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Hamilton: Remixing the Old School for a New Audience

 

Hip Hop’s History of Remixing

Sampling and remixing from your forefathers has been a part of hip hop culture from day one. Bob and Earl’s opening horns to Harlem Shuffle were used as House of Pain’s opening to Jump Around. Funkadelic’s (Not Just) Knee Deep was heavily sampled by De La Soul’s breakout hit Me, Myself and I. Snoop Dogg’s What’s my name? practically sampled every bit of George Clinton’s Atomic Dog (bow-wow-wow-yippee-yo-yippee-yay). The Fugees biggest hits used hip hop to reinterpret old classics Killing Me Softly by Roberta Flack and Ready or Not, Here I Come by the Delfonics. Their reinterpretations shined a spotlight on their inspirations for a new audience to appreciate.

Funkadelic - Uncle Jam Wants You (1979) #warnerbros #funkadelic #parliament #sampled #delasoul #funk #disco #platforms #shades #style #fonk #wicker #wickerchair #georgeclinton #kneedeep #bernieworrell #bootsy #junimorrison #parlet

 

Enter Hamilton…

Hamilton is a Broadway musical that takes a very old school tale and spins it with a hip hop beat to update the story for today’s audience. When you think of United States historical figures like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and John Quincy Adams, you probably think of a bunch of white dudes with puffy pants, powdered wigs and a 1 percent attitude — a strange and distant past that doesn’t seem too appealing to visit. The Broadway musical Hamilton takes this impression and turns it on its head.

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Remixing A Book Into A Musical

In 2004, Ron Chernow published a book titled Alexander Hamilton, about the historic U.S. forefather. It was an acclaimed best-seller that captured the drama of Hamilton’s life and presented it in a novel-like readable manner. The book wasn’t just engaging to readers, it was also historically accurate. This book ended up being the inspiration for Lin-Manuel Miranda to pen the Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway musical Hamilton.

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In this lesson, learn about how Hamilton pays homage to classic rap, celebrates diversity and provides a compelling narrative to tell the story of a white dude with puffy pants, which is entirely historically accurate. Then try your hand at creating the next unconventional blockbuster, relating history from your point of view.

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The RLL Podcast: Ep. 4 – Learning Prince and Deconstructing Genius with Jason King and Terrance Thomas

 

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This was the definitive music episode of the RLL Podcast. We nerd out with music experts Jason King and Terrance Thomas to discuss Prince and what students can learn from his legacy. Prince’s genius is deconstructed and we explore whether Kanye, Bieber or Hamilton’s Lin Manuel fit the mold. Beyonce got us slow sippin’ Lemonade and we look for hints of vulnerability and self-expression or plain old marketing genius. And what has Hamilton taught us about history, theatre culture and masculinity? Jason King is a musician, journalist, radio host and professor at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU. Terrance Thomas provides creative direction and artist development for many recording artists today and lived a former life performing on Broadway and in theatres around the country.

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Ep. 4 – Show Notes:

Check out all of the great work mentioned in this episode:

Prince Was a Genius No Matter How you Define It – Vice Magazine by Jason King

Jason King organizes panel on Prince at NYU featuring Questlove, Spike Lee, Kimbra, Anthony Hamilton and others.

NuSkool x HOT 97 Summer Jam Essay Contest

Examining Beyonce Compared to the most Powerful Women in History

Terrance Thomas – @ITerryTommy

Jason King – @JasonKingSays

Jason King’s band – The Company Freak