Song of the Day #3,086: ‘Cabinet Battle 3 (Demo)’ – Hamilton Mixtape

hamilton_mixtapeIn addition to covers of original Hamilton tracks and new songs inspired by the play, the Hamilton Mixtape features a couple of songs that were cut from the musical.

One of those is ‘Cabinet Battle 3,’ another political debate reimagined in the form of a rap battle. Numbers one and two, which focus, respectively, on the monetary system and neutrality regarding France’s war with Britain, epitomize Miranda’s incredible feat of telling centuries-old stories in a modern style.

This third battle tackles slavery, and as biting and clever as it is, Miranda chose not to include it in the finished musical because the Founding Fathers did nothing to address the issue. As he explained to Entertainment Weekly:

“I totally wrestled with this rap battle and spent months writing it. We did it in one workshop, but you just get to a point where you look at all these flawed, human characters, and they didn’t do anything. Nothing really happened on slavery until the Civil War a hundred years later. But it was worthy for me to write, and cathartic for me to write, so I’m glad it’s included.”

Among the (very few) criticisms Hamilton has received, one is that it doesn’t really acknowledge the complicated relationship the Founding Fathers had with slavery. Especially given the non-white cast, was that a missed opportunity? This excluded track suggests Miranda struggled with the same question.

[Lin-Manuel Miranda as Washington]
The issue on the table: a petition from a Quaker delegation in Philadelphia calling on Congress to end the African slave trade and abolish slavery, in all its forms. This petition was written and signed by Benjamin Franklin, it cannot go ignored. If this comes to a vote in Congress, what is the White House’s position? Secretary Jefferson, you first. Tread lightly…

[Miranda as Jefferson]
Sir
The constitution clearly states
That the states have to wait
Until eighteen-oh-eight to debate
On whether to end the slave trade
And whether or not you want it, guys
That is the final compromise we made

[Miranda as Hamilton]
Sir wait-

[Miranda as Jefferson]
But for a second let us say that we can legislate
Unanimous emancipation, freedom reigns, and yes, it’s great
We cannot cure prejudice or righteous, desperate hate
So back to Africa or do they get a separate state?
In 1784, I tried to float banning slavery in the West
My notion didn’t get a single vote
Slavery’s a sin, it’s growing like a cancer
But we can’t address the question if we do not have an answer

[Miranda as Hamilton]
Is it my turn? Good
Plantation states are packed with promise makers
Do you realize the precious time these legislators wasted?
Institutionalizing slavery only multiplies our troubles
Wait till the 1800’s, and their population doubles
You all know
This is the stain on our soul and democracy
A land of the free? No, it’s not, it’s hypocrisy
To subjugate, dehumanize a race, call ’em property
And say that we are powerless to stop it, can you not foresee?
Sir, even you, you have hundreds of slaves
Whose descendants will curse our names when we’re safe in our graves
How will the south find labor for its businesses?
How will Thomas Jefferson find his next mistresses?

[Miranda as Jefferson]
How dare you

[Miranda as Hamilton]
Yet still, people follow like lemmings
All your hemming and hawing, while you’re hee-hawing with Sally Hemings

[Miranda as Washington]
That’s enough

[Miranda as Hamilton]
Well you asked how I feel
I don’t pretend to know the answer, but the question is real

[Miranda as Madison]
If I may, Mr. President?

[Miranda as Washington]
Madison?

[Miranda as Madison]
Let’s take this moment to establish a precedent
First of all, sir, we won’t involve you in this
Imagine this debate with all of congress, it’s ruinous
I’ll reassure the South, 1808 is still the year
That was agreed upon
That buys us time and assuages fear
I’ll tell the North that on January 1st
Of that year, we’ll ban importation handling the worst
Once I get all this agreed upon, I’ll pick up a pen
And introduce a motion never to discuss this again

[Miranda as Hamilton]
Mr President!

[Miranda as Madison]
Hamilton, if we support emancipation
Every single slave owner will demand compensation
And as for slandering Jefferson with talk of mistresses
Do you really wanna-

[Mirandas as Madison and Jefferson]
Do you really wanna have that conversation?

[Miranda as Hamilton]
No

[Miranda as Washington]
Madison, execute your plan to the letter
Let’s hope the next generation thinks of something better

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One thought on “Song of the Day #3,086: ‘Cabinet Battle 3 (Demo)’ – Hamilton Mixtape

  1. Dana says:

    Given this year’s election, it would have been timely to have a rap battle about the electoral college, which would have touched on slavery in a different way. Ultimately, though, what made it to the show felt so wholly perfect to me, I find it hard to quibble much with the short shrift on slavery. I’m glad to have this demo to get a glimpse into Miranda’s thinking. Also, to be honest, this rap is simply less catchy than the ones that made it to the show.

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