Hamilton Mixtape’s “Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)” Gets a Moving Music Video
The Hamilton Mixtape was a great present for fans of the musical, bringing in the actual artists Lin-Manuel Miranda took inspiration from to performs songs and giving other artists an opportunity to put a different spin on familiar tunes. “Immigrants (We Get The Job Done )” by K’naan featuring Residente, Riz MC & Snow Tha Product was a particularly powerful take on lines spoken by Lafayette and Hamilton in “Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)” that often gets cheers from the theater audience. It’s one of the few Mixtape songs that isn’t a cover, and with the original verses it’s become increasingly relevant and resonates powerfully with the current moment.
You don’t have to look for to see the immense anti-immigration and anti-refugee sentiment that’s spreading within the United States and around the globe. Or maybe spreading is the wrong word here, as this sentiment has always existed—but now xenophobia has a voice in the White House and people feel more comfortable yelling at bystanders in their local towns. Everything from the travel ban, to Donald Trump’s early promise to build a wall, to the many U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) stories we’re seeing now (this one about ICE at Human Trafficking Intervention Court is especially terrible), come to mind when watching this video directed by Tomas Whitmore.
The music video portrays all kinds of immigrant experiences, and the underpaid jobs they often take in the service industry. The sweat-shop like environment of laborers sewing American flags feels especially symbolic—this is a nation built on immigrants that depends on immigrants. This is far from 1781, but when we go in the subway where Riz MC is waiting, it’s a reminder that almost everyone’s history in America begins with immigration. The video also shows the extreme circumstances that can push an individual or family to come to the United States, and the horrifying violence of an ICE raid.
One of the great thing about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton is the way that we saw resonance in this old story with our own current moment, and the way it illuminated a new part of American’s founding mythology. Miranda tweeted he was “so proud” to present this music video and Riz Ahmed called it “The music vid + track I always wished existed.” Seeing the musical continue to be a force for good, and provide space for a song like this that many, like Ahmed and myself, always wanted, is nothing short of wonderful.
What did you think of the video?
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