Ne-Yo Guest Stars On 'Empire' Season 2, But That's Not The Only Way He's Involved With The Hit Series

I didn't think Empire Season 2 could possibly top a guest appearance by Pitbull himself, but it isn't stopping with Mr. Worldwide. The hit FOX series has has plenty of other big names to bring into the fold — like Mariah Carey, who will appear this season. But first things first: Ne-Yo guest stars on Empire this Wednesday night, though that's not the only way he's contributing to Season 2. According to Billboard, the R&B star has been one of the main songwriters working on Jamal Lyon's sound with Jussie Smollett. 

It's pretty much the perfect match: Jamal and Ne-Yo (aka Shaffer Smith) are both passionate singers and songwriters who always give their all to their music. According to Billboard, Ne-Yo co-wrote the song "No Doubt About It" (with Pitbull) and "Ain't About The Money." In a behind-the-scenes video, Ne-Yo and Smollett talk about making the song "Battle Cry" together. "'Battle Cry,' to date, was the most difficult song to cut," Ne-Yo said in the video. "We don't have a lot of time to produce something incredible. It really keeps you on your toes. We definitely reached some new heights." Sounds like the R&B singers have been making beautiful music together.

Ne-Yo is definitely the best choice to bring Jamal Lyon to life, and here are some  of his songs that prove it.

"Because Of You"

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This romantic slow jam from 2007 went Platinum for Ne-Yo and shows his sweet side. It's a quality that's definitely needed when writing for Jamal, who is mostly portrayed as being a singer with soul and a true artist — he's even naming his album The Artist, as he said in last week's episode.

"Closer"

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A huge hit song from 2008 that is still played on the radio to this day, "Closer" is so many things. A dance record and a pop song with his R&B influence. Ne-Yo bridges dance, pop, and R&B nicely, proving he's a superstar — and it's a skill he could bring to Jamal's character.  

"Let's Go"

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This 2012 hit is a personal favorite, because Ne-Yo shows he has the vocals to hold his own against Calvin Harris' pulsing beats — and that's not an easy feat. Again, if Jamal is going to become a superstar in the Empire universe, he's going to have to tackle many genres, including EDM. Ne-Yo has that experience to bring to Jamal's sound.

"Give Me Everything"

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Ne-Yo knows how to write a chart-topper with Pitbull, so if Empire is going to give Jamal a song with Mr. Worldwide, it may as well be written by someone who knows exactly what he's doing. 

"Money Can't Buy"

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Jamal frequently sings about money and power on Empire and Ne-Yo released this song last year, showing he's got experience singing about dollar bills too.

"Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)" 

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Ne-Yo and Sia worked together on his 2012 hit track and it's a song that the R&B crooner loves dearly, according to an interview with MTV News. "The song is about the importance of loving yourself, which I felt was something that’s few and far between these days," he said. "Everybody’s searching for this unreal perfection, and it’s kind of sad, so I feel like the song came along absolutely at the right time."

That feeling of having such a strong emotional connection to a song is the essence of Jamal's character, and Ne-Yo knows exactly how to bring it out on Empire.

Image: Chuck Hodes/FOX

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