‘Hamilton’: It’s about rhyme

A verse essay, to be read aloud to a hip-hop beat.
So why is “Hamilton” hot?
The one play on Broadway
whose tickets are not
find-able, buy-able,
cannot be got,
madly unfund-able,
don’t give it a thought.
But you wanna go
‘cause you know it’s The Show,
the hip-hop romp
that will totally blow
your mind, it’s so fine.
It’s a matter of time.
And you’ll know when you go,
when you finally see it,
sit in your dearly bought theater se-at,
what makes it sublime
as you hear every line
is this magical thing called rhyme.
 
Rhyme is delight,
sound on speed,
vowels in flight,
what our ears need.
Back in our mothers
we heard her heart beat,
rhythm the metronome
that made life sweet.
When we were born
we lost the sound that
told us our story then.
We want it back again.
 
And so rhythm rocks us
easy & deep.
And so rhyme makes us
feel complete.
 
Rhyme is an echo,
rhyme is a charm,
a repetitive re-do
with power to disarm
 
to send us surprise,
to teach us a lesson,
to keep us apprised.
Yo, rhyme is a weapon,
a blade that is sharp,
a draw that is quick,
a shot in the dark,
a walkway that’s slick,
 
so watch how you step,
you could lose your footing.
A rhyme that’s adept
is more than a good thing—
it’s better, it’s bolder,
it’s brighter, it’s best,
it’s the salt on your steak,
it’s the zest
 
for life and for words
that name who we are,
the stories we’ve heard,
the fates of the stars
that blaze and burn out
’cause nothing can last.
Rhyme lets us shout
furious and fast,
to dress up the truth,
to make it more real,
to stretch out our youth,
to sing how we feel,
to move in time
so it doesn’t move us.
Rhyme is our sign
and in rhyme we trust.
 
Why we love Shakespeare,
why we love Frost,
poets who write lovely poems
about loss—
why we love Tupac,
why we love Nas,
street-saavy singers
who teach us the cost
of slavery, racism,
our perilous past—it’s
so dark in order to scrap it
we rap it.
 
Rhyme repeats history.
Wisdom demands it.
Rhyme tells our story
so that we can stand it.
 
“Hamilton” sings
our American song.
Teaches us things,
the right and the wrong,
the facts of our fathers
who founded our nation,
the wives and the daughters
who made their oblation
in order for us
to become what we are.
It cost us that much
to come this far.
 
And so we love them.
How could we not?
They’re speaking our language.
It’s our freedom they bought
with their blood and their brains,
with their nerve and their wit—
they tell us our story
and tell all of it—
three hours on the stage
on a New York night,
every battle that raged,
every unequal fight.
A story that’s true,
that will last for all time.
It’s about me and you.
And it’s about rhyme.
Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

The appointments are part of an ongoing effort to give a greater role to women in the work of the Roman Curia offices, the central administration of the Catholic church.
Gerard O’ConnellApril 21, 2018
Ivette Escobar, a student at Central American University in San Salvador, helps finish a rug in honor of the victims in the 1989 murder of six Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter on the UCA campus, part of the 25th anniversary commemoration of the Jesuit martyrs in 2014. (CNS photo/Edgardo Ayala) 
A human rights attorney in the United States believes that the upcoming canonization of Blessed Oscar Romero in October has been a factor in a decision to revisit the 1989 Jesuit massacre at the University of Central America.
Kevin ClarkeApril 20, 2018
Journalists photograph the lethal injection facility at San Quentin State Prison in California in 2010. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
In California, Catholic opponents of the death penalty are trying to protect the largest population of inmates awaiting execution in the Western Hemisphere.
Jim McDermottApril 20, 2018
Photo: the Hank Center at Loyola University Chicago
Bishop McElroy said that Catholics must embrace “the virtues of solidarity, compassion, integrity, hope and peace-building.”