by Madison Marko – Op-ed Editor
“The Hamilton Mixtape” transcends any specific genre, reimagining familiar songs and tunes with the help of all-too-familiar artists. Released on Dec. 2, the album puts the score and story of the Broadway hit “Hamilton” into a new light.
“The Hamilton Mixtape” is an innovative, inspired telling of one of our founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton’s story, intertwined with stand-out themes that still hold meaning today. Executive produced by Black Thought, Questlove of the Roots, and the mind and means behind “Hamilton”, Lin-Manuel Miranda, the mixtape simply leaves no room for failure.
And the album definitely does not fall short of brilliance.
Featuring a remarkable 36 artists from varying musical backgrounds, the album wants for nothing in terms of depth. Household names like Chance The Rapper, Alicia Keys, Sia, Wiz Khalifa, Usher, and Lin-Manuel Miranda make the 23-track mixtape instantly stand out—if you somehow overlook the bold “Hamilton” logo proudly filling the front cover.
The album manages to trigger an invigorating wave of excitement in die-hard “Hamilton” fans with tailored, recognizable songs from the original score. Sia’s version of “Satisfied”, with the help of Miguel and Queen Latifah, is a thrilling, skin-tingling version of the original. Kelly Clarkson’s “It’s Quiet Uptown” blends her powerful vocals with the gentle touch of the score’s original vibes, creating an emotional, awakening version of the original.
Along with these extremely recognizable accounts of Hamilton’s story, the mixtape features stunning adaptations of some of the original score with eye-opening altercations. “Who Tells Your Story” puts a new, hopeful, upbeat spin on the musical’s death-ridden, somber feel thanks to a fresh beat and new verses by the Roots. “Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)” is also a standout, using old phrases from the original to supplement a sizzling, biting new story of the struggle and determination of immigrants.
Following this masterpiece of music and storytelling is an unfortunate, supposedly-comedic rendition of “You’ll Be Back” ear-splittingly sung by Jimmy Fallon. Although proposed in a sort of “sketch” format, the song does little to warrant a laugh. Or even a smile. It sucks the life out of the cheery and cheeky original. You definitely won’t be back for this one.
Overall, “The Hamilton Mixtape” is a stunning new take on the well-loved “Hamilton” score that delivers a well-balanced feast of old and new meaning to your ears. 36 artists, 23 tracks, and all will leave you with a fresh perspective on one of the most intriguing founding fathers and the ways in which his story still rings true today.