Here's Every NYC Reference on the 'Hamilton' Soundtrack
Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast of Hamilton
Photo by Joan Marcus
The soundtrack to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical phenomenon, Hamilton, transports listeners straight to the velvet-upholstered seats of Broadway, where the smash musical has set up shop following its initial run at the Public Theater earlier this year. NPR started streaming the Hamilton soundtrack in its entirety this morning, and subsequently, the hashtag #Hamiltunes emerged as a trending topic on Twitter in New York.
Executive-produced by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson and Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter of the Roots, Hamilton is chock-full of New York City references — and rightfully so. In a conversation with the Voice, Daveed Diggs — who plays the Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in the musical — referred to the street in the city named for his character; Miranda has gone on record numerous times to say that Busta Rhymes and Rakim, two NYC-bred hip-hop legends themselves, inspired the musical's lyrical play and character development. Beyond the musical connections between Hamilton and the city in which it's set, there's the figure of Alexander Hamilton himself, who — in addition to being one of our country’s Founding Fathers — made several impactful contributions to the state of New York, where he studied, served in the assembly, founded the New York Post, and established a bank. Hamilton is buried at the Trinity Church Cemetery in downtown Manhattan, but Hamilton's lines keep his legacy alive.
Song: “Alexander Hamilton”
Lyric: “Planning for the future, see it now with his hands/On the bow of a ship, heading for a new land/In New York, you can be a new man/In New York, you can be a new man (Just you wait)/In New York, you can be a new man"
Song: “Aaron Burr, Sir”
Lyric: “What time is it? Showtime!” (Yes, they sound just like the guys about to bust a move on the B train.)
Song: “My Shot”
Lyrics: "I'm-a get a scholarship to King's College/I probably shouldn't brag, but dag, I'm amazed, I'm astonished/The problem is I got a lot of brains but no polish”
“Only nineteen, but my mind is older/These New York City streets get colder, I shoulder every word and every disadvantage/I’ve learned to manage, I don’t have a gun to brandish/I walk these streets famished”
Song: “The Schuyler Sisters”
Lyrics: “There’s nothing rich folk love more/Than going downtown in their carriages to watch the poor....Daddy said not to go downtown, like I said, you’re free to go/But look around, look around, the Revolution is happening in New York (New York)”
“There’s nothing like summer in the city, someone in a rush, someone lookin’ pretty”
“History is happening in Manhattan, and we just happen to be in the greatest city in the world (the greatest city in the world)”
Song: “Right Hand Man”
Lyric: "We put a stop to the bleeding as the British take Brooklyn....Sha-boom goes the cannon, watch the blood and the bullets spray/Boom goes the cannon, we’re abandoning Kips Bay/Boom, there’s another ship/Boom, we just lost a sub and tip/We gotta go to Harlem quick, we can’t afford another slip”
"Are these the men, with which I am to defend America?/We ride in thin night with Manhattan in the distance/I cannot be everywhere at once, people/I am in dire need of assistance”
Song: “A Winter’s Ball”
“No stress, my love for you is never in doubt/We’ll get a little place in Harlem and we’ll figure it out"
Lyric: “I’m the oldest and the wittiest and the gossip in New York City is insidious/And Alexander is penniless/That doesn’t mean I want him any less"
Song: “Stay Alive”
Lyric: “I’ll go back to New York and my apprenticeship/I ask for French aid, I pray that France has sent a ship”
Song: “Ten Duel Commandments”
Lyric: It's less about the lyrics, here, and more about the direct nod to "Ten Crack Commandments" by the Notorious B.I.G.
Song: “Non Stop”
Lyric: “After the war, I went back to New York/After the war, I went back to New York/I finished up my studies and I practiced law”
Song: “What’d I Miss”
Lyric: “I just got home and now I’m headed up to New York....Looking at the rolling fields I can’t believe that we are free, ready to face whatever’s awaiting me in N-Y-C”
Song: "Cabinet Battle #1"
Lyric: A callback to "My Shot" from Act I: “Only nineteen, but my mind is older/These New York City streets get colder, I shoulder every word and every disadvantage/I’ve learned to manage, I don’t have a gun to brandish/I walk these streets famished”
Song: “Schuyler Defeated”
Lyric: “Further down, further down, let’s meet the newest senator from New York (New York), Senator Burr”
Song: “The Adams Administration”
Lyric: “How does Hamilton, the short-tempered prurient creator of the Coast Guard/Founder of the New York Post/Ardently abuse his cap and post/Destroy his reputation/Welcome, folks, to the Adams administration”
Song: “It’s Quiet Uptown”
Lyrics: “Eliza, don’t you like it uptown?/It’s quiet uptown”
"Look around, look around, he’s trying to do the unimaginable/See them walking in the park, long after dark/Taking in the sights of the city”
Song: “The Election of 1800”
Lyric: “He’s very attractive in the North, New Yorkers like his chances/He’s not very forthcoming on any particular stances”
Song: “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story”
Lyrics: “I rely on Angelica, while she’s alive we tell your story/She is buried in Trinity Church near you, when I needed her most, she was right on time”
“Can I show you what I am most proud of? (The orphanage)/I established the first private orphanage in New York City”
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.