Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you’ve probably heard of the Tony award-winning musical Hamilton. After sweeping the Tonys, many of the shows stars moved on to do other things, including the show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda. But Miranda hasn’t totally walked away because now, in addition to the show’s soundtrack, there’s a mixtape.
The Hamilton Mixtape takes the songs from Hamilton, remixes them, and then has famous artists cover them. As of right now, only four songs have been released, but they give a sense of how the full album (Miranda has said there will be a part two) will eventually look.
“My Shot (Rise Up Remix)” by The Roots feat. Busta Rhymes, Joell Ortiz & Nate Ruess
Rather than doing a straight cover with a different tone, The Roots went for a change of lyrics. The song keeps the style of the original “My Shot” in terms of melody, and the rapping on top of the music discusses the same issues, but in a more general sense. It makes the song more relatable and accessible by taking it out of historical context. They keep the famous chorus the same but add a more jazz vibe to the sound. This song shows how the mixtape is trying to keep true to the ideas of the original songs but change the way those ideas gets presented.
“Satisfied” by Sia feat. Miguel and Queen Latifah
This cover keeps very true to the original, changing virtually none of the lyrics, which keeps the song from getting removed from the original historical setting. The pattern of notes that repeats throughout also remains the same. Sia adds a touch of electronic to the cover, especially with the time-skip section. Queen Latifah takes over for Sia during the rap section, which ultimately flows better as Sia’s tone is more smooth. The song shows how the mixtape will change the musical style of some of the songs, even if the lyrics remain unchanged.
“It’s Quiet Uptown” by Kelly Clarkson
Like “Satisfied,” Clarkson’s cover stays very close to the original rendition. She does change a few lyrics, eliminating the historical context by never using Alexander or Eliza’s names. That makes the song and its message accessible to people unfamiliar with the original musical. Also like Sia’s cover, this version changes the musical style of the original. Clarkson pushes a stronger tone than the original, which is more somber in nature, going for a more uplifting feeling. The style of music also changes, adding a solid beat and other percussion elements.
“Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)” by K’naan, Snow Tha Product, Riz MC, Residente
Like the “My Shot (Rise Up Remix),” this cover takes part of a Hamilton song and then changes it. It focuses on two parts of “Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down),” the “immigrants, we get the job done” and the section discussing slavery. It uses those lines repeatedly but adds a new beat and lyrics to surround them. This song sends a strong political message, discussing immigration and the way people talk about it. Songs of the mixtape then provide a means of addressing issues that the musical raises but doesn’t have time to fully cover.
The album is available for pre-order, and if you buy it, you get the four songs above immediately. If you’re a fan of the musical, or even just the artists covering the songs, it’s definitely worth checking out.
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