Of the myriad of high-profile projects Lin-Manuel Miranda’s spearheaded in the wake of Hamilton’s otherworldly success — including, most recently, a truly cringeworthy American Express commercial — one of the most consistent and prolific, yet unheralded, remains his Hamildrop series.
What began as a spinoff mixtape featuring remixes of Hamilton songs and tracks inspired by the show has transformed into a (mostly-quasi) monthly tradition of dropping new releases along a similar vein, two of which can be found on my ever-expanding SHOOT IT STRAIGHT INTO MY FUCKING VEINS List, an uber-prestigious accomplishment designating them as some of the year’s best tunes.
Much like how Hamilton introduced theatre geeks to the wonderful world of hip-hop, shedding the form of its ignorant stereotypes perpetuated by White America blindly believing the hype over, you know, actually listening to the actual music, the Hamildrop series continues this progressive movement. Though most offerings have come from familiar faces and places, every so often Lin signal-boosts a diamond in the rough. Even somewhat informed listeners to popular music (like yours truly) can discover someone new thanks to Lin, as was the case for me with this week’s:
Who’s Ibeyi, and how have I never heard that luscious voice before?!
All of this is great and all, but one question still lingers: will Disney, and their unlimited coffers (AKA paychecks) ever let Lin come back to Broadway?
The inevitable expectations will be a high bar to clear, as past examples evince. Tony Kushner’s written plays since Angels in America, but none made it to Broadway; instead, he’s found more acclaim, and moolah, on the big screen. Mel Brooks followed the stage version of The Producers with…Young Frankenstein — yikes. And then there’s the emotional breakdown Quentin Tarantino suffered during Jackie Brown, his Pulp Fiction follow-up.
If Lin wants to be THE 21st century ambassador of live theatre — it’s been a while since we’ve had one of those, someone who broke onto the national scene through the stage aloe — spreading his contagious love as far as his voice can be heard, a role he seems born to fill, then he still needs to, you know, actually write for the stage. It’s great that he keeps supporting his theatrical peers, and no one’s asking him to forsake his aspirations to become a multi-dimensional renaissance man…as long as he doesn’t permanently forsake us, his artistic roots.
In any case, at least he’s using his newfound clout during this interim period not only to greenlight his own passion projects, also but to aid in the rise of other shooting stars.