I really know ♪
♪ Bang, bang, bang, had to let 'em know, one shot ♪
♪ To the neck, boy, that will give me ♪
♪ My respect, boy... ♪

Take that weak-ass sauce back to Brownsville, ugly bitch!

(crowd groaning)

♪ They all know my name and you know it ♪
♪ I'm the boss and you know it ♪
♪ I do what I want and you know it ♪
♪ I don't play no game and you know it ♪
♪ They all know my name and you know it ♪

You're a corn muffin.

Hang the mike up already.

(crowd jeering)

Stay focused.

Crowd: Oh!

(crowd jeering, chattering)

Lucious: Damn!

Man: Come on, girl... come on Fre, let's go... outta here!

Andre: Dad.

Lucious: No. There's nothing to talk about.

One of our artists, she kicked a dude in the face, Pop.

No. "Our artists"? This is my artist.

Our stocks haven't recovered from your prison stint, from the Fed raid... she is too much of a liability for a public company, Pop.

Now, remember how Seagram's had to drop Death Row even though Death Row was making, what, a hundred million a year?

Look, tomorrow you and your MBA number crunchers can sit down and figure out who you want to drop from the roster...

She's not one of them.

You put me in charge.

No, I put you in place.

Don't confuse the two.

Welcome to this year's...

Big Apple Jam!

Mm-mm. Mm-mm.

No, you need to focus now. Listen, listen, listen.

When you take that stage, you own it, every inch, you hear me?

Shake your ass.

Shake it. A lot. I like that. s*x sells. Remember that.

Every note you hit, you do it like your life depends on it.

You understand me?

'Cause it damn near does.

Laura: We know when we're coming in, right?

Yeah, yeah, we got it, we got it.

Does Hakeem got it, though?

He better.

(distorted): ♪ ... mess up... keep on mess up ♪

Come here.

Why are you driving yourself?

'Cause ever since I got out the joint, I don't like people telling me where to go.

Look, um... check out this song I wrote.

♪ Boom, boom, boom, boom ♪
♪ Bang, bang, bang, bang ♪
♪ Boom, boom, boom, boom ♪
♪ Bang, bang, bang, bang... ♪

I told you, I don't need no tracks from you.

This ain't for you; this is about you.

Look, the way I see it, I can keep banging my head up against this wall hoping that you're gonna learn something that I want you to know, or I can let you bang your own head until eventually, you're gonna pay attention.

And when that moment happens...

And I'm praying that it's happening right now... you're gonna realize that it ain't about black eyes and bloody noses in this business, it's about life or death.

And that's what this track reflects.

♪ Bang, bang, bang, bang ♪
♪ Boom, boom, boom, boom... ♪

No strings.

♪ Bang, bang, bang, bang ♪
♪ Boom, boom, boom, boom ♪
♪ Bang, bang, bang, bang ♪
♪ Boom, boom, boom, boom... ♪

Hey, Dad... with you, there's always strings.

Or more like ropes that choke everybody around you.

♪ Boom, boom, boom, boom ♪
♪ Bang, bang, bang, bang. ♪
♪ ♪

Hakeem, are you okay? Hakeem?

Cookie: No, no, no, no, no.

Do you know where you come in at? Don't worry about...

Hakeem!

Cookie: Hey!

Ladies, get the hell out of here.

Yo, I didn't ask you to come...

Next time you turn your back on me...

Oh!

... I'm gonna break it!

Um, shut up. Lucious, look, that is not the way you're gonna get through to him.

No, I offered the boy an olive branch.

And the Pilgrims offered the Indians a bunch of blankets.

Oh, you want to man up now?

Next time you pull a gun, drop the hammer down.

No, no, no. There will be no next...

There will be no next time.

You understand me?

Lucious, what do you want?

You want your own son to trade places with you in lock-up, dummy?

If that's what it takes for him to grow a sack, so be it.

Oh, come on in, boys. Your father's giving a lovely lesson about how the whole family could end up behind bars.

No, I'm giving a lesson on how to man the hell up instead of wallowing in self-pity and bitch ass-ness.

You gonna use my name, put some... put some... put a man behind it.

Jamal: Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad...

Come on, come on. We got this, all right?

Both of y'all, get out.

What?

You two are the problem.

Okay, just leave us alone with our brother.

Give us a shot. Y'all want to be left alone, fine.

Done.

Mom.

You, too.

♪ ♪

Hakeem?

Hakeem, I swear you do not have to go out there right now.

We can take you out of here right now, start fresh tomorrow.

Whatever you need, we're here.

When the dudes pinned me up...

I ain't do nothing.

I ain't fight back.

I wasn't strong.

Yeah, but you are alive.

You're smart.

You kept your cool, and you're good, so, for that, you're stronger and smarter than anybody else on the block.

Man, the three of us... we can't be broken.

Not by thugs or kidnappers or anything else that comes at us. You know why?

Why?

Because we already beat the odds by surviving as the children of Lucious and Cookie Lyon.

You already ahead of the game.

Jamal: Come on, man.

Remember when you were little, and you'd always stick up for me, and you was a little French fry?

Hell, I remember you backing down dudes who were twice your size for me.

You're a better man than your father already.

Braver, too.

I mean, come on.

You really think Dre and I would react any differently if your situation?

Nah, y'all both punks.

Go on. Set your ass...

Get over here, boy.

You got this, all right?

(applause and cheering)

♪ Dollars in the bank, dollars in the bank ♪
♪ Bank ♪

♪ We be pulling rank if you coming for the money ♪
♪ He ain't shootin' blanks, I ain't shootin' blanks ♪
♪ Blanks ♪

♪ Fire in my tank, that's what keep me running ♪
♪ Got them runnin' ♪
♪ R-R-Runnin' ♪
♪ I'm-a get my cake, you can never take it from me ♪
♪ My mind runnin', my mind runnin' ♪
♪ Every, every day got these bitches runnin' ♪

(audience cheering)

♪ A buck fifty in the fast lane ♪
♪ Fast lane ♪

(muted, muffled music)

♪ That's right, don't stop ♪
♪ I'll be Michelle on your campaign ♪
♪ Campaign ♪
♪ We can shift gears I'm 'bout that life ♪
♪ Whenever I get with you, I don't fear nothing ♪
♪ But good-bye ♪
♪ So you better make it home tonight ♪
♪ Trigger fingers never sleepin' ♪
♪ If you need me to slide ♪
♪ So call me bae ♪
♪ Don't ask me how we do it ♪
♪ I'll just say it's nothin' ♪
♪ We don't run with you lames ♪
♪ 'Cause y'all might be frontin' ♪
♪ Hangin' with Benjamin Franklin ♪
♪ 'Cause he keep it one hundred ♪
♪ She's my new Bugatti ♪
♪ A million miles and runnin' ♪
♪ I ain't never gone fall off ♪
♪ I see most of y'all caught up ♪
♪ Y'all looking like orphans ♪
♪ Thirsty, need to sip water ♪
♪ That new whip with that spoiler ♪
♪ Whip looking like star ship, blue strip on my dollars ♪
♪ I ain't talking 'bout ones, though ♪
♪ Hundred miles and running, yeah, I'm always on it ♪
♪ Y'all talking nothing, I just gave a hundred racks ♪
♪ To my chic, keep one hundred ♪
♪ Mess up the commas you don't want no drama ♪
♪ 'Cause money to long get that don't play with me ♪
♪ Keep kay's with me and ain't talking bout ♪
♪ Them things flipping, want me gone then keep wishing ♪
♪ Stick to whatever gone pay, dig me? ♪
♪ Dollars in the bank, dollars in the bank ♪
♪ Bank ♪

♪ We be pulling rank if you coming for the money ♪
♪ My mind runnin', my mind running ♪
♪ Every, every day, got-got-got these bitches runnin'. ♪

(applause and cheering)

I'm glad y'all looking like you're having a good time, 'cause this party is a little dead.

And maybe we should get a stripper pole or something.

(laughter) I'm down.

We don't need none of that.

This is a boss-level celebration, right?

Look, this could be big for all of us.

Yeah.

I want to thank you for believing in me.

You for trusting me.

My man.

And I want to thank you for riding with me.

Cheers up.

All: Cheers!

Cheers up.

Turn up. Turn up.

Ménage à trois!

Yes.

Up.

(knocking on door)

Mm-hmm. Hmm.

Somebody at the door.

Rack 'em.

Rack 'em, sack 'em.

Hakeem.

Anika, what's up?

Oh, my God.

I have been so worried. I've been calling you.

I know. I've been...

It's been crazy lately.

Thank you for being there when I needed you.

Right now ain't a good time.

I just wanted to make sure you were all right.

I'm straight. Thanks.

Good.

Call me if you need anything.

All right.

(sighs heavily)

(muttering)

I messed up, man.

I already know, you gave me a shot, and I blew it.

You think I should drop you?

I wouldn't blame you.

I'm not dropping you.

I'm actually pulling you in closer.

Such a beautiful flame inside of your eyes.

A flame I only saw in myself.

Flame that was almost snuffed out when I was a kid, when I lost both my parents.

You and me... we cut from the same tree.

I got three sons, and none...

Yeah?

I identify more with you than any one of them.

I wrote a song for you.

Want to hear it?

(intro plays to "Boom Boom Boom Boom")

♪ Boom, boom, boom, boom ♪
♪ Bang, bang, bang, bang... ♪

I was thinking something like, uh...

♪ Bang, bang, bang, bang ♪
♪ From the bottom I got up to the top of the pros ♪
♪ From the gutter to the shutters trimmed out in gold ♪
♪ Life bless my soul, God bless my mo ♪
♪ Nothing less than the best so the rest is old ♪
♪ Wanna play chess, wanna lock and load ♪
♪ Wanna send you home, wanna tag your toe ♪
♪ It ain't about the fame ♪
♪ Tell 'em what's my name ♪
♪ Boom, boom, boom, boom ♪
♪ Bang, bang, bang, bang ♪
♪ Boom, boom, boom, boom ♪
♪ Bang, bang, bang, bang ♪
♪ From the bottom I started ♪
♪ So there's nothing that you can say to me ♪
♪ I prodigal where I grew up, and this the newest slavery ♪
♪ People see you try hard, like why you wanna play with me? ♪
♪ I bring them heaters out, somebody better pray for me ♪
♪ 'Cause all I know is this money, I gotta have it ♪
♪ These suicidal thoughts getting bad ♪
♪ I'm getting madder ♪
♪ They say the good die young ♪
♪ I put the pedal to the metal, hit the gas, then I'm gone ♪
♪ Now I'm front line at the court ♪
♪ And I'm 'bout to take a shot ♪
♪ I pull it up, cock it back, let it fly ♪
♪ Now I'm watching for the backboard ♪
♪ And when they say the world is yours ♪
♪ I just let 'em know that I'm just trying to score ♪
♪ Boom, boom, boom, boom... ♪

(laughing)

Both: ♪ Bang, bang, bang, bang ♪
♪ Boom, boom, boom, boom ♪
♪ Bang, bang, bang, bang... ♪

(knocking)

So we gonna do this or what?

Make me forget about everything that happened this week, Laz.

You said you got me, right?

Yeah, I got you.

(Cookie sighs)

♪ Boom, boom, boom, boom ♪
♪ Bang, bang, bang, bang ♪
♪ Boom, boom, boom, boom ♪

(Cookie laughs)

♪ Bang, bang, bang, bang. ♪