The easy answer to this question is both, but that would be diluting the magic and appeal of Empire. Over the course of 12 episodes, the Fox midseason replacement drama has become a cultural phenomenon, with an audience that grew each week. It broke ratings records, and turned actors like Taraji P. Henson and Jussie Smollett into household names. Even the Empire soundtrack, which beat out Madonna and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, has given the show's executive music producer Timbaland a rejuvenated career.
A big reason Empire became so popular is because of hip-hop's popularity. Add to that a nearly all-black cast and sharp writing with multiple references to Internet memes popular on #BlackTwitter, and it was clear from the pilot, this was a soap opera for sure, but it wasn't the stories we grew up w...
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