Alexander Hamilton. I met him. If you look at his Wikipedia pages you may be wondering how did I meet Alexander Hamilton when he died in the 1800s? Firstly, anybody can write anything on Wikipedia. But also people do curate the pages for accuracy. So yes! It's true he did die in July 12, 1804. But it's also true that on September 1st, 2019 I did meet Alexander Hamilton. But not only that, I relived his life. How you might be thinking? Through the musical play "Hamilton". Inspired by the 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton by historian Ron Chernow. Writer Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote a musical that included music, lyrics, and a book. What's most significant about this play is that it is hip-hop. The play also incorporated other musical styles like R&B, pop, soul, traditional-style show tunes. But for the most part this was Hip-Hop's. This was for the culture. By the culture.
Another noticeable characteristic of Hamilton was the characters. They represented the culture. There was a culturally diverse representation of Blacks, Latins, and Asians. These were minorities front and center on the biggest stages that normally don't let minorities shine. Places where you were more likely to be the help than the actor/actress. And having this representation was pivotal and paid a major part in the importance that this musical succeed. I know Thomas Jefferson wan't black, but in that instance he was. And in this instance he was cool. As opposed to the dry, boring, figure that is portrayed in history books and History Channel movies. He had flavor. So did the other characters in the musical. Maybe that's why some of the stories in the history books don't stick is because we never saw ourselves in them. But in Hamilton we did!
This play was like no other version of history being told I've ever experienced. Many would say that it was because of Hip-hop. I agree. The play lasted a total of 2hrs and 25 mins with a 20 minute intermission. But without the uptempo spittin' used this play would've lasted over 4hrs. That's The Avengers time. Hip-Hop is what made this story seem more relateable. Of course it was a story of a white guy in the 1700s, so a minority had no slim to no chance of duplicating his success. But hip-hop helped tell the story in a way that made it seem like a kid in the hood right now could do the exact same thing. Hamilton was a kid from the slums that through the power of his words was able to rise above his situation and get a seat at the table. If that don't sound like Get Rich Or Die Tryin' I don't know what does. Not only that but also were the small things like the dances on Songs like "My Shot" incorporated Jim Jones "Ballin" jumper, or the "Bernie Dance". Also it was our talk and our words were being used. Right on a Broadway Musical. Some would say that since it was written for entertainment that there are some artistic liberties that were taken or even going as far as to say that it wasn't really as historically accurate. But in my opinion this isn't the first time someone re-wrote history. But J. Cole puts it more eloquently than I can in his song "Brackets".
Got us learning about the heroes with the whitest of skin
My biggest takeaway from the play was Legacy. Alexander Hamilton was obsessed with his legacy. There's a part in the play where his wife repeats "Why do you write like your writing out of time?". It's because he knew with his words that he could rewrite history. He could control not only the narrative, but his destiny. His LEGACY. And in some cases he was so adamant about being the one telling his story that he would do it before others could have the chance (especially with the Reynolds Affair). To sum it all up, this musical does a great job of showing the legacy of Alexander Hamilton. But even best thing that this play showed was that hip-hop can stand toe-to-toe with even the greatest musicals and make an impact that will last for generations.
I suggest anyone go see the play. Until then here's a sneak peek of the musical Hamilton: