By Chloe Frantzis
Managing Editor of Arts
No regular news follower could miss the latest (and first) Hamilton scandal. After a performance one night, the cast gave a short but direct speech to future vice-president Mike Pence as he was attending that night’s performance. Although incident caused some Hamilton fans to question their loyalty, the new Hamilton Mixtape, released this past Friday, reaffirms all the positive notions surrounding the show. In other words, it is another smashing success, not only financially, but in its themes and messages as well.
For those who don’t already know, the Hamilton Mixtape is a collaboration between many famous artists and Lin-manuel Miranda in order to recreate some of the more famous songs from the musical. In some cases, performers like the Roots and Aloe Blacc created their own song out of a single Hamilton lyric or melody. In other instances, the artist would just sing the song with their own interpretation.
If the mere mention of this concept doesn’t get you excited, here are some guest artists featured and the songs the sing: Sia does an outstanding job vocally on “Satisfied” while Queen Latifah has a rap interlude, Usher adds a modern spin onto “Wait for it”– you can just hear it playing on Kiss 108– Kelly Clarkson jerks tears with “It’s Quiet Uptown”, Alicia Keys plays beautifully with the melodies and harmonies in “That Would Be Enough”, Ashanti takes “Helpless” to a whole new level, and Andra Day stirs deep emotions with “Burn”.
Although these songs are all performed with extreme care and love, my favorite has to be both versions “Dear Theodosia”. That’s right, there are two different versions. The first is sung Regina Spektor, whose lyrical vocals transcend those of Miranda’s and Odom’s in the original. The second version was probably the biggest surprise of them all. It is the last song on the album, and is sung by Chance the Rapper. And guess what? He doesn’t rap once! He sings it. That alone made the song unforgettable.
Although I should end my list here, I have to add in one more that has a very special place in my heart: “You’ll be Back” is sung by none other than Jimmy Fallon himself. Its hilarious, that’s all I have to say– listen to it yourself.
Moving on to songs that were adapted from melodies or lyrics, the first real song of the mixtape has to be at the top: The Roots and their adaptation of “My Shot” is rewritten to fit modern issues, while also sticking true to the original theme of rising up and seizing the moment. If you listen carefully, you can even hear one or two mentions of Hamilton and his friends. Another great adaptation is the songs “Wrote My Way Out” by Nas, Davis East, Miranda and Aloe Blacc and “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)” by K’naan, Snow Tha Product, Riz MC, and Residente. The latter of the two deals with very relevant issues like immigration and how America was founded on diversity.
Not only is the Hamilton Mixtape just plain out amazing to listen to, but it includes some very important underlining messages as well. It takes a little from all genres, styles, beats, melodies, people, and culture, and mixes them all together to create a modern masterpiece, all over again.