This ‘Hamilton’ Track Was Changed Because of The Notorious B.I.G.
When Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote his musical Broadway Hamilton, he drew inspiration from everyone from The Beatles to Destiny’s Child. Even The Notorious B.I.G. influenced some of the tracks from Hamilton. However, one of the tracks from the musical was changed so it didn’t sound too much like one of The Notorious B.I.G.’s classic songs.
The Notorious B.I.G. song Lin-Manuel Miranda wants you to hear
Miranda and hip-hop go back a long way. According to Billboard, Miranda stole his sisters’ copies of classic rap albums like A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory, Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, and Black Sheep’s A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. When he went to write his musical based on the life of Alexander Hamilton, it only made sense he’d draw inspiration from classic rap.
In Miranda’s view, Hamilton got everywhere through the power of his writing. Miranda realized that was what his favorite rappers did. Thusly, he drew inspiration from legendary hip-hop groups and rappers while writing Hamilton, including DMX, Mobb Deep, and The Notorious B.I.G.
“They write so brilliantly that they transcend their circumstances and they change the world literally through their power of their pen and their delivery and their oratory,” Miranda said. “That’s the fundamental idea in it. That’s why [Hamilton is] such a love letter to hip hop. I want the kids who just only know musical theater when they pick up their liner notes, they see, ‘Contains a sample from ‘Ten Crack Commandments’ by Notorious B.I.G.’ If you like this musical, you owe it to yourself to listen to the hip-hop that you maybe weren’t listening to because that’s the reason this exists, is my love for hip-hop.”
Why Lin-Manuel Miranda changed ‘Ten Duel Commandments’
Specifically, the song that samples “Ten Crack Commandments” is “Ten Duel Commandments.” In an interview with Salon, Alex Lacamoire discussed how he tried not to make ‘“Ten Duel Commandments” sound too much like its predecessor. “I did try to replicate some of the sounds of that ‘Ten Crack Commandments’ track. And Lin said, ‘I want it to be a little further apart in that respect.’” Lacamoire noted how sometimes referencing another song can go beyond the realm of good taste.
Other ways The Notorious B.I.G. inspired ‘Hamilton’
“Ten Duel Commandments” isn’t the only song from the musical which references The Notorious B.I.G. For example, at the beginning of the track “My Shot,” Hamilton raps the letters of his fist name. He directly mimics the cadence of Biggie rapping his name on his song “Going Back to Cali.” In addition, “Cabinet Battle #2” directly references “Juicy,” one of Biggies’ most popular tracks. Though The Notorious B.I.G. died many years ago, his musical legacy lives on in unexpected places — including a Broadway musical about the Founding Fathers.