Hip-Hop-Friday, SmallIn the spirit of giving experiences rather than clutter-producing things, my best-ever-husband (who also happens to be an 18th century scholar) surprised me yesterday with a combined Christmas/birthday gift of tickets to Hamilton. We will see the play in April, which gives me plenty of time to listen to the soundtrack 100 more times and perhaps even finish the Chernow biography of Hamilton, which I am greatly enjoying so far.

In the meantime, I am biding my time (see also Wait for It: 10 Ways to Wait for Hamilton) with videos such as this first public performance by Miranda of the musical’s opening number, “Hamilton.” He debuted the piece at the 2009 White House Poetry Jam, describing a hip-hop concept album he was working on about someone who “embodies hip-hop” and “the word’s ability to make a difference”: Alexander Hamilton. (A side note for all creatives out there: At the time of this performance, Miranda had already been working on the song for a year. Think about the time, patience, inner belief, and persistence it took to take this project from idea to fruition.)

The following performance shows why hip-hop and spoken word poetry are such gifts to word and story geeks (and, in this case, history nerds):

In the video below, Lin-Manuel Miranda talks to Mo Rocca on CBS Sunday Morning of his choice of the piece for the Poetry Jam: “If the White House calls you to perform something, and you’ve got a good 16 bars on Alexander Hamilton in your pocket, you’ve got to do it. You’ve got to step up and do it.”