Empire's Yazz Talks Timbaland & Solo Material
By Catriona Wightman. Empire star Yazz has revealed that working with Timbaland on the show has been "a dream come true". Speaking to Digital Spy to promote the release of the show's official soundtrack in the UK, Yazz revealed that his favourite songs are 'No Apologies', 'Can't Truss 'Em' and 'Conqueror' - but admitted that he's disappointed not to see 'Drip Drop' on the track list. "It was a lot of music we recorded," he said. "There were a lot of samples and stuff that didn't make the album."
But Yazz, who plays youngest son Hakeem in the hit show, revealed that the past year has been a "very dramatic change" and raved about working with Timbaland on the past season. "It's been amazing," he said. "It was a dream come true. I always wanted to be a musician and work with the greats like Timbaland. The songwriting was great, so I'm just happy to be involved." He also revealed that he's hoping to have even more creative control of the songs in future episodes, saying: "In season one I didn't really have a lot of input.
That's why I'm looking forward to season two, working with Ne-Yo and Timbaland. "They've given me a lot of leverage and they trust in me a little bit to come through with the lyrics, and that's just what I do. I love writing, so I'm excited to see what the music throws up." Yazz - who was about to head into the studio with Ne-Yo for the first time on the day he spoke to DS - added that he thinks the star will bring a new sound to the second season. "I think for the R&B - [character] Jamal aka Jussie Smollett - it would enhance it," he said. "Ne-Yo, he writes for the Beyoncé's and the Taylor Swift's and stuff like that.
For me, being an MC, it's just going to add a different dynamic to my hooks. Maybe I might start singing a little bit more!" Yazz & Jussie Smollett perform at the Television Academy event for Empire Yazz has also signed his own record deal with Columbia but admitted that he hasn't had a chance to work on an album yet, saying: "I'm so tied up with filming Empire and being on tour – I'm still currently on tour doing signings and performing. So I'm getting together with the label and God is good. We're working on an album and we'll let you guys know when we're dropping it."
He said he already knows what kind of sound we can look forward to, revealing: "You can expect an experience, a feeling. The music is very inspiring, it's turned up music, it's manic music. There's a lot of brackets to it." But Yazz added that he doesn't want people to confuse his solo music with Hakeem's tracks on Empire, saying: "This is why I use songwriters when they come to Hakeem, because I don't want to give them everything. I want to keep it. "I have so much to talk about, so I'm going to put in my album. I don't want to use that for Hakeem, I'm going to save that for me.
So it's great that I use the songwriters because it gives me somebody to bounce off of, someone to give you extra ideas that you wouldn't have had before. It's great to work with these guys and create what we do." With filming for season two fast approaching, Yazz also revealed that we will see Hakeem "grow up a lot" in the second season. "He goes through wanting to be a man and trying to prove to his family that he is the top dog and he is the golden one," he said. "He runs into brick walls with the older women and with the young girls around in the Empire lobby! So you get to see a kid that goes up, that goes down, that goes up, that goes down and it's too much."
He also hinted at future problems between Hakeem and Lucious following the shock season one finale, teasing: "The relationship between Lucious and Hakeem now is tarnished. He has no trust, he has no respect for his father. He betrayed his father, his father betrayed him, so it's kind of scary." Yazz added that he's not feeling pressure to live up to the huge success of Empire's first season, saying: "Season two is just going to get better and better. We couldn't do everything we wanted to do in season one, so that's just how it is.
"Season two is going to be the same way – we're going to come up with new ideas, come up with things that we want to add. We're just going to come better and come better and keep giving the world what they need, especially London over there in the UK. We love you guys over in London." In fact, Yazz revealed that he would love someone from London to guest star on the second season of Empire ("I just love the accent"), and admitted that he'd love to fly across the Atlantic to perform here. "I would definitely come over to the UK and perform 'Drip Drop' or whatever you want me to do!" he joked.