EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community

'Empire' fan react: Rating the music from 'False Imposition'

Season 1 | Episode 4 | “False Imposition” | Aired Jan 28, 2015

We’re now nearing the end of Empire‘s first month as a bona fide ratings phenomenon. This show is a bullet train heading straight for “juggernaut” status (and a big ol’ pile of advertisers’ cash), and I am fully on board. The plotlines are soapy, the characters are over the top, and if all Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson did each episode was compare weaves, I still think they’d have some of the best chemistry currently on TV.

Unfortunately, this week’s original music doesn’t live up to the (very) high bar Empire has set for itself. “False Imposition” only features two performances, and just one is a solid listen. It is also impossible to overlook Jamal’s (Jussie Smollett) absence from the majority of the episode. Except for a short detour into his crummy new neighborhood to reenact his personal version of Stomp, he doesn’t do any singing either. I’m sorry you find it difficult to work in your roach-infested apartment, Jamal, but I need my jams!

The better of the two songs featured in Empire‘s fourth episode is “Hustle Hard” by Titan (Jim Beanz), a rapper whom Lucious (Howard) called “the most authentic artist since Tupac.” We only hear one verse during the broadcast, but you can listen to the entire track below.

It’s easy to picture this song playing in a club or bumping out of an open car window. The heavy bass beat gets you moving right away—Becky (Gabourey Sidibe) is dancing out of her seat at Titan’s concert. (I’d like to take this opportunity to personally thank Lee Daniels for his frequent Becky reaction shots, because they are gold.) The modified vocals, which dropped Titan’s voice several octaves, give the song a hypnotic feel, but his flow is quick enough to keep it up-tempo.

I also appreciate the lyrical shout-out to Timbaland, Empire‘s executive music producer and Beanz’ real-life collaborator and boss. Turns out the man who plays Titan is a producer in real life, and he works for Timbaland Productions. Beanz has written almost all of Empire’s original songs, according to the Wall Street Journal; and he was roped into playing Titan because the original actor dropped out last minute and no one else knew the “Hustle Hard” lyrics (a twist of fate we can all be thankful for). He’s also written music for Whitney Houston, Shakira, Britney Spears, and many others.

Unfortunately, Empire‘s second song of the episode is more disappointing. “Keep It Movin'” is the duet that newly anointed couple Hakeem (Bryshere Gray) and Tiana (Serayah), aka TiKeem, use to open the Teen Choice Awards’ nominations concert. Here’s the complete track:

Hakeem complains to his father that he has to water down his rap for the delicate sensibilities of the Teen Choice audience (who, let’s be real, are definitely listening to way more vulgar lyrics than anything Fox could broadcast at 9 p.m.). And true, Hakeem’s verse is not as explosive as what we’ve heard from him in the past. But my real problem with this song isn’t with Hakeem. It’s with Tiana.

Week after week, Tiana’s music continues to be the weak link in every Empire episode. I don’t know if she could be better with slower material or a different musical genre, but her voice just sounds bland to me. The show gets her look right, and you can find songs like hers on the radio today. But her sound has no personality.

I’m being tough on Tiana in part because the other female vocalists we’ve heard from so far have been fantastic. Okay, so one of them was Gladys Knight, who’s a legend and in a category all her own. But V. Bozeman, who sings “What Is Love,” the song that opens the series, brings tears to my eyes. Her voice sounds like she converted all the love and pain she’s ever experienced into a sound, and then gave that sound to an angel who’s overcoming strep throat. (Also, I’m mesmerized every time I see her bald head.)

In “The Devil Quotes Scripture,” we even see Tiana and Bozeman collaborate on a song, “Bad Girl,” together, and I can tell you it doesn’t end well for Tiana. When she performs alongside Hakeem on “Keep It Movin,'” the comparison isn’t much better. She’s meant to be the starring vocalist on both tracks, but against Hakeem’s monstrous energy (even if it is somewhat dimmed this week) and Bozeman’s emotional tone, she doesn’t stand a chance. On a show as big and broad as Empire, boring doesn’t cut it.

Luckily for us, next week Jamal is back singing his sincere little heart out, R&B Grammy winner Anthony Hamilton will be stopping by the Lyon house to perform, and we’ll see Hakeem film his first music video. I’m looking forward to all of that … but can’t we get Bozeman up in this episode too?

Empire airs Wednesdays at 9/8C on Fox.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

You May Like