Hamildrop: One Last Time (44 Remix)
“Everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree…”
In 2009, Lin-Manuel Miranda performed, during an evening of Poetry, Music & The Spoken Word at the White House, the first draft of his song My Shot for a new musical he had been working on based on the life of Alexander Hamilton. He introduced his idea to the crowd: "I’ve been working on a hip hop album...a concept album about the life of someone I think embodies hip hop...Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton.” The crowd chuckled, a bit confused even - among them President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Alexander Hamilton was an immigrant who eventually rose to become one of our Founding Fathers and George Washingtons right hand man.
He started rapping along to a piano beat and everyone - the President and First Lady included- were stunned. Now, years later, Hamilton is one of the biggest Broadway musicals to date and has evolved into a national treasure. A hip hop-style musical that embodies on of the most interesting Founding Fathers America had. The musical debuted on Broadway, then made it’s way to many major cities in the United States and even has it’s place in Victoria Palace Theatre in London. It has swept the world, really. In 2016 the original Hamilton cast -including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, and Anthony Ramos were invited back to the White House to perform the final version of My Shot that they had been performing on Broadway:
Imagine the feeling of being a young Puerto-Rican American man who rose from nothing, writing a rap about an eerily similar man in our history sharing his idea first at the White House, then being invited several times after to perform for the President, Vice President, and many other important heads of government. It’s no secret that the Obama Administration valued and placed huge importance on the arts - they watched Hamilton grow from a baby to what it is today - a powerful musical that grosses over $100 million a year. Lin-Manuel is no doubt glad he did not throw away his shot.
Shortly after its Broadway debut, Lin-Manuel dropped The Hamilton Mixtape which featured remixes of the original soundtrack alongside artists like John Legend, Kelly Clarkson, Nas, The Roots, Ashanti and Ja Rule, Regina Spektor, Alicia Keys, Jill Scott, Chance The Rapper, Common, and Andra Day among many. Between working on the movie Moana and the Mary Poppins Returns that just released, Lin-Manuel continues to put his love and energy into his baby - Hamilton.
In 2018, Lin-Manuel announced he would be putting out Hamildrops, new Hamilton content, every month. This months Hamildrop is by far the most goosebump inducing. When President Obama left office in 2016, the cast of Hamilton performed One Last Time in the White House commemorating the last days of his presidency by performing a song off of Hamilton about George Washingtons last days in office. This months Hamildrop was One Last Time (44 Remix) featuring none other than Barack Obama himself. From Lin-Manuel performing his first song in the White House to writing a song with Barack Obama on it is a wonderful, full circle moment. Obama's words in this remix are powerful and speak of a man who knows he has many faults and has never been too cowardly to admit them:
"Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration
I am unconscious of intentional error
I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects
Not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors
I shall also carry with me the hope
That my country will view them with indulgence
And that after forty-five years of my life
Dedicated to its service with an upright zeal
The faults of incompetent abilities
Will be consigned to oblivion
As I myself must soon be
To the mansions of rest
I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat
In which I promise myself to realize
The sweet enjoyment of partaking
In the midst of my fellow-citizens
The benign influence of good laws
Under a free government
The ever-favorite object of my heart
And the happy reward
As I trust
Of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers"
Personally, it took me a few days to build up the ability to listen to this song after I found out of it’s existence because I knew it would weigh heavy on my soul. Despite his errors and downfalls, Barack Obama is a great man. His ability to admit his flaws is respectable and his desire to bring us together, not further divide us, it what will surely make him go down in history as one of our greatest leaders and this song is an ode to that very idea.