Listen To The New 'Hamilton' Cast Recording, Produced By The Roots
Questlove, Black Thought & Lin-Manuel Miranda (screenshot)
Two months have flown by since word came that The Roots would be producing the official recording of Hamilton, the runaway theater success that's been the hottest New York ticket for many months. With the production moving out of The Public Theater and onto Broadway, a proper CD of the show's music makes perfect sense, and Hamilton's score is definitely one that can be enjoyed by anyone anywhere, even when there's no stage in sight. The album is packed with dense verses, hints of comedy and plenty of dynamic beats hinged beneath roving chord progressions. This is, after all, a Questlove and Black Thought production--did you think they'd let it out of the studio without dry, gritty kick drums and snares that break necks in two?
As much as [Hamilton is] plainly American history told through the life and times of a singular person, it's also rap as understood by one Lin-Manuel Miranda, who was born in 1980 and grew up in New York City and went to Wesleyan, with all that man's nostalgia and associations and vernacular. The songs he wrote for Hamilton are not rap songs. This is musical theater made by someone who knows rap to be all our cultural lingua franca, whose sense of humor is legible to people like us. It is songwriting done within rap's regulations and limitations. It's a work of historical fiction that honors the sentiments of rap, a play off collective memory that feels overwhelming personal.
What more convincing could one possibly ask for? Hamilton will undoubtedly go down as a monumental piece of theater, one distinctly (perhaps even necessarily) American; it'll also be a clear darling favorite at next year's Tony Awards. Listen to both Acts I and II below, and pre-order your own copy of the LP on iTunes ahead of its Friday, September 25th release. And if you need a brief refresher on the film, check out a full video interview between Questlove, Black Thought and the play's writer/director,Lin-Maneul Miranda.