With the "Hamilton Mixtape" being made available for pre-order along with two preview tracks on Saturday, Lin-Manuel Miranda has officially been in the headlines for over two weeks. It started with the release of a clip from the upcoming Disney princess movie, "Moana," featuring a new song called, "You're Welcome." The clip is only fifty seconds long, but the idea of The Rock singing a song with a melody written by Lin-Manuel Miranda had it trending within an hour of being posted. It's catchy, has been stuck in my head since it came out, and started a trend that kept Lin on everyone's newsfeed for weeks.
A few days later, Lin was in the headlines again with even bigger news. Alessia Cara's cover of what is looking like the anthem of "Moana," "How Far I'll Go," was posted in full, followed by a music video a week afterward. Before these two songs were released, all Disney fans had were the trailer songs and a piece of the chorus from a singing Moana doll released earlier this year, so it's not surprising that they rushed to the new tracks so quickly, especially since Alessia Cara is a popular artist, known best for songs like "Wild Things" and the endlessly relatable "Here." This song felt different, though. It is very clearly the "I Want" song of the movie, set to join songs like the "Belle" reprise, "Part Of Your World," or "Just Around The Riverbend" as a part of the classic Disney princess tradition of looking for more than the life they're living. Even though it's a cover, it is very clear that this is a song that is going to stick as a major part of the Disney canon. The fact that it has the potential to be given that much attention once the movie comes out and we are allowed to hear Moana sing it is especially excited because it could mean Lin being added to a very exclusive list of people: the EGOT winners. Only twelve people have been able to succeed in winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony, and each one of them has taken over ten years to do it. If Lin manages to win the Oscar in 2017, it will have taken him just under that, as well as make him the youngest person to ever do it. The first to complete the EGOT was Richard Rodgers, which is fitting, considering Lin's musicals "In The Heights" and "Hamilton" have found their home at the theater named for Rodgers.
Speaking of "Hamilton," Lin made headlines once again toward the end of this past week, when he dropped the tracklist for the "Hamilton Mixtape," an album of covers and remixes of "Hamilton" songs, from the show, never-released, or simply inspired by the show, and each performed by famous rap and hip-hop artists. Artists like Alicia Keys, Chance the Rapper, Sia, and Usher are a part of the tracklisting, which you can see in full on Lin's twitter, and two songs were just released as previews. The first is "My Shot (Rise Up Remix)" by The Roots and featuring Busta Rhymes, Joell Ortiz, and Nate Ruess and is a complete reimagining of Hamilton's own "I Want" song. The song's new rhymes are all noteworthy, but Busta Rhymes' verse really stands out, especially because Hercules Mulligan's style of rapping is actually inspired in part by Busta Rhymes.
The other song released is "It's Quiet Uptown," sung by Kelly Clarkson. To be completely honestly, I was a little taken aback by this version, as the tone didn't really seem to fit the feeling the song is meant to convey and it's hard to imagine any version of the song that could beat Renee Elise Goldsberry's opening and closing verses. Still, once the song returns to the quiet piano of the original, particularly from the line, "I don't pretend to know the challenges we're facing, I know there's no replacing what we've lost, and you need time," it's hard not to be moved. The mixtape is going to be release on December 2nd, but is available for preorder now. Now that these two songs are going to keep Lin trending for a couple days and with the soundtrack to "Moana" set to release on November 18th, a few days before the movie's release, I doubt we'll be seeing any less of him on our newsfeeds any time soon.