It’s not impossible for disenfranchised kids to make music. In fact, its easier than ever. Any kid can become a YouTube star, theoretically. Though that won’t likely lead to becoming a leather-couch-owning, golden-record-touting record titan, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Lucious’s view of what it takes to become a hip-hop artist is hopelessly out of touch, ignoring the Yung Leans and Kendrick Lamars of the world. But there’s also so much inherent drama in the balance between making money from art in a time when no one’s quite sure how to do that.
Despite tackling all of these issues, Empire is fun, soapy, and ridiculous in the way only primetime television can be. But if we’re being honest, the music industry is just as soapy and ridiculous. In music, the business and the personal endlessly mix together. In that regard, Empire is absolutely successful.