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January 15, 2015

Philly beats get national representation in Fox's 'Empire'

Music produced by Philly native Jim Beanz with Timbaland

Television Empire
Empire Fox Broadcasting Company/for PhillyVoice

Terrence Howard, left, is one of many Philly connections in Fox's new show.

First, Philly got rep'd in Shonda Rhimes' "How to Get Away with Murder;" now, it's getting showcased in what's being dubbed that show's musical equivalent.

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, those beats you're hearing in Fox's new musical drama "Empire" are Philly-made. The music, which will be featured in all 12 episodes of the midseason replacement, is produced by Philly native Jim Beanz in conjunction with Timbaland (who's produced for Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Jennifer Hudson and Britney Spears). Beanz has worked on records with Katy Perry, Keri Hilson and Nelly Furtado and Cheryl, among others.

And if that's not enough of a local tie, "Empire" stars Lee Daniels and Terrence Howard are both from the Philadelphia region. Daniels is from West Philly, and Howard is from Lafayette Hill.

"Empire" aired its second episode Wednesday, Jan. 14. Considering it was the highest-rated premiere Fox has had in three years, it'll likely be renewed for a second season

"I would love to continue with the show next season," Beanz told "I've worked really hard getting to know these characters and the storylines, so I would love to continue to grow with the show as the story unfolds."

He said he's been the main writer, vocal producer and producer for the entire first season, with Timbaland overseeing his role as the project's executive music producer. Beanz said that, along the way, he reined in another producer from Philly, J. Nick, to help with production.

He also threw in the tidbit that he'll have a song on Jordin Sparks' upcoming album, which, as of now, is untitled and without a release date.

Hear some of the beats in the "Empire" trailer below: