Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock far away from the theater district, you’re aware that next week brings the Broadway opening of Hamilton, the much-anticipated musical from In the Heights Tony-winner Lin-Manuel Miranda and director Thomas Kail. A smash at the Public Theater, the show tells the story of first U.S. treasurer Alexander Hamilton through a modern prism and hip-hop-style language and lyrics.
Critics have hailed this bold mixing of comparatively ancient history and current idioms to the point where any competitors now crafting old-fashioned musical or ballad-heavy, post-Les Miz tuners are likely quaking in their boots (i.e., just gift-wrap Miranda’s Tony now). After all, as miraculous as the music of Hair was, that show had a disastrous effect on the next two decades of musicals, since few writers could duplicate its magic, and composers who didn’t want to were pushed to the side as passé.
Whether Hamilton will instill a Hair-like paralysis in standard Broadway fare remains to be seen. On the plus side, however, this trending musical form may open the gates for innumerable social/political/historical events to receive the same fresh treatment in music and lyrics. Might there be a rap musical about Genghis Khan, the original Ghangsta? Or an emcee-style take on Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book? Or what about a hip-hop treatment of the day cavemen discovered fire?
The possibilities are limitless, so as a starting point, I’m here to suggest some ways that current and historical events may be transformed into the language of the streets.*
*Parental Advisory: Explicit Content.
THE ASSASSINATION OF JFK
LEE HARVEY OSWALD: (sings while loading his carbine)
I’m wound up tight like a Rite Aid suppository
`Swhy I’m here in this Dallas depository
Goodbye President, it’s time for you to go
Guess your baby brother is the next in line to bang Monroe
Pull the trigger on JFK
`Cuz I’m workin’ for the CIA.
Still I get the feeling I’ll be dead by next week
And then your pretty widow’s gonna go fuck a fat Greek.
OSAMA BIN LADEN (sings while watching porn and reading the Koran)
Listen here, bitches, my name is Osama
Time to give America a little bit o’ drama
Snag a pair o’ planes just to bring down the towers
Watch the bodies fall like Jews in the showers
Give a million dollars to the family Bush
So all the special forces can kiss my tush
One day the whole world will cave in to Ramadan
Give up the King James and get their Mohammed on.
Cuttin’ off heads is the Muslim way
Murder and torture and—oh, time to pray.
CHE GUEVARA (sings while observing)
The circus just continues when you’re Kris and Bruce and Khloe’
And all this from a video of Kim doing a blowie
It’s hard to believe that Kimmy’s moment isn’t over yet
Perhaps because her tits could float a Malaysian jumbo jet
And then there’s Caitlyn Jenner slowly morphing to a chick
When all we really wanna know is where she keeps her dick?
Whenever I’m confronted by Kris Jenner and her spouse
It makes me wish the army could throw napalm on their house.
THE COSBY ACCUSERS
BILL COSBY (sings while doing up his robe)
I don’t wanna spoon, I don’t wanna blab
Just wake the fuck up, and I’ll call you a cab.
THE TRUMP CANDIDACY
DONALD TRUMP (sings while searching for a camera to address)
They call me “The Donald” and I’m keepin’ it real
I sound like a moron, but I say what I feel
All o’ you non-millionaires be lookin’ up to me
I’ll thank you not to mention my relentless bank-rupt-cy
Now, granted, the Hispanic vote is giving me no quarter
But all those dirty Mexicans can swim back to the border
I’m such a better candidate than Jeb or Rick or Ted
Why, I can even beat them with this marmot on my head!