Since Hamilton first invaded Broadway, we’ve all spent hours listening to the soundtrack, shamelessly picking apart the lyrics, and working hard to understand every last word that Daveed Diggs raps in “Guns and Ships.” Despite all the hours we’ve logged into analyzing and obsessing over this musical, it seems the geniuses over at Wall Street Journal have actually obsessed about it a bit more, creating an algorithm to analyze the show’s lyrics.
We all know that Lin-Manuel Miranda drew from a wide variety of hip hop, rap, and R&B influences to create his Broadway mega-hit, but this algorithm goes as far to break down how his lyrics have been constructed by analyzing the rhyming patterns in each line. While the entire process of bringing the algorithm to light is pretty hugely overwhelming, the care you can see that went into every song, line, word, even syllable in the Hamilton soundtrack will only make you love Miranda and Hamilton more.
Miranda draws from all over the rap and hip-hop landscape. In one of Daveed Diggs’ insanely fast raps in “Washington On Your Side” (“I’m in the cabinet I am complicit in watching him grabbing at power and kissing it, if Washington isn’t gon’ listen to disciplined dissidents this is the difference, this kid it out”), Miranda employs a West Coast style of rapping that ended up being one of Diggs’ favorite to perform. Miranda also uses the imperfect rhyme (“How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore, and a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean”), which is one of the most common rhyming techniques used in rap and hip-hop.
Of course Miranda also is sure to tip his had to his musical theater predecessors, offering a wink to the musical 1776‘s song “Sit Down, John” with the classic Ham line, “Sit down, John, you fat, motherf*cker” in “The Adams Administration.” And he also nods to “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General” from the musical theater classic Pirates of Penzance in a pretty interesting way, having George Washington call himself the model of a modern major general in “Right Hand Man.” However, by adding some internal, imperfect rhymes to Washington’s rap gives the line some hip-hop flair while also honoring the Gilbert and Sullivan inspiration.
The algorithm lets you analyze the rhyming patterns in any lyric you’d like to try, Hamilton or otherwise. However, after just a quick perusal of some of Miranda’s lyrics, you’ll see the careful attention to every syllable uttered. Basically, it will tell you what we all already knew: Lin-Manuel Miranda is a freaking genius.
Featured Image: Broadway.com