Meet the man hip-hop stars and history teachers can't get enough of.
Lin-Manuel Miranda is young, scrappy, and performing at the Grammys.
1. Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius. Seriously. He has the award to prove it.
Miranda was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2015, an award that's commonly referred to as the "Genius Grant." For his creativity, talent, and potential, Miranda (and each of the 23 other greats) receive a $625,000 fellowship, paid out over the next five years.
2. Not only is he a genius, but he's a freakin' freestyle mastermind.
Miranda is a lifelong hip-hop fan, which explains the Mobb Deep, DMX, and Biggie references peppered throughout "Hamilton."
But did you know he's also a member of a hip-hop improv group called Freestyle Love Supreme? The troupe has performed at comedy festivals and a handful of colleges around the country.
3. Before he wrote "Hamilton," he worked on "Bring It On: The Musical." How he remains so humble is beyond me.
In 2012, Miranda co-wrote the lyrics for "Bring It On: The Musical." Let me know if that little nugget helps you win trivia someday.
4. In 2013, Miranda appeared on one of the lowest-rated TV shows of all time. Seriously. ALL TIME.
It was a very short-lived NBC drama called "Do No Harm," which holds the infamous distinction of being the lowest-rated in-season broadcast scripted series debut since 1987 and the least watched drama premiere, at least on the big four broadcast networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox).
Needless to say, the man knows defeat, which probably makes his recent victories that much sweeter.
5. In between those projects, Miranda found time to write some award-winning, mind-melting songs for Neil Patrick Harris.
Remember the 2013 Tony Awards where Neil Patrick Harris closed the show with a mind-blowing song and dance number that accurately referenced events that transpired during the awards ceremony? Events that couldn't have been predicted or planned for? Harris has Miranda to thank for working behind the scenes throughout the broadcast to frantically write the song as the show aired. See what I mean about improvisational mastermind?
Miranda's efforts paid off — he won a Creative Arts Emmy for co-writing the hilarious opening song and impressive closing number for Harris.
6. He also found a minute (or several thousand minutes) to write "Hamilton," a process which began as most musicals do, while he was on vacation.
In 2008, Miranda picked up a copy of Ron Chernow's 832-page Hamilton biography to read on vacation (as one does), and after reading the book, he fell in love with Hamilton's life and story. In Hamilton, he saw glimpses of his father ... and Tupac Shakur.
The biography was the story of an immigrant with serious command of rhetoric who made something from nothing, yet most people barely recognize him from the 10-dollar bill.
Miranda started working on a possible concept album straightaway, and just a few months later, he actually performed a song for President Obama and the first lady when he was invited by the White House to join the slate of performers putting on a show about the "American experience."
Many years and countless hours later, the mixtape was set aside, but a musical was born.
7. Tickets to "Hamilton" are really, really hard to get — with one fantastic exception.
Given its historical subject matter, Miranda was frequently asked how to make "Hamilton" accessible to more young people. So he made it a priority. Now, the show's producers, in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation, have agreed to finance a program to bring 11th graders from New York City schools (particularly those with a high number of kids living in poverty) to see "Hamilton." Not just students from one school, or even 10. We're talking 20,000 high-school juniors over the course of a year.
“If we can excite curiosity in students, there’s no telling what can happen next,” Miranda said while announcing the program.
8. As if the spectacular success of "Hamilton" wasn't enough, Miranda also wrote music for "Star Wars" and is starting work on a Disney film.
Fresh off writing the cantina music for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," Miranda is hard at work on the music for "Moana," an upcoming animated feature from Disney. He was recently in the recording booth with one of the film's star's, Dwayne "The Rock"Johnson.
Lin Manuel Miranda is Broadway's King - bad ass and an honor for me to sing and rap the music he's created for our movie. Creator and star of HAMILTON and IN THE HEIGHTS - as a composer and lyricist it's been an unreal "Master Class" for me to witness and learn. I'm just trying to keep up 😂. I have a feeling our animated musical is gonna be insanely dope. #Disney #MOANA #DontSleepOnMySpitSkills #NOV2016
A photo posted by therock (@therock) on
9. Then, for good measure, he performed at the Grammys AND WON.
Miranda and his multitalented cast performed at the Grammys live via satellite from the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York. In the show's 58-year history, this was only the eighth time it included a musical theater number and the fourth time it featured a number presented live via satellite. Shortly after, they took home the Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album.
10. Because if you're Lin-Manuel Miranda, you know just how powerful art can be.
And you can't stop (won't stop) sharing it with everyone you can.
So, if you're not already, get wise to Lin-Manuel Miranda.
When all seemed lost, he managed to make history, long hair on dudes, and musical theater cool again. That's no small feat. Here's to you, sir.