‘Empire’ Music Director Jim Beanz Spills on Terrence Howard’s Rap Skills and Taraji P. Henson’s Musical Potential

How are you liking Season 1 so far?

The seventh episode of Empire airs tonight, and we know you’re prepping for it by listening to “Drip Drop” for the hundredth time this week. While you were all daydreaming about Jamal and Hakeem, we talked to Jim Beanz, longtime Timbaland collaborator and the man behind Empire’s soundtrack, about what to look forward to this season. Would you Empire fans be down with a Terrence Howard rap performance?

Here are three things to look out for, according to Beanz, who also plays troubled rapper Titan on the show.

Titan is coming back.

Supposedly bigger than Kanye West and Jay Z, Titan appeared in episode four as a hot act Lucious (Terrence Howard) wants to sign. Beanz wasn’t planning on playing Titan, but agreed to fill in for the part after the original actor slated for the role dropped out. “Yes, he is [coming back],” Beanz told us. “He gets out of jail. He’s like the wild child on the show.”

Cookie might have her own musical moment. And you know it would be bomb.

Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) works behind-the-scenes right now, managing Tiana, Jamal, and Elle Dallas (Courtney Love), but we’re curious as to whether she’ll have any musical moments of her own. “I heard [Taraji] sung on Hustle & Flow years ago. That’s cool,” Beanz said. “I can’t tell you for sure, but the one thing I can say is that they always throw these crazy moments at me, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up calling me and telling me that they wanted Cookie to have a part. Of course, she would do her Cookie thing, and you know it would be amazing. [Laughs.]”

You can look forward to songs featuring Terrence Howard.

Cookie’s ex-husband also appeared in Hustle & Flow years ago, as aspiring rapper DJay. Although we’ve seen glimpses of Lucious’ early career as a musician, Howard hasn’t had any true musical moments on the show. Not to worry, though. It looks like the best is yet to come:

Yeah, me and Terrence have actually done a few songs for the show. A lot of his songs are the ones that are made into a remix. A lot of times they’ll have me do a song that is from the past that they basically want the rapper Hakeem and the son Jamal to remix or do a rendition of the old school version. You’re definitely going to be hearing more of Terrence Howard’s songs.

Beanz also told us that he used to be addicted to Love & Hip Hop.

Beanz is primarily a Love & Hip Hop Atlanta fan, and had some thoughts on the show’s unpredictable first lady, Joseline Hernandez. “I used to be addicted to Love & Hip Hop. [Laughs.] I love Joseline and Stevie J.,” Beanz said. “To me, they are a hilarious couple.” So what does he think about Joseline’s claim that Cookie’s character was based on her? “She’s definitely outspoken. I’ve heard a few women say that they feel like there’s a little bit of Cookie in them. I think it’s amazing any time a girl stands up for herself. That’s really cool.”

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