Hakeem album leak on Empire, episode 2, recalls Angel Haze, Wilco label disputes (VIDEO).

How Hakeem’s Album Leak on Empire Was Inspired by Real-Life Musicians

How Hakeem’s Album Leak on Empire Was Inspired by Real-Life Musicians

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Slate's Culture Blog
Sept. 30 2015 10:32 PM

How Hakeem’s Album Leak on Empire Was Inspired by Real-Life Musicians

Bryshere Gray as Hakeem Lyon on Empire, left, and Rapper Angel H,Bryshere Gray as Hakeem Lyon on Empire, left, and Rapper Angel Haze.
Bryshere Gray as Hakeem Lyon on Empire, left, and rapper Angel Haze.

Photo illustration by Juliana Jiménez. Photos by Fox via Getty Images and Theo Wargo/Child2014/WireImage.

On Wednesday's episode of Empire, Jamal and Lucious refused to let Hakeem take his album with him to the new label he's starting with Cookie and Andre. And so the youngest Lyon reaffirmed his status as the show's primary rebel, prematurely leaking the album online himself. 

The plot point is just the latest example of how the show’s writers have been directly inspired by the actual music industry’s inner-workings: There have been quite a few real-life artists who, unhappy with their record label's handling, have made their unreleased albums available to fans for free. Here, we look back on a few of those frustrated artists and how such bold acts of defiance turned out for them in the end. Hakeem, take note.

Aisha Harris is a Slate culture writer and host of the Slate podcast Represent.

Jackson Veigel is a freelance video producer, shooter, and editor based in Los Angeles. You can see more of his work here.