Nah, from the way I see it.
If you're a weak kingdom, empires will dow you fast but kingdoms will help you out for abit however if you continue to be weak they will come to dislike you too because you're weak and will help make empire stronger so they dow you to take ur lands. Vice versa for Empires too.
But to put it simply, if you're weak, you will have enemies.
If you're strong like 1st place or 2nd place on power, kingdoms and empires will kiss ur butt and offer you tribute without you lifting a finger.
Getting tribute is really unusual experience for me, I'm used to civ AI