Release Date: Oct 16, 2015
Record label: Atlantic
Genre(s): Rap, Classical, Stage & Screen, Cast Recordings, Musical Theater, Show/Musical
"Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?" Anyone would be lucky to have Broadway innovator Lin-Manuel Miranda tell his or her story, and this time founding father Alexander Hamilton is the fortunate son. Miranda has created an exemplary piece of musical theater in his smash hit Hamilton. This album, created with help from the Roots, pulls off something even more impressive: It proves that a cast soundtrack LP can work as a powerful, cohesive, exhilarating pop experience in the 21st century.
Inspired by the Ron Chernow biography, Hamilton: An American Musical is an innovative, hip-hop-charged stage musical about U.S. founding father Alexander Hamilton. That's right, hip-hop (and ethnically diverse casting) meet the 18th century. Its creator, book writer, composer-lyricist, and lead actor, Lin-Manuel Miranda, had his Broadway breakthrough in 2008 with Into the Heights, a musical about the Latino-American Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights that also incorporated rap music into its rambunctious songbook.
Hip hop is nothing if not rich in drama. Beyond even the competitive feuding, the best rap music chronicles its makers' highs and lows, detailing the gnarly realities of difficult lives lived triumphantly. Hip hop and theater, with their shared fondness for linear narrative, should make for more frequent bedfellows, but it took until this year for the two genres to combine to properly resounding effect.