There's no doubt about it: Empire's upcoming second season will certainly ratchet up the drama and (most importantly) the music. In a surprise (drip) drop on Thursday (Sept. 3), the hit FOX drama released two new tracks: No Doubt About It (featuring Jussie Smollett's Jamal and the ever-ubiquitous Pitbull, who co-wrote the thumping track with Ne-Yo) and Ain't About the Money (with Smollett and Yazz's Hakeem). Both tracks (below) will be included on the forthcoming Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 2 Volume 1 project, to drop later this year.
Earlier this summer, it was revealed Ne-Yo would be joining the show in a behind-the-scenes role as part of the growing musical team.
So far, the show's next installment will feature a bevy of guest stars. Those include: Alicia Keys, Becky G., Kelly Rowland, Ludacris, Chris Rock, Lenny Kravitz, Adam Rodiguez, Marisa Tomei, Mariah Carey, Andre Royo and Tyra Ferrell. When broached on the topic of of guest-star overload, show runner Ilene Chaiken shared with E! Online: "We're actually being really careful not to let it change the dynamic of the show — and frankly, not to have so many high-profile names that it feels like their show and not the Lyon show. Because the show is about the Lyon family. It's about the characters that the audience loves." Last spring's record-breaking first season featured a long list, too: Jennifer Hudson, Judd Nelson, Snoop Dogg, Pattie LaBelle, Rita Ora, Gladys Knight, Raven-Symoné, Naomi Campbell and Courtney Love.
She adds, "Although it's really exciting to have some of these incredibly talented people be on the show, I believe that the audience is coming to see the characters in these stories. I think that the show will live or die based on those characters and those stories we're telling them, but the way that we're approaching guest stars is we're telling our stories."
Take a listen to both new tracks below:
No Doubt About It
Ain't About the Money
Empire returns for a split-season formula on Sept. 23 on FOX at 9/8c.
[PHOTO CREDIT: Kevin Winter/Getty]