Empire Cast ft. Estelle & Jussie Smollett: “Conqueror”

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I’ll admit that I’m one of those millennials that doesn’t bother with watching TV via an actual television anymore. Streaming online or watching on mobile is more convenient so naturally, I’m a bit behind on which new pilots are worthwhile. Empire has been making the media rounds lately and people have been nagging me to watch the show already. So in my post-all-nighter state of exhaustion, I decided to marathon all current ten episodes and it was not one of my better ideas.

My overall impressions of the show are lukewarm. Around episode 7, I quickly tired of everyone’s shit. I was over Andre’s Grumpy Cat pouts, Hakeem acting like a dumb little shit, and Lucious! That man. I can’t even with Lucious. In a flash, my initial reactions of Empire went from intrigued to irritated to absolutely DONE. But all of this is to be taken with a grain of salt. I completely get why Empire is getting all the praise that it’s getting and deservedly so! It’s a very interesting and smart view into the music industry but it’s also being true to real life issues within the hip hop community like homophobia. Perhaps it was all of the damn Sons of Anarchy commercials I kept having to watch that ruined my viewing experience. Actually… yes, that was it. The last time I got as angry at a commercial was at the Gisele Chanel No. 5 commercial ABC kept fucking playing while I was trying to get my How To Get Away With Murder on. Ugh, this is why I don’t do traditional TV anymore! (Except Cartoon Network–they’re worth it.)

And with that, I’ve totally strayed away from the original purpose of this post which was “Conqueror,” as sung by Estelle and Jussie Smollett. As annoyed as I was with the show, it always held my full attention but no scene stands out for me as much as this one. Both the song and performance blew me away and for a second, I thought I was watching a completely different show. Complex perfectly describes the scene and it was powerful. I probably won’t continue watching Empire but I’m happy to have “Conqueror” as my one takeaway from it.


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Nancy Hoang created Hopeless Thunder in 2007. She conducts the interviews, writes the articles, photographs the concerts, and handles the site's coding & design. (She's basically a control freak.) Her work can also be seen on music publication, CMJ. Contact Nancy for image licensing, assignments, or just to say hi.

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