Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Williams, Justin A. “‘We Get the Job Done’: Immigrant Discourse and Mixtape Authenticity in The Hamilton Mixtape.” American Music 36 (Winter 2018): 487-506.

The Hamilton Mixtape and its central track, “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done),” engages with issues of “offstage politics” by operating as a space to perform diversity, navigate politics of marginality, and critique immigration policy. The mixtape relies on sampling as a signifier of hip hop authenticity to achieve this aim. In hip hop culture, the idea of a mixtape (an independently released album drawing on a tradition of bootleg tapes) and sonic signifiers of underground hip hop such as record scratching and overt sampling are used to mark authenticity. In Hamilton: An American Musical, Lin-Manuel Miranda uses hip hop’s status as the voice of the marginalized to make a statement about American history. The Hamilton Mixtape extends this project by featuring covers, remixes, and demos of numbers from the musical. The deliberately rough sound of the mixtape connects to the sound of underground hip hop more so than the polished, orchestrated musical. “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)” is the central track of the mixtape and is titled after a line from “The Battle of Yorktown.” The line, spoken by Hamilton and Lafayette, became a fan-favorite moment in the show amid the immigration discourse sparked by Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. The chorus of “Immigrants” samples this line and others from “Yorktown” in an intentionally choppy style to evoke the ethos of underground hip hop. The verses, supplied by rappers K’naan, Show Tha Product, Riz MC, and Residente, deal with issues of immigrant labor and the continuing impact of colonialism. While both The Hamilton Mixtape and Hamilton: An American Musical express critiques of immigration discourse, particularly issues of immigrant labor, the mixtape taps into the sound and voice of the global hip hop movement, moving beyond the American setting of the musical it samples.

Works: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Keinan Warsame (K’naan), Claudia Feliciano (Snow Tha Product), Rizwan Ahmed (Riz MC), René Pérez Joglar (Residente), and Trooko: Immigrants (We Get the Job Done) from The Hamilton Mixtape (493-500)

Sources: Lin-Manuel Miranda: Hamilton: An American Musical (493-500)

Index Classifications: 2000s, Popular

Contributed by: Matthew Van Vleet

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Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
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