'Empire' Season 2, Episode 8 Recap: Anika's Pregnant, Hakeem Battles Freda & Vivica A. Fox Shows Up

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Lucious Lyon set off last night’s episode of Emipire with multiple shots fired at his own son, Hakeem. The episode opens up with Lucious stirring up trouble (as usual) at his club Lavidicus.

After telling Freda he feels closer to her than his own sons, LL makes a public service announcement: “I got a message for Hakeem,” says Lucious. “And it’s Freda Gatz with ‘Shots Fired.’” In true form, Gatz comes out ready for the kill: “I’m the son that your dad always wanted / Daddy’s little girl, you’re just daddy’s little girl.”

It’s clear Lucious wants Hakeem to know he’s replaceable, you know, since he wouldn’t sign back on with Empire. But Keem’s not having it. He releases a video via social media and calls out Gatz: If she wants his last name so bad, then she’s going to have to battle for it. But because it’s Empire, something so simple seems a bit too easy. So Cookie and Lucious decide to spice things up. There’s no question Cookie is #TeamHakeem, so “when” Hakeem wins, Lyon Dynasty gets to drop Jamal’s next album; if Freda wins, Empire gets Hakeem’s project.

Now anyone who’s an avid fan of the show knows Hakeem is not about these streets. He grew up in the suburbs, and has no background in battle rap. But it turns out that’s not a problem. After watching their parents business partners spaz out during yet another studio session, Jamal and Hakeem get together for some quality family time and good old-fashion brotherly love. Jamal tells Hakeem not to sink to Freda’s level. He reminds him that he’s a performer, so give the crowd a show. And that he does.

Danny Strong and Lee Daniels tap Funk Flex to host primetime TV’s ultimate rap battle, and it went a little something like this. First, Freda. “Your brother the man, and he put on a nightgown… Lucious please get me a towl because this sweat about to make me mad.”

Then, Hakeem. “I’m a lifesaver, no sucker here.. .From now on I’m cuttin’ ties to Empire’s diet / Call me Hakeem, bullet to the name Lyon.” Not only does Hakeem drop the mic, but he picks up a sledgehammer and knocks out the light illuminating his last name on stage. So from now, Keem is like Prince, a man with a single moniker.

But Freda Gatz isn’t the only thing Keem is battling these days. In an effort to hold on to any piece of the Empire she can, Anika makes strides to stay relevant in Hakeem’s life, but he’s moved on. Unfortunately for him, he forgot to use a little something called protection when going after the woman that was almost his step-mother. Anika goes to tell Keem about the baby, but before she can he tells her his secret first. “I think I’m in love.” And it’s evident it’s not with her. “But we still homies right? I still think you dope.” Boo Boo Kitty takes the high road, and says she’s happy for him, but that doesn’t mean anything once she decides to pose as his girl Laura’s driver and kidnap her after the family cub takes back control over his life.

On another note, Jamal premieres another Empire Soundtrack single, but this time Pepsi’s trying to pick it (and him) up as the new sound and face of the brand. To be clear, this isn’t actually happening in real life; just for the show. If you remember correctly, Jamal’s been working behind Lucious’ back. Since the music mogul has no idea what his son’s been up to, he produces a beat for Jamal to use as his Pepsi submission. Loving both sounds created by his “business partners,” Mal brings his parents together to hear a version of their sonic merger.

Of course, neither is in agreement to work on a collaborative sound. But at the end of the day, Jamal has to do what’s best for him. In this case, that means rocking with a fusion of EDM and R&B: a song that is equal parts Cookie and Lucious, just like Jamal wants it. And spoiler alert, Pepsi loves the song and takes Jamal as their new brand image.

In other news, Vivica A. Fox finally makes her appearance and guest stars as Cookie’s older sister, Candace. But the question everyone is left with: what’s going on with Carol?

Find out next week.

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