Hakeem vs. Freda
Freda Gatz (Bre-Z, left) faced Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray, right) in a rap battle after she called him out in a diss track on "Empire" Season 2, episode 8. FOX/Chuck Hodes

Step aside Drake and Meek Mill, a new rap beef was ready to take the world by storm when Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray) went up against Lucious’s (Terrence Howard) new prodigy Freda Gatz (Bre-Z) in a rap battle on Fox’s “Empire” Season 2. By the time the battle was over, a stunning revelation was made by one of the rappers on episode 8, titled “My Bad Parts.

Lucious sends a message to Hakeem when he sends Freda up on stage to debut a new song called “Shots Fired” a diss track directed right at Lucious’s youngest son claiming she’s more of a Lyon than he is. Hakeem finds out about the song and tells the world he’s going to battle Freda Gatz for his last name to show her who the true Lyon is.

Jamal (Jussie Smollett) is trying to land a sponsorship deal with Pepsi, but he only has a week to submit a song to them for consideration. He goes back to working with Cookie (Taraji P. Henson), but he’s afraid about Lucious finding out his mother has been helping him with his music. Lucious also has his own beat and idea with the song Jamal should use for the sponsorship.

Following their post-kidnapping hook up, Anika (Grace Gealey) is now pregnant with Hakeem’s child. Anika runs into Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday) while getting a smoothie. The two talk and Rhonda tells her that Lucious has been completely different since to her since the pregnancy and that babies are basically his kryptonite.

Cookie is furious that Hakeem let Lucious get to him and that he challenged Freda to a rap battle. She says if Hakeem loses to her, Lyon Dynasty is done and they will lose everything. Hakeem thinks Laz (Adam Rodriguez) has Cookie believing he’ll lose and Hakeem starts mouthing off to Laz. The two shove each other and Cookie has to separate them. She slaps Laz afterwards for hitting her son and tells Hakeem not to lose.

Cookie and Jamal are video chatting with each other when Hakeem walks in and sees what’s going on. He’s upset and thinks Cookie loves Jamal more than him, but Cookie reassures Hakeem that she’s doing it because it’s a big deal for Jamal and she hopes it could bring him over to Lyon Dynasty. Hakeem calms down, but asks Cookie to start helping him more, especially with the rap battle looming.

Anika goes to see Hakeem to tell him she’s pregnant. She starts kissing Hakeem and climbs on top of him, but he tells her to stop. Hakeem says he’s in love with Laura, which takes Anika by surprise. She then leaves his place without telling him.

Candace and Cookie
Candace (Vivica A. Fox, left) came to see her younger sister Cookie (Taraji P. Henson, right) because their sister Carol (Tasha Smith, not pictured) has gone missing on "Empire" episode 8. FOX/Chuck Hodes

Jamal decides to take both Cookie and Lucious’s song and combine them together to give to Pepsi. He goes into the studio and invites both his parents there so they can both produce the track. As expected, Lucious and Cookie trying to collaborate ends in disaster and they ask Jamal to choose one or the other. Jamal gets fed up with his parents and decides he’s done with the song.

Following their argument, Lucious and Cookie make a bet on the rap battle. If Hakeem wins, Cookie gets to release Jamal’s next album through Lyon Dynasty and if Freda wins, Lucious gets Hakeem back at Empire.

After getting some advice from Hakeem to fuse Cookie and Lucious’s songs together himself, Jamal successfully puts together his own track and performs it for Pepsi. Jamal tells his parents afterwards he plans on having them both produce his next album, which will be equal parts Lucious and Cookie. The three find out Jamal got the Pepsi sponsorship has chosen his song, which is a big deal for the entire Lyon family.

The moment everyone has been waiting for finally arrives as Freda and Hakeem square off in rap battle. Hakeem leads off and takes Jamal’s advice to make it more of a performance than battle. Freda has a flawless response back and the two are even after one round.

Freda starts off round two and drops some rhymes that seems almost unbeatable. Hakeem digs deep, works the crowd and towards the end of the rap he shocks everyone when he reveals that he’s going to be dropping his last name. Hakeem will now be known as just Hakeem and he smashes a light fixture that spells “Hakeem Lyon” so only the “Hakeem” is lit up. Hakeem is then declared the winner.

Hakeem walks Laura to the car and she asks if she wants her to go home with him. He says he does, but he wants the moment to be right for her first time so he lets her go. When the car pulls away, Anika is shown behind the wheel with a fake wig. She then drives away with Laura, but it’s unclear what he intentions are.

Other Major Moments From Episode 8:

  • Against the advice of Andre (Trai Byers) and Thirsty (Andre Royo), Lucious moves forward with his and Mimi’s (Marisa Tomei) purchase of Jago’s (Patrick Mulvey) streaming service Swiftstream. Mimi appears to be very distracted with “personal matters,” which may or may not have an impact on her connection with Empire eventually.
  • Cookie’s older sister Candace (Vivica A. Fox) makes her “Empire” debut in the final moments the episode. Candace reveals that their other sister Carol (Tasha Smith) is missing after she dropped off her kids at Candace’s home and blamed Cookie. The two will now have to travel back to Philadelphia to look for her, while it was also revealed Cookie's real name is Loretha.
  • In a flashback following the rap battle, Lucious was shown sleeping on the street as a child under a lion statue. This statue was likely what inspired him to choose the name Lucious Lyon.