According to Empire's co-creator Danny Strong, they based the hit TV series' fictional character Lucious Lyon loosely on billionaire Jay Z. The show pulls from Jay Z's past criminal life and his rise to stardom through hip-hop and the music industry.
Danny Strong revealed this in an interview with Sway on Sway in the Morning saying,
“The Jay-Z story, which very much inspired Lucious Lyon, certain elements of Lucious Lyon, was that story,” Strong responded. “For me the story of people who have some sort of criminal past, or gangster past are not limited to black culture. … Our goal is to tell a great story, and to do the best show we can. You can cross the line and just be totally inappropriate, but we're not doing that. … You know, Joe Kennedy too, is another (person who rose to power from a criminal past).”