When you think of the show Empire the first thing that should come to your mind is music. The acting is solid and the storylines could surely use some direction but the essence of the show is still the music and performances. With A-list celebrities making cameos, Empire has pulled off some of the best performances on Primetime TV.
The list is not the best songs sung or rapped but the ones that spoke about the show and what emotions they gave off. Empire is about family and each song has a deeper meaning than what's being performed. Music has a feel that can change a gloomy day into a bright one. What Empire offers is a scripted version of acting, but a rawness when an actor steps into a sound booth.
Here are the top 10 performances on Empire.
10 Freda Gatz vs Hakeem: The Battle
Hakeem has always been the wildcard on Empire. He's more geared toward the new school rap while most viewers are more old school but this battle was great. Gatz was Lucious' pick to knock Hakeem off his throne but he never imagined his son could turn hood on the mic. Hakeem's lyrics were nothing to brag on but this scene held weight due to its nod to Hip Hop. His family was worried that he didn't have that in him to go toe-to-toe with a battle rapper like Gatz but Hakeem proved everyone wrong with witty punchlines while adding his own style and swag.
9 Jamal: You're So Beautiful
No matter what Jamal does, he always puts on a great performance. It was short but it highlighted the entire first season, and to be honest, it's still a fight that Jamal and Lucious are still having in present times. "You're So Beautiful" is a testament to Jamal's love for his boyfriend. At the time, only his family knew that he was gay. During this performance was his official coming out to the world moment.
No one seemed to care, but the look on Lucious' face was priceless. The best part was that his family was happy that he finally did it. Now, tell me when you hear this song, you can't stop your foot from tapping the floor. Forget the words for a minute if you're a man and listen to the music itself.
8 Jamal: Good Enough
To see the visuals of the struggle Jamal had to go through with his father growing up was heartfelt. Taking out his personal feelings, "Good Enough" hit close to home for any kid still searching for that lost love that he never got from their dad. What makes this song and scene so special was the emotion it had. Look at the expression on Cookie's face as she watched her son sing through his problems. As she flashed back to Jamal's childhood, she felt the pain in his words. So much so that she couldn't even stay to hear the rest of the song.
7 Empire Cast: Chasing The Sky
If you want to know about the show and what it stands for then this is the song that describes Empire to the fullest. Season One was the introduction to the fighting and cut-throat business of the music industry and the Lyon family. Season Two was after the explosions and the family trying their best to mend the fences. "Chasing The Sky" is their feelings wrapped up in a song. It's powerful to the masses if you have ever gone through trying times with your family. It speaks to the soul and being that it was done with Lucious and his two sons made it that much heartfelt.
6 Jamal/Delphine: Conqueror
This is still one of my favorites of all the songs that have been performed on Empire. The duet was by accident as Delphine asked Jamal to come into the booth and sing while a Documentary was being done on Empire's top artist at the time. The song is a voice to the millions of people who are dealing with everyday struggles. Jamal uses that smooth tone that makes him such a wonderful singer while Delphine hits the notes that brings your soul to tears. The audience watching gives you a feel that this is beyond a TV show and you forget that you're at home watching a scripted segment.
5 Jamal: Mama
You want something powerful to show your mother how much you care and love her, then this is that song. With family drama always at the center of the Lyon family, Jamal did what only he does best. He penned a song for Cookie breaking down her struggles with her father and then her husband over a piano riff that will send chills up your spine. What made this that much special was that Jamal performed the song right in front of his parents. Not a person in the room made one sound but the looks on their faces spoke a thousand words. Lucious felt the pressure and left, but for Cookie, it was a trip down memory lane.
4 Hakeem: Special
With a new child, and trying to prove to Tiana he can be a better man, Hakeem stepped out his comfort zone and brought back memories of Tupac's "Keep Your Head Up". With Tiana in the studio, Hakeem laid down possibly his best flows ever. Being known as a player has always been his signature. However, the back and forth between he and Tiana was taking a toll on him and their relationship as friends, lovers, and parents. He had to make a stand. Hakeem wanted to prove that he is more than one night stands and dogging women on social media. He also wanted to let his daughter know that her father loves her. This was a defining moment for the Hip Hop star, but one that would not last.
3 Tiana: Starlight
There were two versions of this song. One was just Tiana and the other featured Hakeem. However, the Tiana version hit the hardest. With she and Hakeem going through their normal break up to make up episodes, "Starlight" was an entry into her heart. On this performance and track, she laid it all on the table. The performance took place in the studio but it was more of a glimpse into their relationship. This is one couple on Empire we want together and that's what made "Starlight" so special.
2 Lucious Lyon: Dream On With You
Despite their differences throughout the show, the story of Lucious and Cookie Lyon is still the centerpiece of it all. During Season 3, they both went through different relationships but it wasn't until the end, where they realized in order to be happy and be successful, they needed each other. Surprisingly, it was Lucious who made the first move. While in Vegas, he got on stage and performed "Dream On With You" in front of a packed house and their children. One to always keep his emotions in check, he knew it would only take a grand gesture to get the woman of his dreams, his business partner, and the mother of his children back. Armed with just a guitar, Lucious poured his heart out and won.
1 Jamal/Kitty: Infamous
It doesn't matter the name of the actors here, anyone who can stand next to Mariah Carey and hold their own deserves to be on this list. It was noting powerful in the words but it captivated everyone who watched this episode. Carey is a legend and for a newcomer like Jussie Smioolet to hit the studio with her and not bat an eye, was outstanding. Episode-wise this was a turning point for Jamal. While suffering through an addiction to pills, he stumbled through the first sets of this performance. But once he got his mind right by popping a pill, he laid down his best performance of his time on Empire.