Lin-Manuel Miranda Explains How Common, Eminem & More Inspired His 'Hamilton' Characters

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Common and Lin-Manuel Miranda participate in the final session of the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago on Nov. 1, 2017.

The multifaceted musician and playwright spoke with Common at the Obama Foundation Summit about how hip-hop has inspired him and informed his work.

If you've ever wondered what Lin-Manuel Miranda's characters of George Washington and Alexander Hamilton from Hamilton would be like in real life, you'd need to look no further than Common and Eminem

Speaking at the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit, Miranda discussed with Common his different inspirations for what led him to write Hamilton, the comparisons he draws between Alexander Hamilton and hip-hop, and how Common himself inspired George Washington's character. 

"George Washington was the only guy everyone could agree on as a moral leader with unimpeachable moral authority and I said, 'Well he's gotta be Common!'" Miranda said to a surprised Common. "So that's totally modeled on your flow. To me, George Washington was like John Legend's singing and Common's flow mashed together. You were very much a part of the creation of that; you were very much on my mind."

Common, laughing in his signature husky voice, told Miranda "I know I don't resemble George that much, but I'll take that."

As for who inspired the show's titular character, Miranda says that Hamilton's desire to always be the smartest one in the room led to Miranda's writing of polysyllabic rhymes that made his character "the son of [Big] Pun and Eminem" with lines like "I’m past patiently waitin’, I’m passionately smashin’ every expectation!"

If we're lucky enough, maybe Common will join the cast of Hamilton as the founding father he inspired. 

Watch their conversation here, starting around the 19-minute mark. 


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