A famous rapper once said, “If ya don’t know, now ya know.” (If you didn’t know that was the NOTORIOUS B.I.G., shame on you!). The website Genius (formerly known as Rap Genius) has made waves for being one of the leading websites in decoding lyrics for just about any song (though I’m still having trouble with determining if Lloyd is saying ” 5’2 ” or “fine too”). What makes the site that much cooler is that it allows users to annotate lyrics which helps decode the meaning or provide context for a certain line. In fact, Lin-Manuel Miranda set aside time to annotate a few lyrics from the Hamilton Cast Recording last year.
To take it a step further, Genius recently released a video called “9 Classic Rap References In Hamilton” where they compare clips of Hamilton The Musical and the classic rap songs that inspired its inception. Some of the comparisons will be familiar to anyone with a basic knowledge of the 90’s Hip-Hop era. I mean who didn’t know that the “10 Duel Commandments” came from ”Ten Crack Commandments” by the Notorious B.I.G.? In fact, Biggie makes quite a few appearances on the recording. Other tracks by the late rapper include “Going Back To Cali,” echoed in Hamilton’s “My Shot,” and the track “Juicy,” in “We Know.” But it doesn’t just stop there, the show also includes nods to Jay Z, DMX, Busta Rhymes and Mobb Deep as well. Proving even further this is truly a hip-hop musical through and through, it’s not a mockery, it’s an inclusion of the genre. And we love every bit of it.
(A bonus one, while it’s not a hip-hop song, “Helpless” has a bit of Beyonce inspired “Countdown” in it, and I live!)
Check out the video below! Did you catch all the references? Are there more that Genius didn’t get? Sound off below.