Lin-Manuel Miranda, star of the hit Broadway musical Hamilton, made his The Tonight Show debut last Friday (Nov. 6) with Jimmy Fallon. Given the Hip-Hop focus of the musical, Fallon challenged Miranda and The Roots’ Black Thought to perform what became a dazzling freestyle display.
Fans who watched the 2015 BET Hip Hop Awards Cyphers discovered that Miranda has skills and the play in which he wrote and produced has been one of Broadway’s biggest hits despite the hip-hop historical focus on President Alexander Hamilton. Miranda, who was extremely animated in his time on the set, packed in some extremely complex bars in comparison to Black Thought’s timeless delivery.
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Miranda, a recent recipient of a MacArthur genius grant, participated in a freestyle rap battle with Tariq from The Roots as part the show’s newest segment, Wheel of Freestyle. As host Jimmy Fallon explained, neither Miranda nor Tariq were shown the three words they needed to incorporate into their raps before the show, but it didn’t matter. Miranda put together a string of rhymes that touched on LGBTQ rights, Drake, and Michael Jordan in his first go (his words were rainbow, pancake, and slam dunk), while Tariq breezed through his performance with little trouble (and rhymed vaccination with Channing Tatum).
But since he was the guest, the Hamilton mastermind was given one more opportunity to show off his skills, putting together a rap that spun from a Jurassic World reference to the Puerto Rican debt crisis to Darth Vader.
Check out Hamilton‘s Lin-Manuel Miranda and The Roots’ Black Thought go bar for bar in a playful freestyle rap battle on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in the clip below.
Photo: Tonight Show/NBC