Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-magnet Hamilton: An American Musical married powdered wigs with Hip Hop in a groundbreaking tale of the life of founding father Alexander Hamilton. The Hamilton Mixtape brings Miranda’s tale to wax with a combination of vivid narratives and enriched soundscapes. Lin-Manuel Miranda is featured on only a few songs, but the former punching bag of Immortal Technique wrote the lyrics for the majority of the tracks on this tape, many of which are from the musical itself.
There’s this musical out there, Hamilton — perhaps you’ve heard of it? Before Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Pulitzer Prize-winning behemoth became a ubiquitous part of pop culture, before the Trump tweets and the Saturday Night Live appearance and all the rest of it, Hamilton was going to be The Hamilton Mixtape, a concept album that maybe, someday, would become a show. In that sense and others, The Hamilton Mixtape — perhaps better called Volume One, as there’s an already-confirmed follow-up in the works — brings things around, full-circle. Of course, the initial version Miranda dreamed up probably wouldn’t have featured Kelly Clarkson.
Mike Pence is right about one thing: The Hamilton experience is "what freedom sounds like." The instant-classic musical is a miracle of living history and artistic ingenuity, reaffirming our sense of America's renegade ambition and inclusive against-the-odds promise. As a musical triumph, it is just as amazing. Creator-composer-star Lin-Manuel Miranda's songs tap hip-hop's nearly lost traditions of sing-song storytelling and giddy battle-rap brio.
The Hamilton original cast recording recently passed half-a-billion streams on Spotify. That’s billion, with a “B”: Try to think of more influential, beloved, and ubiquitous cast recordings in history—you will probably end up counting on two hands, maybe one. The music of Hamilton now sits directly in the center of American pop culture, and it has smuggled rapping—the unadulterated, information-dense kind that you can hear tripping from the tongues of the best MCs—into the ears of Dick Cheney and Mike Pence with it, for God’s sake.