Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and star of smash-hit play Hamilton, unveiled the official Hamilton Mixtape on Thursday. Among the music stars reinterpreting tunes from the historical hip-hop musical: Minnesota's own Dessa, who applied her rapping and singing talents to "Congratulations," a song from the off-Broadway version of Hamilton.
Usher, the Roots, Chance the Rapper, Sia, Nas, Busta Rhymes, Common, Regina Spektor, Francis and the Lights, Alicia Keys, Wiz Khalifa, Kelly Clarkson, and others contributed tracks to the mixtape, which will be available for pre-order Friday ahead of its December 2 release.
We caught up with Dessa by email to ask about the Hamilton Mixtape. (She didn't have time to fulfill our request for her to choose appropriate U.S. presidents to represent each Doomtree member.)
On whether she's seen Hamilton and, if so, her capsule review of it:
"I've seen Hamilton twice. Both times I pretended not to be crying through the second act. (Also, how those people sing while sprinting around the stage remains mysterious to me.)"
"Lin-Manuel Miranda lives up to -- and exceeds -- his reputation as a generous, funny, approachable guy. We went to the Aesop Rock show in New York (along with his wife Vanessa, and a bunch of friends) and all of us rapped along in our best Aesop voice."
On how she ended up on the mixtape:
"When I got the call about the mixtape, I hung up, did a happy dance, then called Andy Thompson and Lazerbeak to see if they could help me pull it off. We had six days. And they crushed it. (Extra thanks to Jessy Greene, Dan Lawonn, and Andrew Foreman who, on two-days notice, agreed to record at their houses and send their files to Andy who blended them into an epic string section.)"
Here's the complete Hamilton Mixtape tracklist:
1. No John Trumbull (Intro) – The Roots
2. My Shot (feat. Busta Rhymes, Joell Ortiz & Nate Ruess) [Rise Up Remix] – The Roots
3. Wrote My Way Out – Nas, Dave East, Lin-Manuel Miranda & Aloe Blacc
4. Wait For It – Usher
5. An Open Letter (feat. Shockwave) [Interlude] – Watsky
6. Satisfied (feat. Miguel & Queen Latifah) – Sia
7. Dear Theodosia (feat. Ben Folds) – Regina Spektor
8. Valley Forge (Demo) – Lin-Manuel Miranda
9. It’s Quiet Uptown – Kelly Clarkson
10. That Would Be Enough – Alicia Keys
11. Immigrants (We Get The Job Done) – K’naan, Snow Tha Product, Riz MC, Residente
12. You’ll Be Back – Jimmy Fallon & The Roots
13. Helpless (feat. Ja Rule) – Ashanti
14. Take A Break (Interlude) – !llmind
15. Say Yes To This – Jill Scott
16. Congratulations – Dessa
17. Burn – Andra Day
18. Stay Alive (Interlude) – J.PERIOD & Stro Elliot
19. Slavery Battle (Demo) – Lin-Manuel Miranda
20. Washington's By Your Side – Wiz Khalifa
21. History Has Its Eyes On You – John Legend
22. Who Tells Your Story (feat. Common & Ingrid Michaelson) – The Roots
23. Dear Theodosia (Reprise) – Chance The Rapper & Francis and The Lights
And here's the cast recording version of "Congratulations":