Did you catch Hamilton: An American Musical on Disney+ last night? If you loved (finally!) seeing the groundbreaking musical that stars and was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, you might still be humming the songs, and wanting more of that history-lesson amazingness. We get it! And if you haven’t seen it yet but are still planning to stream it this weekend — consider this a fun pre-viewing primer.
Hamilton: An American Musical changed musical theater as we know it. It received a record-setting 16 Tony nominations and won 11, including Best Musical. And ever since it hit Broadway, it garnered a major cult following — from those who’ve either watched the show or listened to the soundtrack in its entirety on Spotify. I mean, Miranda has George Washington rapping fire bars — no wonder this musical has become a classic.
The tracks on Hamilton, although delightfully modern and wide in musical range, require some careful analyzing, though. I’ll admit, some of the lyrics went right over my head — it helps to have a quick and dirty guide to all the historical references and names.
Luckily, most of the lyrics of the Hamilton album have been explained by Lin-Manuel Miranda himself. So we’ve broken down a couple of fan-favorite songs and revealed some history lesson gems hidden in the lyrics. Keep reading (and rapping!) so you don’t miss a thing.
A version of this story first appeared in November 2016.