Welcome to Disney’s identity crisis.
The Emperor’s New Groove began production while the studio was focused on Mulan and Tarzan. It was originally supposed to be called Kingdom of the Sun and was supposed to be a moral tale based on The Prince and the Pauper. The tone was supposed to be similar to The Lion King, where the egotistic Emperor Kuzco swapped places with a villager who looked like him, both learning lessons in the process. Sting was even hired to produce the sweeping ballads that would do for Kingdom of the Sun what Elton John did for The Lion King.
To state the obvious: That’s not the movie that was eventually made
By the summer of 1998, the love interest was ditched, Yzma’s plan to blot out the sun was gone and the new film was a buddy flick to be made without Sting’s involvement at all. Instead of a drama, it was now a light-hearted comedy.