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History

History Alive



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The Broadway sensation Hamilton breathes life back into a slice of American history. By telling the story of a Founding Father in rap form, Lin Manual Miranda transformed a dry page of textbook into a narrative of universal appeal. The quick beats and steady rhythms make Alexander Hamilton feel real to us, relatable in today’s world: his struggles our struggles. And the reaction to this immigrant narrative? Whole-hearted enthusiasm! From high school students to history buffs, thousands of listeners (and lucky audience members) have swooned over Miranda’s hip-hop masterpiece.
 
In this first number, notice how the cast introduces the historical context, all without compromising rhythm. (You can also listen to the piece here, and see the cast perform it here. )
 
[AARON BURR]
How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a
Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten
Spot in the Caribbean by Providence, impoverished, in squalor
Grow up to be a hero and a scholar?

[JOHN LAURENS]
The ten-dollar Founding Father without a father
Got a lot farther by workin’ a lot harder
By bein’ a lot smarter
By bein’ a self-starter
By fourteen, they placed him in charge of a trading charter

[THOMAS JEFFERSON]
And every day while slaves were being slaughtered and carted
Away across the waves, he struggled and kept his guard up
Inside, he was longing for something to be a part of
The brother was ready to beg, steal, borrow, or barter

[JAMES MADISON]
Then a hurricane came, and devastation reigned
Our man saw his future drip, drippin’ down the drain
Put a pencil to his temple, connected it to his brain
And he wrote his first refrain, a testament to his pain

[BURR]
Well the word got around, they said, “This kid is insane, man!”
Took up a collection just to send him to the mainland
“Get your education, don’t forget from whence you came, and
The world’s gonna know your name! What’s your name, man?"

[ALEXANDER HAMILTON]
Alexander Hamilton
My name is Alexander Hamilton
And there’s a million things I haven’t done
But just you wait, just you wait…
 
It’s your turn, dear writers. This week, write about an historical event or character in rap form. Lilly.VB, Grace Mary Potts, and Hanan Adi show us how it's done!