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Hamilton is chock full of allusions to hip-hop, musical theatre, literature, you name it - both in its texts and its music.

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  • Lin-Manuel Miranda has confirmed that the structure of the show (an ideological clash between a narrator antagonist and a tragic protagonist, who are initially friends but then drift apart) was inspired by Jesus Christ Superstar and its Judas/Jesus dynamic.
  • Many songs either paraphrase or quote verbatim real-life documents, letters and pamphlets - most prominently "Farmer Refuted", "Right-Hand Man", "One Last Time" (Washington's Farewell Address), "The Reynolds Pamphlet", and "Your Obedient Servant".
  • Jefferson is decked out in a purple/magenta coat meant to evoke Prince.

     "Alexander Hamilton" 
  • The repeated chorus of "New York, New York!" (in "Alexander Hamilton" and, later, "The Schuyler Sisters") is reminiscent of several other odes about the city, notably "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys.
  • "America sings for you" is a possible nod to "I Hear America Singing", one of the poems from Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass.

     "Aaron Burr (Sir)" 

  • Lafayette, Mulligan, and Laurens introduce themselves with "What time is it? SHOWTIME!" - the way breakdancers on the NYC subway do.
  • Lafayette self-identifies with Lancelot, and his introductory lines bring to mind Lancelot's "C'est Moi" from Camelot.
  • Mulligan's "Brrrrah! Brrrah!" is a mimicry of the sound of a rapidly firing gun - very common for hip-hop songs.

     "My Shot" 

  • The refrain borrows lyrically from Eminem's "Lose Yourself", whereas the motif accompanying it is a classic snare drum “double bounce” rhythm that would have been a soldier’s call to arms during the Colonial and Revolutionary times.
  • "I gotta holler just to be heard" is a reference to Tupac Shakur’s “Holler If Ya Hear Me”.
  • Word of God confirms that Hamilton's "I'm a diamond in the rough" is a nod to Aladdin.
  • "Only 19, but my mind is old(er)" is a quote from Mobb Deep's "Shook Ones Pt II". It can also, probably unintentionally, call to mind a line from RENT ("I'm 19, but old for my age...")
  • The way Hamilton spells out his name is a reference to how The Notorious B.I.G. does the same thing in "Going Back to Cali".
  • Laurens's “on a stallion / with the first black battalion” echoes Juvenile’s “400 Degreez” with its line of “or retalion / all fine young black females stallions”.
  • "You've got to be carefully taught" is a reference to the song by the same name from South Pacific.
  • Hamilton draws parallels between his countrymen's current situation and Moses leading the slaves out of Egypt.
  • "This is not a moment / it's a movement" is a phrase associated with the Black Lives Matter movement.

     "The Schuyler Sisters" 

  • Musically, the song is similar to the sound of Destiny's Child.
  • In subject and delivery, Burr's opening lines are similar to parts of "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, whereas his meeting with the Schuyler sisters (which is echoed in "Say No to This") is a nod to The Lovin' Spoonful's "Summer in the City".
  • The phrase "Looking for a mind at work" is borrowed from The West Wing, of which Miranda is a fan.
  • "Excuse me, miss" brings to mind a slew of pick-up songs, including JayZ’s “Excuse Me Miss” and Chris Brown’s “Yo (Excuse me Miss)”.
  • Angelica mentions reading Common Sense by Thomas Paine, and quotes the Declaration of Independence.
  • Angelica's intonation on the word "insane" is reminiscent of Nicki Minaj’s verse on Kanye West’s “Monster”.

     "Right-Hand Man" 

  • Washington's introduction quotes from "Modern Major-General’s Song" (Pirates of Penzance), albeit with some of the lyrics modified, and with a completely different meaning than Gilbert and Sullivan used.
  • The bass line in the track (later also used in "The Reynolds Pamphlet") is influenced by Eminem's "Lose Yourself".

     "A Winter's Ball" 

  • Hamilton is described as "seated at the right hand of the Father" (i.e. Washington) - a quote from The Bible referencing Jesus's ascension.
  • The way Hamilton and his friends say "Laaaadies!" at the ball has a similar cadence to the Kurtis Blow sample used by the Beastie Boys in "Hey Ladies".


  • In rhythm, music and lyrics, the song is a love letter to Beyoncé's "Countdown".
  • "My heart went boom" is a quote from the thematically similar "I Saw Her Standing There".
  • Hamilton growls some of his lines in a manner reminiscent of Ja Rule in his various duets. (Confirmed by Word of God to be intentional.)
  • Several bars of "The Bridal Chorus" are sampled at the end of the track.

  • In "Satisfied", Angelica compares her instant connection with Hamilton to Ben Franklin's Key Experiment.
  • The Hamiltome describes a line in "Satisfied" ("At least my dear Eliza's his wife/at least I keep his eyes in my life") as "trying to out-Eponine Eponine", referring to the Les Misérables character noted for her ballad of unrequited love. That phrasing is extra meaningful/hilarious when you remember it's a (likely deliberate) takeoff on a line from Hamlet.

     "Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)" 

  • The song references “the American experiment”, a phase originally coined by Alexis de Tocqueville in his Democracy in America. (The reference pops up again later in "What'd I Miss?")
  • The way Hamilton tells the other soldiers "Through the night, we have one shot to live another day" is similar to a line from the chorus of "Lose Yourself" ("You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow"). Another part sounds a bit like "The Real Slim Shady."
  • Several lines from "The World Turned Upside Down" (a British drinking song sung by the defeated party during their retreat from Yorktown) are utilized.
  • "We're in the shit now and somebody's gotta shovel it", said by Hercules Mulligan, might be a sneaky reference to the mythological Hercules, who was once tasked with cleaning out an extremely filthy stable in a single day.

    Other Act I songs 

  • All three King George numbers are quite beatlesque, borrowing from the melodies of "Penny Lane", "With a Little Help From My Friends," "Getting Better" and "For the Benefit of Mr Kite".
  • In the original cast recording, the way Jonathan Groff intones "Everybody!" at the end of "You'll be Back" is meant to imitate John Lennon in "All You Need Is Love."
  • King George alludes to the Boston Tea Party in "You'll Be Back".
  • "The Story of Tonight" is thematically reminiscent of "Drink With Me" from Les Misérables, in which the Les Amis d'ABC sing an ode to their friendship before their rebellion.
  • The reprise playing when Laurens dies brings Les Misérables's "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" to mind, with "Tomorrow there'll be more of us" being answered by "But tomorrow never came."
  • In "Stay Alive", Hamilton makes a pun based on "Sing a song of Sixpence", a popular British nursery rhyme.
  • "Ten Duel Commandments" is one giant reference to The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Ten Crack Commandments".
  • In "Meet Me Inside", the repeated "meet him inside, meet him inside" brings to mind the similarly repeated "meet me outside, meet me outside" in DMX’s “Party Up In Here.”
  • "Come home at the end of the day" is a reference to The West Wing (see also "The Schuyler Sisters", above).
  • A verse of Hamilton's in "Non-Stop" is a clear homage to Inspectah Deck’s lines in Wu-Tang’s “Triumph”: "I bomb atomically, Socrates' philosophies and hypotheses / Can’t define how I be dropping these mockeries".
  • There is a moment in "Non Stop" when Hamilton is writing the Federalist Papers where staging of the scene, with several members of the ensemble holding a tabletop for Hamilton to write on and peering over it to see what he’s writing, recalls the late-19th-century painting “Cossacks of Saporog Are Drafting a Manifesto” by Russian artist Ilya Repin.
  • The cut song "Valley Forge," which was included where "Stay Alive" is in the finished show, features the line, "I've seen the best minds of my generation/Waste away on pestilence and starvation" - a clear reference to Allen Ginsberg's Howl.

     "The Room Where It Happens" 

  • The title alludes again to The West Wing; in '20 Hours in America (Part 2)', Sam refers to his day staffing the President in the Oval Office, saying, "I've got to get back in there. That's where it's happening."
  • The lines "No one really knows how the game is played / The art of the trade / How the sausage gets made" could also be an allusion to The West Wing; in "Five Votes Down" Leo comments, "There are two things in the world you never want to let people see how you make 'em - laws and sausages." It is a quote often attributed to Otto von Bismarck (although most likely uttered first by John Godfrey Saxe).
  • Hamilton quotes the theologian St Augustine when he says "Hate the sin, love the sinner".
  • The line "two Virginians and an immigrant walk into a room" is styled after a popular "walk into a bar" type of joke.
  • "In God we trust" is, of course, the motto of the United States.
  • "Dark as a tomb where it happens" is a reference to the Resurrection of Jesus.
  • The line "click boom and it happens" is clearly a reference to, of all things, Click Click Boom by Saliva.

     "Take a Break" 
  • In "Take a Break", Hamilton and Angelica both quote from Macbeth, and Hamilton draws parallels between the play and his life. For those who know what saying that name in a theater entails, it’s no surprise when everything after this gets worse and worse for Hamilton.
  • Angelica's lines in "Take a Break:" "I noticed a comma in the middle of a phrase/It changed the meaning. Did you intend this?" reference The West Wing, which discusses a comma or a "smudge of justice" noticed by Toby that Constitutional scholars acknowledge can change the meaning of the Takings Clause in the 5th Amendment.
  • Those same lines also reference an mistake Angelica made in a real-life letter to Hamilton: writing "My dear, sir" instead of "My dear sir." (Hamilton made a joke of this by opening his next letter with "my dear sœur." note )

     "One Last Time" 

  • Washington quotes from the Hebrew Scriptures: "Everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree / And no one shall make them afraid."
  • The intertwining of Hamilton speaking and Washington singing the latter's Farewell Address is a grab from ​’s “Yes We Can”, created in support of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008.

     "Your Obedient Servant" 

  • The melody during Burr's "I look back on where I failed" is a confirmed homage to Javert's "I am reaching, but I fall".
  • "An itemized list of 30 years of disagreements" is a nod to Parks and Recreation.

     Other Act II songs 

  • In Ham 4 Ham, the Cabinet Battle #1 was redone as a Walk and Talk... in the White House.
  • The end of "Say No To This" musically evokes The Last Five Years' "Nobody Needs To Know", another song about infidelity, at the same time as Hamilton quotes the song's title.
  • Jefferson's "Such a blunder/Sometimes it makes me wonder/Why I even bring the thunder" in "Cabinet Battle #1" parallels the hook of "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five: "It's like a jungle/Sometimes it makes me wonder/How I keep from going under."
  • In "Cabinet Battle #2", Jefferson is paraphrasing the refrain from “Juicy” by Notorious B.I.G. when he says: "And if you don't know, now you know, Mr President".
  • In "We Know", "Unless..." is a reference to My Brother, My Brother and Me, where the brothers often use it to add a twist a goof.
  • In "The Adams Administration", "Sit down, John, you fat motherf—" is one to the opening number of 1776, in tune as well as words (at least until Hamilton goes off-script and starts shouting profanities). The latter part is also a nod to the beginning quote of Tupac Shakur's "Hit 'Em Up".
  • The cut line "They were callin' you a dick back in '76" is also supposed to be a 1776 reference.
  • A part of "Washington on your Side" revolves around the phrase "Follow the money" from All the President's Men.
  • One of the last sung lines in "The Reynolds Pamphlet" is Autotuned, a supposed Shout-Out to Kanye West.
  • Angelica compares Hamilton to Icarus in "Burn".
  • In "The Election of 1800" Burr is described as someone you could have a beer with, while Jefferson was an elitist "in love with France". These were descriptions of the candidates for the 2004 election, George W. Bush and John Kerry.

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