Broadway's hottest ticket, meet the BET Hip Hop Awards' best tradition.
The cast of Hamilton teamed up with The Roots' Questlove and Black Thought in a BET Cypher on Tuesday night, and the results were historical. As in, it was the first time Broadway's come to BET, and also, the raps were about history.
The man himself, Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote and stars in the musical based on Alexander Hamilton's biography, and who is "writing a song for The Rock next, you can Google that," starts things off. He's not the best rapper the world has ever seen, but hey, he's "got an Emmy, got a Grammy, got a Tony," and he's "gunning for Pulitzer prizes." Best of luck, Lin! You deserve the world and more.
"God damnit homie, someone show me the way to the Oscars."
Renée Elise Goldsberry plays Angelica Schuyler, a socialite, intellectual, and early feminist who was also Alexander Hamilton's sister-in-law (and Thomas Jefferson's mistress, though that only comes up in lyrical winks during the show). As she says, she's a mother of two, as well as a huge fan of Frances Farmer and the f-bomb. Gosh, I love 2015. She doesn't rap much in the show, but she does carry some of the hardest bars in the entire score on "Satisfied," an Alicia Keys-inspired lovelorn showstopper (literally, the show stops and the entire set rotates backwards).
Daveed Diggs, who pulls double duty as Marquis De Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson, has a real fledgling rap career outside of Hamilton, though he says he was couch-surfing and living on $100 per week of unemployment before he knocked on Miranda's door. He delivers parts of Hamilton at a rate of 6.3 words per second, so I'm ready to believe that he's genuinely freestyling here — in particular when he chooses to shoutout his favorite rappers from his hometown, which are Fetty Wap (yay!) and MC Hammer (what). His closing line is a zinger: "Playing these dead presidents, I'm getting my reparations."
Black Thought closes out the show with "100 bars to get everybody up in arms," and while Questlove remains silent in this video, he's been very vocal about Hamilton in the press. In an op-ed, for Rolling Stone he credited Miranda with "the first real synthesis of two great American institutions: the Broadway musical and hip-hop." Black Thought and Questlove also produced the cast album, which is currently number four on Billboard's rap album chart.