Various Artists – The Hamilton Mixtape

the-hamilton-mixtapeDespite what President-elect Donald Trump (still doesn’t sound right saying that) would have you believe the Broadway musical Hamilton is a massive hit. And quality theatre to boot. Shows have been sold-out forever and people have gone back to see it several times. That being said the usual soundtrack has already been released, so when this was brought to my attention I thought it was superfluous. As you listen it you realize that this mixtape reworkings of the songs from the musical brings a whole different look to the music and seems completely natural. What reassured me even further was the fact that Lin-Manuel Miranda, Questlove from The Roots and Black Thought co-produced the album. With that kind of weight behind it they were able to get big stars like Sia, John Legend, Alicia Keys and Kelly Clarkson along with hip hop guys like Nas, Common and Chance the Rapper on board. They all bring their musical sensibilities and origins to reworkings of the songs done originally by the cast. It is a perfect fit. The music lends itself to a modern sound. There is also an occasion of two versions of the same song, “Dear Theadosia”, here and amazingly both are good. One features piano players Ben Folds and Regina Spektor doing what they do and the other a less piano ballad but soul filled vocoder based version with Chance the Rapper and Francis and the Lights. Another interesting part of this is the putting together of different artists and seeing how they work together. Sia, Miguel and Queen Latifah are on “Satisfied”. Ashanti and Ja Rule (where has this guy been?) on “Helpless”. Nas and Miranda on “Wrote My Way Out”.

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