Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony, Grammy, and Pulitzer Prize-winning hip-hop musical about the founding fathers, has a spinoff. So, don’t worry. Your weekend will be okay.
The Hamilton Mixtape, released today, includes covers by some of the show’s inspirations (Queen Latifah, Busta Rhymes, Ashanti, Ja Rule, and Alicia Keys, to name a few), demos of songs that were cut from the original musical (most of them cynical, unruly, out of place, but oddly prescient given the dark political atmosphere ahead), and other odds and ends compiled by Hamilton’s biggest fans who also happen to be famous musicians. Chance the Rapper’s cover of “Dear Theodosia” will gut you like a stupid little fish!
Some of the new tracks on the mixtape also double down on criticism of the second president John Adams, who was notorious for his temper, paranoia, and bizarre moods, and whom San Francisco slam poet Watsky mocks in Hamilton’s voice on “An Open Letter,” saying “you’re always goin’ beserk / but you never show up to work.” The new song closes with the promise “I don’t care if I kill my career with this letter / I’m confining you to one term.” If you squint a little, it’s pretty timely.
There’s also a whole new song called “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done),” which features Somali-Canadian rapper K’NAAN, Mexican-American singer Snow Tha Product, The Night Of’s British-Pakistani star Riz Ahmed, and Puerto Rican rapper Residente.
Hamilton is so sincere and so wildly, disproportionately popular for what it is — a musical about 18th century history, and not the only one that exists — it’s exactly the sort of cultural product we’ve been trained to despise. Yet, it’s irresistible, particularly in an era where the American promise feels more tenuous than ever. Last September, The Washington Post credited the show with bringing about the “end of irony,” and added the directive, “put aside everything you ever did to look like you didn’t care.”
The events of the election have made Hamilton — a show about the messiness of governing, the value of diversity, and the narrow gangplank that is true devotion to a moral code — feel even more important, counter to what we might have previously thought possible based on physics. But the fabric of reality is a little wonky right now.
Case in point: President-elect Trump attempted to spar with the cast of Hamilton on Twitter recently. Vice President-elect Mike Pence went to see the show on Broadway shortly after the election despite the fact that he has actively condoned discrimination against LGBTQ people in his home state of Indiana, blaming them for an AIDS crisis and then dragging his feet on the way to battle it. Unsurprisingly, pockets of the audience booed him. The current lead actor of the show, Javier Muñoz is HIV-positive. Brandon Victor Dixon, the actor who currently plays Aaron Burr, delivered a message from the stage:
“We are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights. We hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values, and work on behalf of ALL of us. Thank you."
Despite Trump supporters calling for a boycott of the show, it broke box office records yet again in the following week, taking home more cash over its eight performances than any other show in Broadway history.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the member of the Hamilton cast who is HIV-positive.