Founding fathers in a line, looking all humble
Patiently waiting to sign a declaration and start a nation
No sign of disagreement, not one grumble
The reality is messier and richer, kids
The reality is not a pretty picture, kids
Every cabinet meeting is a full on rumble
What you're about to witness is no John Trumbull."
The Hamilton Mixtape is an album centered featuring songs made by famous R&B, hip-hop, and pop artists inspired by Hamilton (a musical about the life of one of America's Founding Fathers), whether they be straight covers, remixes, demos or new songs with samplings from the musical. Originally, Lin-Manuel Miranda conceived telling the story of Alexander Hamilton with a hip-hop Concept Album, but eventually decided to turn it into a full musical; after the musical garnered praise from within the music industry, Miranda revived the idea of the album in order to collaborate with the many artists who wished to collaborate with him.
- "No John Trumbull (Intro)" by The Roots.
- "My Shot (Rise Up Remix)" by The Roots (feat. Busta Rhymes, Joell Ortiz & Nate Ruess.)
- "Wrote My Way Out" by Nas, Dave East, Lin-Manuel Miranda & Aloe Blacc.
- "Wait For It" by Usher.
- "An Open Letter" (Interlude) by Watsky (feat. Shockwave.)
- "Satisfied" by Sia feat. Miguel and Queen Latifah.
- "Dear Theodosia" by Regina Spektor (feat. Ben Folds.)
- "Valley Forge (Demo)" by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
- "It's Quiet Uptown" by Kelly Clarkson.
- "That Would Be Enough" by Alicia Keys.
- "Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)" by K'naan, Snow Tha Product, Riz MC & Residente, which also has a full music video.
- "You'll Be Back" by Jimmy Fallon.
- "Helpless" by Ashanti (feat. Ja Rule.)
- "Take A Break (Interlude)" by !llmind.
- "Say Yes To This" by Jill Scott.
- "Congratulations" by Dessa.
- "Burn" by Andra Day.
- "Stay Alive (Interlude)" by Stro Elliot.
- "Cabinet Battle 3 (Demo)" by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
- "Washingtons By Your Side" by Wiz Khalifa.
- "History Has Its Eyes On You" by John Legend.
- "Who Tells Your Story" by The Roots (feat. Common & Ingrid Michaelson.)
- "Dear Theodosia (Reprise)" by Chance The Rapper & Francis and the Lights.
One year later, Miranda followed up with more Hamilton-related content in the form of The Hamildrops.
The Hamilton Mixtape contains examples of the following:
- Added Alliterative Appeal:
- From "Congratulations", "I languished in a loveless marriage in London, I lived only to read your letters."
- "All your hemming and hawing while you're hee-hawing with Sally Hemming," a line from "Cabinet Battle 3," serves as Hamilton's final shot at Thomas Jefferson's ambivalence and adultery before President Washington intervenes and quiets Hamilton.
- Album Intro Track: "No John Trumbull (Intro)". It was originally intended to be worked somewhere into the show itself, but Miranda dropped it in favor of "Alexander Hamilton", and it found a place here on the album.
- Armchair Military: The members of Congress have the gall to criticize George Washington's retreat to "Valley Forge" despite doing little to nothing to help with the war effort themselves. This doesn't escape the notice of Alexander Hamilton, who curses Congress and their inability to act before General Washington gets him to tone his anger down.
- Atomic F-Bomb: One delivered directly to the president at the end of "An Open Letter" from an indignant Hamilton: "Sit down John, you fat motherfucker!"
- Bait-and-Switch: Jimmy Fallon prefaces "You'll Be Back" by assuring the listener that he is classically trained, having been taught by a New Jersey man named Ed Classically from out of Ed's mother's basement.
- Beat: "Helpless" omits Angelica's part where she elaborates on how she "wants to form a harem" in favor of stopping the music to emphasize Ashanti's response to the proposed polygamy."Laughin at this girl, cuz she wants to form a harem."*beat*"No, I ain't sharin'."
- Blasphemous Boast: Nas describes himself as the "black Elohim from the streets of Queen" in "Wrote My Way Out."
- Bowdlerise: The original version of "An Open Letter" included Hamilton saying "Bitch, please!" to President Adams; in the mixtape version, the line is changed to the less sensible "Trick, please!"
- Casting Gag: Album feature variant.
- The Cover Changes the Meaning:
- Zig-zagged overall, with some songs being more straightforward covers than others. The levels of "Hamilton" references in the songs vary, with some songs (such as Kelly Clarkson's "It's Quiet Uptown") removing references to the original characters in order to make the songs' messages more general.
- Usher's version of "Wait For It" changes some of the lyrics referring to Hamilton's drive and ambition in order to make the song about people in general.
- Averted with "Helpless" and "Satisfied": not only are they still about falling in love and unrequited love, respectively, they name Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth and Angelica Schuyler by name, implying that Ja Rule, Ashanti, and Sia and Queen Latifah are singing from the perspective of the characters/historical figures.
- Averted with both versions of "Dear Theodosia," which still make reference to Theodosia and Philip, Burr and Hamilton's first born children.
- Determinator: One of the reasons Lin-Manuel Miranda pins for others rejecting him is his endless drive and refusal to calm down."Damn, you got no chill.""Fuckin' right I'm relentless!"
- Eat the Dog: The troops in "Valley Forge" are so desperate for food that they've killed and eaten the horses they brought for riding.
- Externally Validated Prophecy: "Cabinet Battle 3" features a rant by Alexander Hamilton where he predicts slavery's population will increase the more and more legislators ignore the issue and that future generations will curse the names of the Founding Fathers for their negligence on the issue.
- Foreshadowing: The conclusion of "Cabinet Battle #3," where Washington's hope that the next generation with find a solution to the slavery problem is punctuated by cannon fire.
- Gospel Music: "History Has It's Eyes On You" is a gospel remix of the theatrical song and overlays John Legends's vocals over themselves in order to imitate the sound of a choir.
- G-Rated Drug: Lin-Manuel Miranda's part in "Wrote My Way Out" compares being without his pen to being in withdrawal and he begs someone to give it back to him.
- Has Two Mommies: Implied by Regina Spektor's cover of "Dear Theodosia" not changing the lyric, "You have my eyes, you have your mother's name."
- Hypocrite: "Cabinet Battle #3" centers around hypocrisy, describing the Founding Father's apathy towards slavery despite their dedication to freedom. The only one who tries to have a serious discussion about it is Hamilton, who tries to besmirch Jefferson's name by accusing him of having an affair with one of his slaves. The irony is even Hamilton is being hypocritical in this debate, since he was having an affair of his own, something Jefferson knows and uses to force Hamilton to end the discussion.
- In Name Only: Outside of the similar title and chorus, "Washingtons By Your Side" has no relation to "Washington On Your Side," since it is centered around the lack of respect people give Wiz Khalifa because of his success instead of the Democratic-Republicans' anger at Alexander Hamilton.
- Though it is entirely possible he's using the scenario the song encompasses, people irritated by his success despite his talents, and is writing how he feels about it.
- Lyrical Dissonance:
- As in the original show, "You'll Be Back" is a silly love song about a tyrant ordering troops to kill dissenting citizens without mercy.
- In "History Has It's Eyes On You," John Legend's tone is uplifting and unwavering even as he describes leading his men straight into a massacre that he feels ashamed for for the rest of his life.
- Meaningful Echo: "Helpless" and "Satisfied" both depict Eliza saying "This one's mine" regarding Hamilton, forcing Angelica to leave Hamilton for her sister; Angelica brings this back in "Congratulations" to highlight the extent to which Hamilton betrayed both of the sisters through his infidelity.
- Mr. Smith: "Who Tells Your Story" laments the nameless black John Does who were killed for courting white women.
- Mythology Gag: In "Wrote My Way Out," the line "I know abuela's never going to win the lottery" references the plot of In the Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda's production immediately prior to Hamilton that centered around a lottery winner from a Hispanic neighborhood. In the context of "Wrote My Way Out," it makes the point that Hispanics are never going to find prosperity by luck, so it's up to Lin-Manuel Miranda to help and represent them through his writing.
- Precision F-Strike: The mixtape has two: one at the end of "An Open Letter" (which ended up being the only line from the song to be retained in "The Adams Administration" in the show proper), and another in "Valley Forge - Demo":
- Lin-Manuel Miranda/Alexander Hamilton: "Unite these states, give them stakes in our resistance/Do you have no influence at all, you fucking skinflints?"
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
- "An Open Letter" is a vitriolic tirade against John Adams for his treatment of Alexander Hamilton, accusing him of being obese, lazy, nonsensical, hot-tempered, and ultimately irrelevant.
- "Valley Forge" has Hamilton railing against Congress for their failure to help the soldiers, to the point where Washington has to tell him to tone it down.
- "Congratulations" is a rant by Angelica Schuyler about how stupid Hamilton was to write the Reynolds Pamphlet and redefine his legacy for the worst, especially when he had a family to think about.
- "Wrote My Way Out"'s title comes from a line in "Hurricane," which gets sampled in the beginning of the song and occasionally throughout the chorus.
- "Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)" samples "Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)" to get its titular line and to emphasize that though freedom is promised, the answer to the request for true freedom is still "Not yet."
- The titular line of "Say No To This" gets repeated in "Say Yes To This" to represent Hamilton's hesitation and rejection of Maria Reynold's seduction.
- Self-Made Man:
- "My Shot (Rise Up Remix)" celebrates the ability of people to rise up from circumstances of poverty and societal opposition to become something great.
- "Wrote My Way Out" centers around the ability of writing and song to help downtrodden people make a name for themselves.
- "Washingtons By Your Side" calls out people for complaining that successful people have it easy, even when they've had to work hard all their life to earn their wealth and acclaim.
- "Wrote My Way Out":
- The third verse's second line says the singer is "running out of time like Jonathan Larsen's RENT check," referencing the playwrights young death and the artistic acclaim of his life's work, Rent.
- The third verse's third line places the perspective character's creativity and ingenuity "where the wild things are" in reference to the story, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendack. In fact, Maurice Sendack is namedropped immediately after the reference just to drive the point further.
- "Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)" features two references to Star Wars, noting that America's current imperialism is the same as if "the British Empire strikes back" and also that true freedom is in a galaxy far away. The former references the film The Empire Strikes Back while the latter references the opening Star Wars setting in a galaxy far, far away.
- "Wrote My Way Out":
- Siamese Twin Songs: "An Open Letter" begins with the instrumental to "Wait For It" fading out as Watsky addresses John Adams before ripping into him.
- Society Is to Blame: "My Shot (Rise Up Remix)" opens by pointing out that black youth "end up robbin' somebody or killin'" because society treats that as inevitable; trying to defy society's stereotype by working as hard as he can throughout his life, with the same determination and ambition as Alexander Hamilton himself.
- "Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)" is an indictment of the current American political climate, the effects of racism, and the anti-immigrant movement.
- Softer and Slower Cover: "Dear Theodosia (Reprise)" is notably more somber than both the stage version of "Dear Theodosia" and the version performed by Regina Spektor earlier in the mixtape, which are sweet songs about dedicating yourself to a loved one. Not to say that the Reprise isn't just as sweet - Chance the Rapper reportedly specifically requested to do the song for the Mixtape, after seeing a performance of the show and being reminded of his relationship with his own daughter.
- Stutter Stop: Halfway through his part in "My Shot (Rise Up Remix)," Joell Ortiz begins stuttering and saying "um" before every word. After one line of doing that, he busts into his fastest, most boastful part with ease.
- Stylistic Suck: Jimmy Fallon's "You'll Be Back" opens with him intentionally exaggerating his breath for comic effect. As the song continues, he begins to sing more legitimately.
- Take That!: "Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)" is an extended "fuck you" to American anti-immigration sentiment - it was released the same week that Donald Trump was elected president as a deliberate move by Lin Manuel Miranda.
- Tick Tock Tune: The end of "Cabinet Battle #3" is accompanied by the sound of a clock being set, firmly establishing that it's only a matter of time before the issue of slavery erupts in American politics again.
- Villain Song: As opposed to "Say No To This," "Say Yes To This" is completely sung from Maria Reynolds's perspective, and there's no indication she has anything but the utmost confidence and self-reassurance as she tries to start an affair.
- A Wild Rapper Appears!: Ashanti's version of "Helpless" is exclusively sung by her until Ja Rule jumps in near the end of the sing to perform a rap as Alexander Hamilton, before Ashanti resumes and finishes her soulful ballad. A recursive reference, since Hamilton's verse on "Helpless" was partly inspired by Ja Rule's guest verses.
- What Could Have Been: Invoked by the very existence of this album. Many of the songs cut from Hamilton appear here, either sung by an artist or Miranda himself. They include:
- "An Open Letter": cut from "The Adams Administration", it's an extended version of Hamilton's letter to John Adams that famously ends with "Sit down, John, you fat motherfucker!" in the show.
- "Valley Forge": what eventually became "Stay Alive", it focuses more on the plights of the individual soldiers and their suffering through the winter of 1777 as opposed to the conflict between Washington and Lee on the battlefield.
- "Congratulations": a lengthened version of Angelica's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Hamilton in "The Reynolds Pamphlet".
- "Cabinet Battle 3": an unused Cabinet Battle where Washington, Jefferson, and Hamilton debate over slavery before ultimately deciding to leave it to the next generation of politicians to deal with.