The original songs heard during the pilot episode of Empire, the Fox musical drama created by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong, were released by Columbia as a digital download the day prior to the first broadcast. This established a pattern that followed throughout the series' first season. Prominent veteran producer Timbaland was enlisted to make the music, and he brought along frequent associate Jim Beanz for assistance. This five-track release begins as the pilot does, with V. Bozeman performing a despairing ballad that sets the tone for the physical and mental states of Empire kingpin Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard). "What Is Love," oddly, is only 90 seconds in duration, half the length of a version Bozeman uploaded to her YouTube channel. (The full version was officially issued later.) The remainder of the tracks feature Jussie Smollett and Bryshere Gray, aka Yazz, who play Lyon's sons. "Good Enough" resembles a decent album cut from Justin Timberlake's Timbaland-assisted 20/20 Experience releases; Smollett occasionally evokes a slightly younger Usher. "Armani," another brief cut, is the best showcase for Yazz, with sparse and rattling percussion the backdrop for rhymes that effectively reflect young Hakeem's spoiled but eager personality. As music made for television is considered, this is -- like the earlier music for the initial season of Nashville -- somewhat promising.
AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman