Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture – what’s new and old in entertainment.
By now, it’s well-known that Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 2015 musical Hamilton is a cultural sensation. The musical won all sorts of awards including 11 Tonys, a Grammy, and a Pulitzer. The lyrics were quoted by President Obama, and the original Broadway recording has spent over 130 weeks on the Billboard Top 200 and has reached as high at number three on the list. Some even credit the musical with convincing the US Treasury to keep Alexander Hamilton on the ten dollar bill.
But Miranda has ensured his musical lives beyond just the musical itself. Since its premiere, he has co-authored a book about the development of the show, participated in a PBS documentary about the show, and released 28- yes, 28- bonus songs.
First came The Hamilton Mixtape, born out of Miranda’s self-professed love of cassette mixtapes from the 90s, the album was full of songs cut from the show and remixes by notable musicians including Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, Chance the Rapper, and Asher.
In recent months, Miranda has begun what he called the Hamildrops – one new song per month until he runs out of material. The Hamildrops have included a song about Benjamin Franklin, a pro-gun control collaboration with the musical Dear Evan Hansen made to benefit the March for Our Lives, and the first draft of one of Hamilton’s many showstoppers, Burn performed by five different actresses who has portrayed Eliza Schuyler-Hamilton in the musical.
Hamilton is a cultural moment, but it’s also proving to have some endurance. Over three years since its premiere, new songs released under its brand-name still zoom to the top of iTunes and Spotify charts, and keep Hamilton’s rabid fanbase delighted and excited.
I’m Evan Rook.