'Hamilton Mixtape' emphasizes the show's unusual presence on Broadway

The combination of new tracks and new takes on the show's famous songs emphasizes the musical's diverse influences, like rap and hip-hop – seemingly unusual inspirations on Broadway. 

Lucas Jackson/Reuters
Lin-Manuel Miranda (l.) and Christopher Jackson (r.) perform during the 2016 Tony Awards in New York.

Fans who love the smash hit musical “Hamilton” recently got some fresh material about the Broadway show with the release of “The Hamilton Mixtape,” a music collection that features songs that were cut from the musical and famous artists performing their takes on “Hamilton” tracks.

“Mixtape” was released on Dec. 2 and includes songs like “Valley Forge,” which was cut from “Hamilton” and is performed by “Hamilton” composer, writer, and star Lin-Manuel Miranda; the “Hamilton” song “It’s Quiet Uptown,” performed by Kelly Clarkson; the “Hamilton” song “Wait For It,” performed by Usher; and the new song "Immigrants: We Get The Job Done," performed by K'naan, Snow Tha Product, Riz MC, and Residente. 

The “Mixtape” is currently ranked at number four on Amazon for music sales.

The original Broadway cast of "Hamilton," which tells the story of the life of the Founding Father, starred Mr. Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Phillipa Soo, and Renée Elise Goldsberry. It has since won the Pulitzer Prize for drama as well as multiple Tony Awards, including best musical. 

The release of the mixtape project is the latest sign that “Hamilton” is an unusual Broadway show. Hip-hop and rap might seem like a strange fit for a musical to some, but Black Thought of the musical group Roots, who worked on the mixtape, told Billboard that he thinks "Hamilton" brings new fans to the musical forms. 

“The language of the MC has become a universal dialect,” he said. “People love a musical, people love hip-hop culture, and I feel like ‘Hamilton’ was presented in a way that made hip-hop and rap lyrics easily accessible to people who may have before felt alienated or intimidated by the meat of a rhyme. I feel like ‘Hamilton’ simplified it in a way that made these raps easily understandable for people from eight to 80.” 

Artists like The Roots, Usher, hip-hop artist Nas, and rapper K’naan all appear on the “Mixtape."

The wide-ranging origins of the musicians that perform on “Mixtape” also highlight just how many influences Miranda had when he was composing the show’s music. “Nowhere else will you hear Common teaming up with folk-pop star Ingrid Michaelson – or Sia duetting with R&B crooner Miguel, only to be interrupted by a rare and impressive guest verse from Queen Latifah,” Entertainment Weekly writer Nolan Feeney writes of “Mixtape.”

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