Scammers are posing as FADER staffers on Instagram and DistroKid. Read more here.

The Songs That Inspired Hamilton, The First Cool Musical

As collected by the play’s writer and star, Lin-Manuel Miranda.

August 31, 2015

Hamilton is a wildly successful musical about the life of founding father Alexander Hamilton. It’s based on a very long biography and runs three hours. I was surprised, after hearing this description, that the play had received near-universal acclaim, and that it was positioned by both critics and friends not as essential education but life-changing entertainment. And I was happily shocked when I actually went to a theater, and found these promises to be true. Hamilton is a story about immigration, the decisions that built America, and the decisions that build and break friendships, told by a spectacular and diverse cast. It’s rapped all the way through, and well. There are Biggie references, but this play is not corny. If, for you, patriotism has seemed like a near-impossible feeling to feel, it is an utterly unique opportunity to experience pride in a nation.

Hamilton stars and was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. He’s the New Yorker, recently profiled in the New Yorker, who did In the Heights. Today, Miranda shares a playlist of the songs that inspired him as he worked on Hamilton. There’s opera and Mary J. Blige; 2Pac, Eminem, and The Decemberists—a constellation of contemporary references that, run though Miranda’s brain, resulted in songs that make the play feel familiar and lovable, that recognize a generation of music fans the theater hasn’t paid enough attention to, until now.

ADVERTISEMENT

"The songs in this Spotify playlist, despite straddling several genres of music, share elements I love: a focus on storytelling, dazzling verbal wordplay, unreliable or hilarious narrators," Miranda told The FADER via email. "What I love about musical theater AND hip-hop is that everything is fair game: sampling other genres, a fluidity in service of the moment. I had a lot of fun selecting these songs, all of which were bouncing around my brain during the creation of Hamilton. Enjoy."

ADVERTISEMENT

Thumbnail image: Colin Hawkins for The FADER

ADVERTISEMENT
The Songs That Inspired Hamilton, The First Cool Musical