Miranda explains how the genre influenced the Broadway hit in new Grammy nominee video.

By Andrea Towers
Updated February 03, 2016 at 08:23 PM EST
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The Grammys announced Wednesday that history will happen in Manhattan when Hamilton’s Broadway cast performs the opening number (straight from the Richard Rodgers Theatre) during the awards show on Feb. 15. In a nominee interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator and star of the musical — which is nominated for best original cast recording — opened up about the creative process behind putting together such a impactful score.

“I think the music that you listen to between the ages of 13 and 20 is the music that means the most to you for the rest of your life,” Miranda says, noting that the show is heavily influenced by the music he listened to in the ’90s, such as Biggie and DMX. “Hip-hop is the major challenge of any musical theatre piece.”

Hamilton has become a smash hit, largely due to the brilliant storytelling that seamlessly blends rap, hip-hop and musical theatre. For Miranda, who started his creative process by reading Ron Chernow’s biography on Alexander Hamilton, he soon realized hip-hop was the only way to tell the story.

“It’s a story of someone who rises and falls on the strength of their facility with words,” says Miranda. “So to me, this was a hip-hop story. The fun for me in reading the rest of the book was assigning musical styles to each of the different characters.”

Watch the full interview with Miranda below, and tune in for the 58th Grammy Awards Feb. 15.

Hamilton (Broadway)

Genre: Musical; Starring: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Christopher Jackson, Phillipa Soo, Renee Elise Goldsberry; Director: Thomas Kail; Author: Lin-Manuel Miranda; Opening Date: 08/06/15
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  • Thomas Kail