The Empire is an underground American Hip-Hop group based out of Fayetteville,
NC. The group is currently composed of Mista J, 5th Letter, Speak no Evil, & Prince
Imperial. They had 2 other members that left the group in 2000. The group is also the
cornerstone to the rap collective The Roundtable. They have released 2 albums
independently 2004’s NCC Records Presents…The Empire, and 2007’s The Dark Ages.
The Empire originated out of the break-up of one of Fayetteville’s earlier rap
collectives Omega Clan. This included Mista J, Kid Kaos, 5th Letter and Prince Imperial.
They had been performing locally and making demos. After Omega Clan imploded
due to power clashes, egos and, and its unmanageable size (It swelled to about 32
members). The four previously mentioned went on as Omega Clan for a short while
before basically stopping in 1996. At this time Mista J went off to college in Rhode
Island and started focusing more show promotion. 5th Letter went on to work w/
former Omega Clan members 190 Proof and 24k also with members of what would
become Ground Zero. Meanwhile Prince Imperial and Kid Kaos worked with a few
other emcees in the group StormTroopaz.
In the summer of 1998 Mista J returned and began working on a solo
album with 190 Proof and a return of Omega Clan. At this time Omega Clan did
get back together with the final four and adding former DeathAngel Bodybag to form
the original line-up of The Empire. The quintet of emcees started out performing
and recording under the banner even appearing in the Fayetteville Observer for
there show at the Prince Charles in downtown Fayetteville. In about 2000 the
group again succumbed to differences in direction of the group and The Empire
disbanded for a short while with Kid Kaos and Bodybag going there separate ways.
The 3 remaining members continued to make music together only sporadically and
not under The Empire banner officially. At this time is when Mista J again starting to
work on his solo album and hopefully a first group album ran into Rik Marvel former
member of Hip-Hop group Characta Assasinz. During this period the 3 were
contemplating a group album apposed to a demo but all plans were dashed due to 5th
Letter going into the military.
==NCC Records Era==
During the winter of 2003 when Mista J and Prince Imperial were working
on Mista J’s solo album 5th Letter had returned to Fayetteville. The 3 quickly got
together and making new music. At this time 5th Letter introduced the rest to
emcee/ producer Vintage. Who produced and is featured on the album. They also got
back with former Omega Clan producer/emcee 190 Proof for a track.
Around this same time Mista J started NCC Records giving The Empire a independent
5th Letter spoke of another talented producer/emcee that he had come
in contact with Speak no Evil from Aberdeen, Maryland. With Speak’s lyrical
prowess and like mindedness with the rest of the group he was invited to record on a
post album single “It’s Wonderful” also featuring Shamrocc and D.O.S. from the
group Ground Zero and became an underground classic. Shortly after this
Speak was formally inducted into the group, during this juncture The Empire was enjoying moderate success. The singles “Ice Hot” and “Breathe” were in significant rotation and the group appearing regularly on the radio. ‘Breathe” the albums most popular song at the time went on to be a
local favorite and charted in the top 10 of the Independent Countdown.
==The Dark Ages==
The Empire was thinking it was time to strike while the iron was hot and
decided to start working on the album and had a stock pile of Rik Marvel and Vintage
beats to get them started. Before the recording process even got under way 5th
and Speak got shipped off due to their military obligations. When things stalled
and only 2 tracks that were recorded. Prince imperial started working on his own
solo and started producing. He decided that despite the distance that they should go
ahead and record the group album.
After a little more than a year recording with some done while members were done in Korea,
Afghanistan and North Carolina. The Empire finished the Dark Ages releasing it
on December 7th, 2007. The group has plans to do some shows and solo albums
from Speak no Evil, Mista J, and 5th Letter. Also The Empire has their forum started
The Fortress on their website [http://www.empiremusiq.com