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As Empire grows ever popular, more news about just what might have made the show so successful abound. In the latest anecdote, Empire co-creator Danny Strong revealed that Kanye West was his inspiration for insight to the music industry when he was low on creative juices.

So how does a middle-aged white guy with no background in the music industry get material for the biggest TV show about the rap game? During a radio interview, Strong revealed that he looked to the wise words of Kanye West, Diddy, and Shakespeare.

“I was in my car in L.A., and I was driving around, and I heard a news story about Puffy, and I just thought, ‘Hip-hop is so cool. That’s what I should do next, something in hip-hop.’ And I immediately began thinking King Lear and The Lion in Winter, and that’s how I work. I go to classical archetypes.”

Most of the titles of the Empire episodes are known Shakespeare quotes, but there’s still that certain rawness to the show that could only come from one place. “To procrastinate and for inspiration, I started watching Kanye West interviews. After 45 minutes . . . I said, “All right, I’m good. I know how to do this.”

Kanye once called himself “the shot of espresso” that gets people going in the morning, and it seems as though his self-evaluation holds up, as Strong talked about his versatile career that has seen him go from appearing on Buffy the Vampire Slayer to writing the award-winning HBO films Recount and Game Change, to creating a TV drama that’s broken ratings records, all due to Kanye‘s rants. You think we could be seeing Yeezy in a guest role on the show next season?

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