Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)

Album: The Hamilton Mixtape (2016)

Songfacts®:

  • This is a track from The Hamilton Mixtape, a collection of remixes, demos and covers derived from the Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton. The song is named for a lyric in the original musical's "Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)," from which it samples its introduction and part of its hook.
  • The song features guest verses from Snow Tha Product, Residente and Riz MC, the latter being the alter ego of The Night Of actor Riz Ahmed. Each rapper featured has ties to different countries, having immigrated from Somalia, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Pakistan respectively.
  • The song was dropped within days of the 2016 Presidential election results. Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote in a Genius attribution.

    "This election cycle has brought xenophobia and vilification of immigrants back to the forefront of US politics. This is a musical counterweight.

    On the line-up we have K'naan, Snow Tha Product, Riz MC and Residente: Each MC culturally represents from a different place on the map. These are my favorite MCs from all over the world. They can speak to this theme from their brilliant perspectives."
  • Snow tha product's line about immigrants being "America's ghostwriters" is the song's all-embracing theme. Miranda said:

    "It crystallizes the whole thing. For every person you read about in your history books, there are untold millions who shape our history whose story goes untold. It's that simple. And that complex."
  • This track came out of a conversation that Lin-Manuel Miranda had with Riggs Morales, his A&R at Atlantic. The pair were talking about Miranda's third cousin, René Pérez, AKA Residente of Calle 13. Miranda recalled to iHeartRadio:

    "Calle 13 has [won] roughly 22 Latin Grammys. I think he's an actual genius. He's just one of the best rappers alive, regardless of language. There's such a disconnect in hip-hop, right? If you go to anywhere in Latin America, they will know who Residiente is, but you go to the English language, and people don't know. So, Riggs said to me, 'Hey, your cousin's one of the greatest rappers alive. It would be great to get him on this mixtape somehow.' So we started thinking about an organic way to do that, and I immediately said, 'Well, we got to do something about 'Immigrants (We Get The Job Done).'"

    He added: "So we started with, How can we get Residente on this mixtape? And then it quickly expanded to, 'This is a big topic, and I want to hear from my favorite MCs from all over the world.' That's what we did. We called K'naan, we called Riz, Ahmed, AKA Riz MC, we called Snow Tha Product, and just got their perspectives. We said, Your hook is, 'Immigrants, we get the job done. Go.' And the verses they brought are so smart, and needed, and each one bringing their A-Game. It's really one of the most thrilling moments, because it expands what the Hamilton Mixtape can even be. It's not just covers, it's not just remixes, it's taking an idea and exploding it in musical form."
  • The song begins with some words that provide context for some of the anti-immigrant public feeling in 2016, as we hear a reporter's voice proclaiming, "It's really astonishing in a country founded by immigrants, 'immigrant' has somehow become a bad word."

    "We take one moment of recognition between [Marquis de] Lafayette and Hamilton saying 'hey we're not from here – and look at the cool s--t we're doing – immigrants, we get the job done," and approached our favourite international MCs, Riz MC," Miranda told NME. "We get to rewrite the rules with this one, take that one line and make it a snapshot around what people think about immigration in 2016."

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