Listening Room columnist
You may know Lin-Manuel Miranda from his Grammy- and Tony-winning hip-hop musical “In the Heights” that he conceived, wrote and starred in. But that’s not his only gig.
Miranda also is a regular on the PBS revival of the 1971 show “The Electric Company” where he teaches grammar through rap, performs with an improvisational rap group he founded called “FreeStyle Love Supreme”, starred in “The Sopranos” (as a Latin bellboy), and appeared on the season premier of “House” (playing a mental patient who -you guessed it- has a passion for rap,) and college humor.
The thing that makes Miranda so special as a rapper is how intelligent and well thought out his flows are. He recently premiered a track from the album he is working on entitled “The Hamilton Mixtape.” It is a concept album and quasi-biography of someone who Miranda says “embodies hip-hop:” Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton.
The claim may seem odd, however Mr. Hamilton was born out of wedlock in the British West Indies. His father abandoned the family and his mother died so he moved in with a cousin – who then committed suicide. That’s only his life until he was 10. The press tour for the album included an appearance at the White House’s “An Evening of Poetry, Music and the Spoken Word.”
He performed the first song of the album, where he speaks as if he were Vice President Aaron Burr. In it Miranda raps “The ten dollar Founding Father without a father got a lot farther by working a lot harder by being a self starter, by 14 they had placed him in charge of the trade and charter.” Not many modern rappers would have rhymed “Father” with “Trade and Charter.”
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Freestyle Love Supreme is coming to Gramercy Theater on August 5th. Tickets are $17.
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