Young, Scrappy and Hungry | Hamiltuesday

By Martina - Tuesday, March 13, 2018


"Hey yo, I’m just like my country,
I’m young, scrappy and hungry,
And I’m not throwing away my shot!"

Although I wouldn't list this song as one of my top favourites, I still truly like it, and most of all I respect the effort that Lin and his group of genius friends put into turning it into the song we know now. Lin said he spent more than a year working on this track, trying to perfect the lyrics and timing and music.

I like how the lyrics here add plenty of details to the plot, guiding the people that are watching the show (or just listening to the soundtrack) through the story, explaining the main characters' way of thinking. If Alexander Hamilton, the first track of the musical, introduced the background history of Hamilton and his upbringing, this one presents his thoughts and the way his brain works to anyone in the audience and to the other characters. Lin actually wrote that he wanted Alexander's rap to sound different from everyone else's in the show so that everyone in the room would know there was a lot to expect from this kid. I am no rap expert, but I find this really cool.

Anyway, this song also introduces the other main characters' thoughts: Lafayette talks about his hopes for France, Mulligan about changing his social status, Laurens about black people's rights. Burr, as usual, shows his point of view by saying to the other guys that it's better to keep quiet, to maintain a low profile. I really like the fact that he mocks them by calling them geniuses, I love the way he says that, half laughing. 

My favourite paragraph is probably the part where Hamilton goes introspective and talks about death, before turning his speech back to the present. Lin defines this part an uninterrupted train of thought, which makes sense. He also says this part is the one that took longer to write and is the "rosetta stone" of Hamilton's brain, which is another really interesting thought (thanks Lin for sharing your notes with the world). After talking about war and uprising he already anticipates all his thoughts and worries about how to make freedom and peace last, how to make the new country work. It's a bit of a prologue for what's to come in the show.

Now, let's mention some of my favourite lines and words, starting with "A bunch of revolutionary manumission abolitionists" - I love this line, how it sounds, and I find it really difficult to repeat out loud, is a bit of a tongue twister. A bunch of revolutionary manumission abolitionists, abolission manumissionist, what? Hahah.

The other line that sounds super good is "between all the bleeding and fighting I've been reading and writing," must be because of all the -ing rhymes.

I also like the chasm in "Are we a nation of states? What’s the state of our nation?" and the choice of making Mulligan say in loco parentis from latin, just because rapping in English and French wasn't enough already.

I can't forget to mention the word unimpeachable. It took me a good five minutes to figure out how to write it and I am not even 100% sure of the meaning but I love it (promise I'll look it up after I finish typing this post). 

I'm going to end this very random post with another note from Lin's comments that I read in Hamilton: The Revolution. He says that someone pointed out he had already rhymed spending spree in one of the songs he wrote for In The Heights. Not exactly the first thing that would come to my mind, but Lin is Lin and he is a walking lyrics genius.

Martina x

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