By Marianna Nash
You may not know it from a glance, but the historical (and historic) Tony-winning Broadway hip-hop smash has some surprising connections to the world of electronic music. Between the performers’ artistic range and the cast album’s musical Easter eggs, we’re sure there’s more than what we’ve mentioned here — so consider this a sample. (Get it? Sample? OK.)
5. Electric Side Project
We now know that showrunner Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the cantina music for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in the confines of his “Hamilton” dressing room. The song was later remixed for the scene as a “badass electronic track” played by local space jazz band Shag Kava. Talk about genre blending.
4. Jefferson’s Coat
This one’s open to debate. Rolling Stone’s Mark Binelli mentioned that the purple coat Daveed Diggs wore as Thomas Jefferson recalled late pop star Prince, and Miranda agreed. Make of that what you will. What’s not open to debate is that the cast performed “Let’s Go Crazy” in an electrifying tribute to the pop pioneer.
3. Serious Speakers
The lyrical density and dynamism of Miranda’s score demands crystal-clear audio at all times, in every corner of the theater. Sound designer Nevin Steinberg talked to Vice about the production’s state-of-the-art mixing console and massive, finely calibrated speaker system.
The original cast album, which even in July tops the Billboard rap charts, was a collaboration between Questlove and Black Thought of The Roots with “Hamilton” music director Alex Lacamoire. From distortion and drums to record scratching and a horse whinny sample, they used sound effects available in the studio — not onstage — to achieve a more authentic hip-hop sound.
1. Mixtape Magic
The long-awaited “Hamilton” mixtape will feature covers and original work inspired by the show from the likes of Busta Rhymes, Queen Latifah, Usher, Sia, Chance the Rapper and more.
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