For hip-hop fans who got into Hamilton a hot seven months ago when they heard a starry mixtape interpretation was on the way, today's a holiday. The project is up for pre-order tomorrow, and the tracklist's here, too.
Hamilton creator/songwriter/initial star Lin-Manuel Miranda has said the 11-time Tony-winning Broadway show's follow-up mixtape was "about turning to those rap gods and heroes and saying, ‘What in the show inspires you? Go make something.’" He promised a mix of original tunes and straight-up Hamilton covers and reworks.
Let's tarry not, fellow citizens; these are the six songs that fans of Hamilton, hip-hop, R&B and pop all need to get ready for, in hierarchical order.
1. "Dear Theodosia (Reprise)" by Chance the Rapper & Francis and The Lights
The young Chicago rap king and the up-and-coming singer/songwriter taking Auto-Tune to new heights made magic on Coloring Book and Farewell, Starlite! this year, largely due to their ease at tapping straight into our hearts. For The Hamilton Mixtape's finale, they're taking on one of the show's most viscerally tear-jerking songs, and following a take by the chemistry-vetted Ben Folds and Regina Spektor. Listen to the intimate grandeur of any Francis and the Lights track, or the perfection of any of Chance's mixtape-closers, and you'll get why this is our No. 1.
2. "Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)" by Snow tha Product, Riz MC, K’naan & Residente
Unless you were a fan of In the Heights or Daveed Diggs' rap group clipping., you probably got to know all of Hamilton's performers along with the show. So we're psyched one of the original tunes—inspired by one of the show's biggest crowd-pleasing one-liners—will embody that spirit of discovery. And it's no mistake this line became a song by these artists. K'naan is a versatile Somali-Canadian rapper/singer/poet. Riz MC is Riz Ahmed, the British-Pakistani actor from HBO's The Night Of and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, also half of the rap duo Swet Shop Boys, whose debut album Cashmere was recently gorgeously received. Snow tha Product is a Mexican-American rapper (and a Fuse favorite) who dropped her debut major label EP in June. Residente is a veteran hip-hop artist from Lin-Manuel Miranda's native Puerto Rico, also a co-founder of Calle 13.
So yeah, you get those four in a studio, channeling Hamilton's tale of a "bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean by providence, improverished, in squalor" who comes to America to help it win independence, shape its government and become its first Secretary of the Treasury.
3. "Satisfied" by Sia feat. Miguel & Queen Latifah
"Satisfied" is the best song in the show, and we're glad they turned to three all-time powerful voices to compete with Renee Elise Goldsberry's once-in-a-lifetime performance.
4. "Wrote My Way Out" by Nas, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Dave East & Aloe Blacc
Of Lin-Manuel's three contributions to The Hamilton Mixtape, this is the one we're most pumped about. We know he worships Nas; upon meeting him backstage at the Richard Rodgers Theater, he gave the Queens MC his personal copy of Ron Chernow's Hamilton biography, the one that inspired him to write the show. So there's that, there's the fact it's an original track, and there's the promise that it'll be bolstered by Aloe Blacc's steadfast pipes and some bars by Nas' progidy and label signee Dave East.
5. "My Shot (Rise Up Remix)" by The Roots feat. Busta Rhymes, Joell Ortiz & Nate Ruess
The Roots—and Questlove in particular—have hovered close to Hamilton, with the drummer executive-producing the newly double-platinum original cast album and being part of the mixtape since day one. The fact the band will build a framework based on one of the most intricate rap performances of the show, for Busta damned Rhymes to spit on, has us ready to sleep until this thing's ready to hear. Add Slaughterhouse's Joell Ortiz and the X factor of fun. frontman Nate Ruess and who knows what we're getting in the end.
6. "Slavery Battle (Demo)" by Lin-Manuel Miranda
The presidential cabinet rap battles between Alexander Hamilton and Daveed Diggs' Thomas Jefferson are two of the most idiosyncratic moments of the musical's 2.5-hour running time. So to finally get a recording of the third one, the one that never made the cut, is major. "It was enormously cathartic to write," Miranda once reflected, "because you write about these men who wrote great things but also had this other legacy lived within the system that was horrible and abusive. It just brought the show to a screeching halt."
7. "Wait For It" by Usher
It looks like a big part of The Hamilton Mixtape will be legends we know covering songs that were expertly performed in the first place. We're pretty much equally excited for "That Would Be Enough" by Alicia Keys, "Dear Theodosia" by Regina Spektor featuring Ben Folds, "Helpless" by Ashanti featuring Ja Rule (ahem), "Say Yes to This" by Jill Scott, "Burn" by Andra Day and "History Has Its Eyes On You" by John Legend—but "Wait for It" might be the frontrunner to ascend to a life of its own. The song has arguably the most value as a standalone ballad that can be enjoyed (at least for its first two thirds) as a track that has nothing to do with the biggest Broadway show in ages. Leslie Odom Jr.'s Aaron Burr vocal is fundamentally unbeatable, but we want to hear if Usher can put the type of spin on this that could get it played on the radio.
The Hamilton Mixtape goes up for pre-order on Nov. 4. Here's the complete tracklist:
1. "No John Trumbull (Intro) – The Roots
2. "My Shot (Rise Up Remix)" – The Roots feat. Busta Rhymes, Joell Ortiz & Nate Ruess
3. "Wrote My Way Out" – Nas, Dave East, Lin-Manuel Miranda & Aloe Blacc
4. "Wait For It" – Usher
5. "An Open Letter (Interlude)" – Watsky feat. Shockwave
6. "Satisfied" – Sia feat. Miguel & Queen Latifah
7. "Dear Theodosia" – Regina Spektor feat. Ben Folds
8. "Valley Forge (Demo)" – Lin-Manuel Miranda
9. "It’s Quiet Uptown" – Kelly Clarkson
10. "That Would Be Enough" – Alicia Keys
11. "Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)" – K’naan, Snow Tha Product, Riz MC, Residente
12. "You’ll Be Back" – Jimmy Fallon & The Roots
13. "Helpless" – Ashanti feat. Ja Rule
14. "Take A Break (Interlude)" – !llmind
15. "Say Yes To This" – Jill Scott
16. "Congratulations" – Dessa
17. "Burn" – Andra Day
18. "Stay Alive (Interlude)" – J.PERIOD & Stro Elliot
19. "Slavery Battle (Demo)" – Lin-Manuel Miranda
20. "Washington's By Your Side" – Wiz Khalifa
21. "History Has Its Eyes On You" – John Legend
22. "Who Tells Your Story" – The Roots feat. Common & Ingrid Michaelson
23. "Dear Theodosia (Reprise)" – Chance The Rapper & Francis and The Lights
Next, watch Fuse's Future Hispanic History Month tribute to Lin-Manuel Miranda: