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Empire’s quick quips are a huge part of what makes the show a fan favorite. Say what you will about Cookie’s ethics—her snappy comebacks are enough to shut anyone up. Who wouldn’t want to have that fierceness at her disposal? A strong start to season two indicates there will be even more salacious quotes on the way.
Here, we round up the most empowering lines of the series so far. Over-the-top? Definitely. Badass? Absolutely. Print ’em out and hang them in your cubicle, make one your phone background, or just bookmark this link for easy reference. These gems are bound to make you feel powerful. Cookie-level powerful.
“The streets aren’t made for everybody. That’s why they made sidewalks.” –Cookie
Lucious may be a millionaire now, but he lived a past life of struggle and hustling with Cookie. She reminds him here that their experience is irreplaceable and something Annika will never have.
“I don’t wanna win the game. I wanna change it.” –Hakeem
Hakeem has confidence in spades and never doubts that his music career will be on a whole other level, even surpassing his legendary father’s.
“You lose your soul when you feel like the world’s forgotten you.” –Cookie
Prison proved to be a lonely time for Cookie, and she reflects on that with this line. But not wanting to be forgotten only makes her work harder now that she’s free.
“The closer you get/they try to hold you back/But a closed mouth don’t get fed.” –Jamal and Hakeem, singing “No Apologies”
It’s a beautiful moment when the brothers can put aside the family drama and sing. In “No Apologies,” they make it clear they won’t let it tear them apart. And they won’t apologize for speaking their minds.
“Better be glad I don’t feel like no scene today. Because I’d shut it down.” –Cookie
Sometimes getting what you want means ruffling a few feathers. Cookie knows you never get your way by keeping quiet.
“Sometimes you gotta be willing to sacrifice your queen to win the game.” –Lucious
Family first, business second? Not for the Lyons. Lucious loves Cookie, but he makes it clear that she—especially—won’t get in the way of Empire.
“I’m here to get what’s mine.” –Cookie
Cookie never enters a room quietly. She arrived on the scene with a vengeance with one of the most famous lines from season one.
“You need to stop rapping like you from the streets, ’cause you not about that life.” –Cookie
Cookie puts Hakeem in his place when he tries to rap about a rough life he never lived. When Hakeem starts rapping about the lavish lifestyle he actually has, Cookie is proved to be right—he winds up with a hit on his hands.
“Tell me, live inside the moment. What are we waiting for? What the hell are we waiting for? I want to live inside the moment. Tell me, what are we waiting for?” –Jamal and Hakeem, singing “Live in the Moment”
Considering the brothers busted this tune out while cruising on a yacht, it’s clear they definitely have some moments to be thankful for. Hey, at least they realize it.
“Do you still go to church? Do you still believe in God? Good. Ask Him to forgive you. Because I’m not going to.” –Lucious
When Andre begs Lucious to let him come back to Empire, Lucious makes it clear that betrayal won’t be tolerated, giving us the first great line from season two.
Graphic design by Candace Napier