Music Friday: Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton Calls Himself a ‘Diamond in the Rough’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Alexander Hamilton sees himself as a “diamond in the rough” in “My Shot,” the rousing Act 1 hit from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s blockbuster Broadway show. Miranda famously portrays the 19-year-old founding father in a musical about young revolutionaries and their determination to rise up against the British. Hamilton on Broadway has grossed more than a half billion dollars.

In the first verse of the 5:34 rap, Miranda’s character knows he’s smart and well spoken, but acknowledges that he’s also young and a bit rough around the edges.

He sings, “I probably shouldn’t brag, but dag, I amaze and astonish / The problem is I got a lot of brains but no polish / I gotta holler just to be heard / With every word, I drop knowledge! / I’m a diamond in the rough, a shiny piece of coal / Tryin’ to reach my goal.”

The “young, scrappy and hungry” Hamilton vows to lead the charge against oppression, repeating throughout the song that he’s not going to throw away his shot at making a difference.

Although Hamilton opened on Broadway more than five years ago, the show recently earned a big boost and broader audience when Disney Plus released the Hamilton movie on its popular streaming service just before U.S. Independence Day. The offering spiked Disney Plus downloads by 752,000 over the holiday weekend.

The Hamilton movie features the original cast and is essentially a “live” recording — using six cameras — of an actual Broadway performance.

In 2016, Hamilton earned a record 16 Tony nominations and won 11 awards, including Best Musical. The play also won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Despite the accolades, Miranda reminded fans that the show was “no overnight success.” It took the composer/lyricist/actor/singer seven years to write the play, including a full year of revisions to today’s featured song, “My Shot.”

Please check out the audio clip of Miranda and the cast of Hamilton performing “My Shot.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“My Shot”
Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Kejuan Waliek and Albert Johnson. Performed by Lin-Manuel Miranda and the original cast of Hamilton.

I am not throwing away my shot!
I am not throwing away my shot!
Hey yo, I’m just like my country
I’m young, scrappy and hungry
And I’m not throwing away my shot!
I’m ‘a get a scholarship to King’s College
I probably shouldn’t brag, but dag, I amaze and astonish
The problem is I got a lot of brains but no polish
I gotta holler just to be heard
With every word, I drop knowledge!
I’m a diamond in the rough, a shiny piece of coal
Tryin’ to reach my goal. My power of speech: unimpeachable
Only nineteen but my mind is older
These New York City streets get colder, I shoulder
Every burden, every disadvantage
I have learned to manage, I don’t have a gun to brandish
I walk these streets famished

Ooh!

The plan is to fan this spark into a flame
But damn, it’s getting dark, so let me spell out the name
I am the

A-L-E-X-A-N-D
E-R we are meant to be…

A colony that runs independently
Meanwhile, Britain keeps shittin’ on us endlessly
Essentially, they tax us relentlessly
Then King George turns around, runs a spending spree
He ain’t ever gonna set his descendants free
So there will be a revolution in this century
Enter me!

(He says in parentheses)

Don’t be shocked when your history book mentions me
I will lay down my life if it sets us free
Eventually, you’ll see my ascendancy

And I am not throwing away
My shot (My shot)
I am not throwing away
My shot (My shot)
Hey yo, I’m just like my country
I’m young, scrappy and hungry
And I’m not throwing away my shot (And I’m not throwing away my shot)

I am not throwing away my shot
I am not throwing away my shot
Hey yo, I’m just like my country
I’m young, scrappy and hungry
And I’m not throwing away my shot
It’s time to take a shot!

I dream of life without a monarchy
The unrest in France will lead to ‘onarchy?
‘Onarchy? How you say, how you say, oh, ‘Anarchy’!
When I fight, I make the other side panicky
With my

Shot!

Yo, I’m a tailor’s apprentice
And I got y’all knuckleheads in loco parentis
I’m joining the rebellion ’cause I know it’s my chance
To socially advance, instead of sewin’ some pants!
I’m gonna take a

Shot!

And but we’ll never be truly free
Until those in bondage have the same rights as you and me
(That’s right!)
You and I. Do or die. Wait ’til I sally in
On a stallion with the first black battalion
Have another

Shot!

Geniuses, lower your voices
You keep out of trouble and you double your choices
I’m with you, but the situation is fraught
You’ve got to be carefully taught:
If you talk, you’re gonna get shot!

Burr, check what we got
Mister Lafayette, hard rock like Lancelot
I think your pants look hot
Laurens, I like you a lot
Let’s hatch a plot blacker than the kettle callin’ the pot…
What are the odds the gods would put us all in one spot
Poppin’ a squat on conventional wisdom, like it or not
A bunch of revolutionary manumission abolitionists?
Give me a position, show me where the ammunition is!

Oh, am I talkin’ too loud?
Sometimes I get over-excited, shoot off at the mouth
I never had a group of friends before
I promise that I’ll make y’all proud

Let’s get this guy in front of a crowd

I am not throwing away my shot
I am not throwing away my shot
Hey yo, I’m just like my country
I’m young, scrappy and hungry
And I’m not throwing away my shot

I am not throwing away my shot
I am not throwing away my shot
Hey yo, I’m just like my country
I’m young, scrappy and hungry
And I’m not throwing away my shot

Everybody sing:
Whoa, whoa, whoa (Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!)
Hey!
Whoa! (Whoa!)
Wooh!
Whoa! (Whoa!)
Ay, let ’em hear ya!
(Yeah!)
Let’s go!

(Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!)
I said shout it to the rooftops! (Whoa!)
Said, to the rooftops! (Whoa!)
Come on!
(Yeah!)
Come on, let’s go!

Rise up!
When you’re living on your knees, you rise up
Tell your brother that he’s gotta rise up
Tell your sister that she’s gotta rise up

When are these colonies gonna rise up?
When are these colonies gonna rise up? (Whoa!)
When are these colonies gonna rise up? (Whoa!)
When are these colonies gonna rise up? (Whoa!)
Rise up!

I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
When’s it gonna get me?
In my sleep? Seven feet ahead of me?
If I see it comin’, do I run or do I let it be?
Is it like a beat without a melody?
See, I never thought I’d live past twenty
Where I come from some get half as many
Ask anybody why we livin’ fast and we laugh, reach for a flask
We have to make this moment last, that’s plenty

Scratch that
This is not a moment, it’s the movement
Where all the hungriest brothers with something to prove went.
Foes oppose us, we take an honest stand
We roll like Moses, claimin’ our promised land
And? If we win our independence?
Is that a guarantee of freedom for our descendants?
Or will the blood we shed begin an endless
Cycle of vengeance and death with no defendants?

I know the action in the street is excitin’
But Jesus, between all the bleedin’ ‘n fightin’
I’ve been readin’ ‘n writin’
We need to handle our financial situation
Are we a nation of states? What’s the state of our nation?

I’m past patiently waitin’. I’m passionately
Smashin’ every expectation
Every action’s an act of creation!
I’m laughin’ in the face of casualties and sorrow
For the first time, I’m thinkin’ past tomorrow.

And I am not throwing away my shot
I am not throwing away my shot
Hey yo, I’m just like my country
I’m young, scrappy and hungry
And I’m not throwing away my shot

We’re gonna rise up! (Not throwing away my shot) Time to take a shot!
We’re gonna rise up! (Not throwing away my shot) Time to take a shot!
We’re gonna (Rise up! Rise up!)
It’s time to take a shot! (Rise up! Rise up!)
It’s time to take a shot! (Rise up!)
(Rise up!) (Woooah!)
It’s time to take a shot! (Rise up!)
Take a shot! Shot! Shot!
A-yo it’s time to take a shot!
Time to take a shot!
And I am not throwing away my
Not throwing away my shot!

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

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