What Miranda has managed to do is interlace the history of Alexander Hamilton with several decades of hip-hop's finest rhymes and lines. The musical references the work of artists from Notorious B.I.G. and Grandmaster Flash to Jay Z and LL Cool J.
For example, in the beginning of "My Shot," Alexander Hamilton spells out his name, "A-L, E-X, A-N, D / E-R / we are / meant to be" in a rhythm that mimics Notorious B.I.G.'s infamous line in "Going Back To Cali," where he raps, "It's the N-O, T-O, R-I, O / U-S / you just / lay down / slow." Compare the two songs and see for yourself.
40 seconds in you'll hear Hamilton introduce himself:
Then, at the 2:15 mark, you'll hear Notorious B.I.G.'s similar shoutout:
The Tumblr user perfectly sums up the musical's incredibly captivating soundtrack:
Much of the brilliance of "Hamilton" is in how Lin-Manuel Miranda manages to incorporate evert musical style from Sondheim to to pop to R&B to create something totally new and infectious (he raps a reference to Gilbert & Sullivan for God's sake).
There's no denying that Miranda's fusion of different musical genres gives "Hamilton" a fresh, new edge that sets it apart from Broadway's other productions. The Tumblr fan explains that Miranda "elevates American art forms like jazz, musical theater and rap to tell the story of a bunch of old white dudes in the 18th century and makes it downright riveting." We couldn't have said it better ourselves.
Some other noteworthy hip-hop Easter eggs include "The Ten Duel Commandments," which is another nod to Notorious B.I.G. with his song "The Ten Crack Commandments." "Helpless" has a subtle similarity to Beyoncé's "Countdown," with Eliza evoking the pop diva's vocal style and riffs.
Then there's "Meet Me Inside," which has notes of DMX's "Party Up (In Here)."
Check out the "Hamilton" ensemble chanting "Meet him inside" 25 seconds into the song. Sound familiar?
Listen to DMX rapping "Meet me outside" in a very similar rhythm at 3:20, clearly the inspiration for Miranda's Broadway interpretation.
The entire soundtrack is littered with hip-hop's greatest hits making cameo appearances, but one song in particular stands out. "Cabinet Battle #1," featuring an epic rap battle between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, has some of the best references of all. The rap battle opens with its moderator, George Washington, introducing the event: "Ladies and gentlemen, you could've been anywhere in the world tonight, but you're here with us in New York City!"
Listen to it here, right at the beginning:
Now, listen to Jay Z's introduction in "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" 17 seconds in, where he opens the song with a very similar line.
There's even a possible Eminem reference later in the song when Jefferson says, "Oh if the shoe fits, wear it / New York's in debt, why should Virginia bear it?" This sounds oddly familiar to Eminem's line "If the shoe fits I'll wear it / But if I don't then y'all swallow the truth, grin and bear it" in his song "Renegade."
And perhaps the most iconic reference of all is the Grandmaster Flash Easter egg that Jefferson drops when he says "Such a blunder sometimes it makes me wonder why I even bring the thunder," followed by the infamous throat clearing "aha-ha-ha-ha."
Check out the full lyrical breakdown below for more hip-hop Easter eggs you might have missed.