Hamildrop Hamilton
Hamildrop Hamilton

Hamilton’s Legacy Lives On Through ‘Hamildrops’

Lin-Manuel Miranda reinvents Hamilton content through creative collaborations, most recently releasing a version of 'Helpless' performed by punk rock band The Regrettes.
June 1, 2018
6 mins read

Verses on verses of witty rap lyrics, mixed with soaring belts, sultry smooth vocals and a spectacle of hip-hop style dancing, all combined to create a Broadway musical that will go down in history for its innovative portrayal of how an immigrant rose to the top, relentlessly shaping our nation for the better.

Hamilton,” the story of founding father Alexander Hamilton, was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose ability to fuse genres from hip-hop to R&B to musical theater brought the musical to new levels, larger audiences and stardom. Featuring an immensely talented and diverse cast, it tells the tale of our country’s construction for a new generation.

Despite making its Broadway debut three years ago, the hype around “Hamilton” has persisted to this day, prompting Miranda to further its legacy, even giving other artists the opportunity to put themselves into the narrative of “Hamilton’s” success.

In December 2016, the “Hamilton Mixtape was released — it showcases a star-studded variety of artists performing remixed versions of the “Hamilton” Broadway soundtrack.

From Kelly Clarkson’s emotionally charged vocals on the ballad “It’s Quiet Uptown” to the iconic collaboration between K’naan, Snow tha Product, Riz MC and Residente on “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done),” the “Hamilton Mixtape” was able to redeliver the story of Hamilton through yet another unique, modern take.

Recently, Miranda has taken on the project of reinventing the “Hamilton” soundtrack in another fashion: Hamildrops. For the entire year of 2018, new Hamilton-related content will be released every month, keeping fans on the edge of their seats, eager to hear the effortlessly creative tracks as they drop.

And so far, Miranda has delivered, transforming his songs to create not only new music but also new meaning. For March’s Hamildrop, he enlisted Ben Platt, a lead member of the “Dear Evan Hansen” original Broadway cast, to record a mash-up titled “Found Tonight, combining the song “You Will Be Found” from the “Dear Evan Hansen soundtrack and the record “The Story of Tonight” from the “Hamilton” soundtrack.

A portion of the proceeds from this heartfelt, empowering track was donated to the March For Our Lives initiative. Platt and Miranda even performed “Found Tonight” at the rally, spreading the song’s message of hope and a better future.

Hamildrops Lin Manuel Miranda Ben Platt
Lin-Manuel Miranda (left) and Ben Platt (right) perform “Found/Tonight” at the March For Our Lives rally. (Image via Just Jared)

Another Hamildrop, “First Burn, featured five different women who all play or have played the role of Eliza Hamilton in various productions of “Hamilton,” joining forces to sing Miranda’s first draft of Eliza’s famous ballad, “Burn.”

This track is laced with sultry, raw, heart-wrenching harmonies as the female powerhouses detail the heartbreak Eliza Schuyler felt when she found out her husband (Hamilton) had been sleeping with another woman. “First Burn” is grittier than the version that made it onto the Broadway soundtrack, this added spice portraying another layer of Eliza’s emotions.

The newest addition in the Hamildrops saga released just one day ago: “Helpless,” headlining The Regrettes, as they transform the bouncy, love song Eliza Schuyler sings about Hamilton into a punk rock jam.

The feisty electric guitar riffs and up-tempo beat of a drum set, really draw out the full, rock band feeling. Frontwoman Lydia Night’s classic punk, raspy vocals are a stark contrast to original singer Phillipa Soo’s smooth songbird voice, providing a novel, spunky twist on the original track.

Even though she is expressing the same feelings, the Eliza who would sing The Regrettes’ version, however, sounds like a completely different character. It’s almost as if the 19th century, sweet and proper Eliza was transported in time to the early 2000s, now capturing more of an angsty, passionate Avril Lavigne vibe.

Miranda’s Hamildrops help him keep the story of Hamilton alive and thriving. They portray the tale through new lenses, uncover new meanings and enthrall audiences, leaving fans always ready for more.

Maya Ramani, University of Virginia

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Maya Ramani

University of Virginia

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