8:00am PT by Kate Stanhope
'Empire' Recruits Rapper Xzibit as New Rival for Lucious
Move over, Cookie! Lucious Lyon has a new opponent on Empire.
Rapper and actor Xzibit has been tapped to guest-star on the hip-hop drama, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Xzibit (whose real name is Alvin Joiner) will play Leslie 'Shyne' Johnson, who is described as "100 percent wolf and 100 percent gangster." He's managed artists, started record imprints, and even sold a few units here and there, but his bread and butter has always been — much to his frustration — drugs, guns and extortion. Feeling shut out by the other heavy hitters in the music industry, he carries a big chip on his shoulder, particularly for Lucious (Terrence Howard).
Xzibit joins an already impressive list of season-two guest stars that includes both musicians (Alicia Keys, Ludacris) and actors (Chris Rock, Rosie O'Donnell).
After breaking through with the 1996 rap album At the Speed of Life, Xzibit has enjoyed hits such as "What U See Is What U Get" and "X" and has sold 2.76 million albums. Not long after his musical breakthrough, the rapper transitioned to the big screen with roles in 8 Mile, xXx: State of the Union and The X-Files: I Want to Believe. He also hosted and produced MTV's hit unscripted series Pimp My Ride, followed by recent roles on Hawaii Five-0 and in Nat Geo's SEAL Team Six movie. He is repped by Primary Wave and Don Buchwald & Associates, Inc.
Sources say Xzibit's role will be a multi-episode arc, but Fox declined to comment. There are no official details available on how long he will be on the show or when he will make his debut. (Empire was already renewed for season three in January, and filming is nearly wrapped on season two.)
Although the first half of Empire's second season had been filled with big names in both one-episode and recurring roles, co-creator Danny Strong told THR in January that the remaining eight episodes of season two are "going to be way lighter on the celebrity guest stars" as the focus circles back to the core family unit.
Empire returns with new episodes on Wednesday, March 30 at 9 p.m. on Fox.