Spider-Man: Homecoming Trailer Review

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Sony/Marvel, just less than a half hour ago, dropped the first teaser trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming, the first solo Spider-Man movie since adding Spider-Man back into the Marvel Cinematic Universe where he belongs.  Let’s check it out, then talk about it.

 

I believe the word you’re looking for is wow.   I’ve said it before, when we were first getting our glimpses of Tom Holland in the role, but really, the third time is the charm here.  We had our great Peter, but bad Spider-Man the first time with Tobey, Andrew Garfield brought Spider-Man to life but was too cool to be a proper Peter in the reboot, but now they finally Goldilocks’d it and the third time is just right.

I like the old school Marvel Halloween masks the bank robbers are using at the start of this trailer, perfect way to establish that yes, in case you forgot this is indeed in the MCU.  And it really seems like we don’t have to sit through another origin story for him again, which is fantastic.  Or should I say Amazing?

It also seems that, despite the controversy from a few months ago, Zendaya is not playing Mary Jane but rather a character named Michelle.. though this could still be a bait and switch thing, but from the brief glimpse of her character in this trailer, I’d almost more guess she’s got the vibe of the edgy Ultimate version of Gwen Stacy from the 00’s comics.  But we’ll see.   Also seems like we have another African American female lead/potential love interest as well with Laura Harrier as Liz Allen, so either way, this Spidey is down with the swirl, which I just love.    It’s 2017 almost, and in NYC its far more realistic to have a multicultural group of friends/love interests than it is for it not to be.

And speaking of multicultural friends, it says on IMDB that Jacob Batalon is playing Ned Leeds,  (who, in the comics, was a reporter at the Daily Bugle who later married Betty Brant) who is also in this movie, like a super young version of her it seems.  But from the preview his character reminds me a lot more of Ganke, Miles Morales (the other Ultimate Spider-Man, in the comics) friend, than any type of Ned Leeds vibe.     But we’ll see how it goes, this is just the teaser.

 

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Ganke Lee.

 

Robert Downey Jr. owns his little brief bits of dialogue in this trailer, can’t wait to see more of him in this movie, it’s a perfect choice to bring him in, plus more RDJ onscreen is always a good thing.  From what I’m reading on IMDB, we’ll get a few Spider-Man villains onscreen in this one, from Michael Chernus playing The Tinkerer, Bokeem Woodbine playing The Shocker, and lastly to the movie’s big bad, Michael Keaton as The Vulture, who looks legit menacing here.   I don’t think we’ll be seeing too much of the first two bad guys, I almost feel like we’re finally going to see what I’ve been waiting to see in a comic book movie for years now.  The use of D-List villains to show that they do fight bad guys all the time, not just when a movie is happening.

We kind of got a sense of this in The Dark Knight with The Scarecrow popping back up, and in a few other movies here and there but for the most part, it seems that in these superhero movie verses, bad guys only show up once every two years or so, and the rest of the time they take down normal criminals.  (In a word, boring!)      Give me some D list bad guys thrown in throughout a movie, some Rocket Racer, or Big Wheel, or The Grizzly and The Gibbon.  Hell, White Rabbit even.

Did I miss anything in the trailer?  What was your favorite part?  Whatever it is leave me a comment in here and be sure to share this article with your friends, spread the love around.  It’s almost Christmas now but after seeing this trailer, next July can’t get here any faster.

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Food Geek Review: All About The Cheese “Mac Daddy” Sandwich Review

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I’d previously covered the All About The Cheese food truck last month, where I reviewed their bacon Swiss sandwich, which you can read about here (https://reelgeeksguide.com/2016/11/10/food-geek-review-grilled-cheese-academy-food-truck/).  They came back again today, and of course I had to get something, this time I tried their Mac Daddy sandwich, which I’ll be talking about today, along with their homemade mac and cheese.

Let’s start off by discussing this mac and cheese.  They have some of the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had.  There’s two secrets to this, one, I learned from talking to one of the owners, is that it’s all freshly made daily, and the other is that they add gouda to the mix as well, giving it an extra cheesy feel that you really can’t beat.  To quote a line from How I Met Your Mother, “Don’t sleep on the gouda.”    And definitely do not sleep on this mac and cheese.  It’s an excellent companion food  to their lineup of grilled cheese sandwiches for cheese lovers such as myself.

Now, on to the main course, the (miggity miggity miggity miggity)  Mac Daddy sandwich.  This is a grilled cheese sandwich by way of a bbq sandwich, and as I’ve discussed before, I like my bbq.  This sandwich has Shredded pork, melted cheddar cheese, topped with homemade mac and cheese, and then the kicker, drizzled with spicy habanero sauce in between two pieces of Texas toast.

That just describes what it is, but what it feels like is a grilled cheese sandwich with a filling kick.  Normal grilled cheese sandwiches, I’ll have to eat like two or three to get full, one of these guys though, and it’s a done deal.  The habanero gives the whole sandwich a nice kick, and the pork and the cheeses blend well together for a perfect sandwich in every bite.

So, once more I was left utterly impressed with the food, and the service that All About The Cheese provides.  Definitely look them up on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ALLABOUTTHECHEESE/ to see when they’ll be in your neck of the woods next.  Well, if you’re in the local Tidewater, Virginia area at least.    Any reccomendations of spots I should try? Where should I go next?  Leave some comments below, and don’t forget to show Reel Geeks Guide some love by sharing this article,  liking the new Facebook page Reel Geek’s Guide, following the Twitter page @MichaelKeskeys, or on Instagram at reel_geeks_guide  .  Til next time, be sure to keep it Reel.

 

Top Ten Christmas Movies

 

 

 

Hey guys, it’s that time of year again, my personal favorite time of year, it’s Christmas.  I know that there’s a lot more than just Christmas going on this time of year, a multitude of different festivals and holidays celebrated by a multitude of faiths,  but I grew up with Christmas, not even so much the religious aspect of the holiday, but I definitely appreciate that, but more so all the trappings of the holiday, the music, the food, the tv specials, and the movies.   And I  thought it’d be fun to go through a series of articles dedicated to this, my favorite of the holiday seasons, starting off with my personal Top Ten Favorite Christmas Movies.   I know there’s going to be a lot I left off, but this is just my list, and I limited myself to 10, so without further adieu, let’s get this holiday party started.

10. Miracle On 34th Street (1947)

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Release Poster for Miracle On 34th Street

Now, most people’s picks for classic Christmas movies would be It’s A Wonderful Life, but I never was quite the biggest fan of that film.  For my money you really can’t start off your Christmas right without the classic Miracle On 34th Street.  There was a remake back in 1994 with David Attenborough playing the role of the Santa Claus on trial, but the original with Maureen O Hara and Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle just has that right amount of heart that gets you in the Christmas spirit.

 

9.  The Santa Clause

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We’re continuing this list with a personal favorite of mine, and my favorite Tim Allen movie where he’s not doing the voice of Buzz Lightyear.  This movie is still entertaining to me no matter how many times I’ve seen it.  The sequels were all pretty decent as well in my book, but you can’t really go wrong with the first one in the trilogy.  Tim Allen nails the role of Scott Calvin, overworked businessman and his transformation into Santa Claus.  I liked how they threw that twist in there,  along with a Doctor Who like regeneration, just into a different person’s body for Santa that explains Santa’s “immortality” by assigning the next person with the role.  It’s a very Piers Anthony’s Incarnations of Immortality type way of handling holiday mythology.

 

8.  The Muppet Christmas Carol

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This one might prove somewhat controversial, among some people I know at least, that this isn’t higher up on the list, but this is the best in my book version of the Christmas Carol story, overtaking Mickey’s Christmas Carol‘s spot.   Michael Caine as Ebeneezer Scrooge, Kermit is Bob Cratchit, and the rest of the Muppet cast takes on familiar roles in this retelling of the classic Dickens novel.    Some people prefer Alastair Sim as Scrooge, but for me, Michael Caine is the definitive Scrooge for my generation.  (At least, proper Scrooge, as you’ll see later in the list).

 

 

7.  Elf

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It’s the most recent movie on my list, and it’s already 13 years old this year.  Will Ferrel in John Favreau’s new Christmas classic, Elf.  There’s so much to love about this movie, from the Rankin Bass special homage of an opening sequence, to just the sheer joy that Will Ferrell has as Buddy the Elf, to the chemistry between him and Zooey Deschanel, it’s a movie that will always put a smile on my face, any time I see it.  No matter how many times I see it.

 

 

 

6. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

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Anyone growing up in the 1980s is well familiar with the Griswald family, and their many attempted vacations, from your standard road trip to Wally World, to a European Vacation, to their attempt at a Christmas get together, it always makes for pure comedy.  If you haven’t seen it, you really should.

 

 

5. Scrooged 

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I still recall seeing this one in theaters, back in Christmas of 1988, I was 8 years old and a huge Bill Murray fan after Ghostbusters, as any proper child of the 1980s was.  I loved the movie then, and even today I have to watch it at least once during the holidays, and it still holds up, still hilarious to this day.   While Michael Caine may be the definitive Ebeneezer Scrooge in the classic sense, he’s got nothing on Bill Murray as greedy tv exec Frank Cross, who learns the meaning of Christmas in a very Dickensian fashion one Christmas Eve.

 

 

 

4.  Love, Actually

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Love, Actually is one of my favorite Christmas movies to watch this time of year.  It was the first one of those multi character set romantic comedies set during a holiday that they tried to replicate with New Year’s Eve, and Valentine’s Day, but they could never do it quite as good as this one.  A fully loaded cast for this one too, Liam Neeson, Keira Knightly (she’s got range)  Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Andrew Lincoln, Martin Freeman, Chiwetel Ejiofor…  Just off the cast alone it’s worth checking out.

Where else can you see Rick from the Walking Dead pine for Elizabeth Swann who’s just married his best friend Karl Mordo?  Or see Snape cheating on his wife Professor Trelawny..  Bill Nighy steals the movie though as aging rock star Billy Mack, trying to get one more  Number 1 Christmas Hit on Top of the Pops.

I completely love this movie, and the only reason it’s not higher on the list is because of the movies that are coming up next in this countdown.

 

3. Die Hard

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As the meme goes, there’s two kinds of people in this world, those that agree that Die Hard is a Christmas movie, and there’s though that are wrong.  It’s a holiday tradition for me to watch Die Hard at least once every Christmas.  As selfish cop John McClane learns the true meaning of Christmas as he shares his gifts with Hans Gruber’s terrorists.  The gifts of bullets of course, after all, now he has a machine gun, ho ho ho.

 

2.  Home Alone

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One of the best Christmas movies of all time in my book, Home Alone still holds up to this day, even though its premise is a bit dated, and a product of it’s time.  Kevin McCalister is like a kid version of Jigsaw from the Saw movies meets Batman, all he needs is a little prep time and he can take down anything with slapsticky glory.  I also cannot hear that version of White Christmas still to this day without thinking of the iconic aftershave scene.    Merry Christmas, Ya Filthy Animal.

 

 

 

  1.  A Christmas Story

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Believe it or not, this movie bombed at the box office when it was first released in 1983.  How I don’t know.  Because this movie is now shown for 24 hours straight on Christmas Eve through Christmas Day here in the US on TBS.   It’s got everything you could want in a Christmas movie, funny dialogue, iconic scenes such as the leg lamp, or Flick gets his tongue stuck to a pole…classic comedy.  Drink Your Ovaltine?   It doesn’t get much better than this movie.

 

So that’s my list.  What do you guys think?  Did I miss any of your favorites?   Let me know in the comments, and be sure to share this with your friends if you like the list.  Stay tuned for more Holiday fun as we get closer to Christmas.  If I don’t get to say it again, Happy Holidays to all my Reel Geek’s Guide readers worldwide.

Music Geek Review: Childish Gambino : Awaken My Love

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I’ve been a fan of multi-talented artist Donald Glover since his run on the fantastic sitcom Community.  And this fandom has taken me to some truly bizarre places, such as his internet comedy group where he first made his name Derrick Comedy, to his stand up comedy special which I bought on dvd, to his music, which has been just as inventive and unique as the man himself.    His song “Bonfire” off his first album Camp inspired my own return to hip hop which is on my YouTube channel if anyone’s curious.   And his television show Atlanta, which debuted on FX earlier this fall was one of the best shows on tv this season.    Each project completely different from the last, which is rare, as an artist in any genre, let alone multiple ones like Donald Glover works in.

Which brings us to his latest album Awaken My Love.   The cover art alone tells the audience that this isn’t going to be your standard album, and the album itself lets you know that as well from the dream like xylophone tones that start out the first track “Me and Your Mama”, that  this album is taking you on a musical journey, a dream like infusion of soul, and funk that could double as baby making music and as get stoned and just chill type music.    And each track is different from the last as well, a continuous reinvention of itself like the artists own career up to this point changing and evolving with every track.

There are lots of different kinds of albums, for different kinds of moods, feelings, situations.  And in this current day and age of digital everything, it’s easy to just pick and choose your music a track at a time, which is how I admittedly listen to music most of the time, but this album, like Solange’s A Seat At The Table album from a few months ago merits to be listened to in completion, in order, just allow yourself to go on this aural funkadelic journey, and you won’t regret it.

Key tracks- Me and Your Mama,  Zombies, California, Redbone, Stand Tall

Album rating ***** out of 5 Stars

Food Geek Review: Red Robin’s Limited-Time treats

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Now, usually in the Food Geek review I’ll hit up a local spot, or a food truck.  But those are admittedly kind of niche items, you have to be here in Virginia to try them.  And while I will continue to support and write about those places off the beaten path, I’ll also be throwing in more mainstream food coverage as well, stuff that anyone, nearly anywhere can go to.   And we will start off our food journey today by the trips I had to Red Robin over the weekend with my girlfriend.   I had two very distinct, very different sandwiches, but two of the better sandwiches I’ve had in a while, and a great cocktail as well.

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The Bee’s Knees chicken sandwich.  Very apt description.

Our first trip there after craving a good burger led me to try something that wasn’t a burger at all, but rather a unique take on the chicken sandwich, the aptly named Bee’s Knees  Finest chicken sandwich.   It’s a sandwich that mashes up two of my favorite meals, chicken and waffles, and a chicken sandwich, into something unlike anything else you’ve ever tried.

The Belgian waffle bun is the outer casing of a sandwich that includes a crispy tempura-fried chicken breast that they glaze in sweet Angry Orchard® honey, then on to the kick of a spicy jalapeno relish, citrus marinated tomatoes providing a little citrus-y sweetness, and onions and shredded romaine rounding it out before the other side of the waffle bun finish.     I’ve seen things well named before, Snakes on a Plane, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, but this sandwich truly takes the cake, or the waffle at the least.  You won’t have another sandwich like it ever.     You can also add cheese to the sandwich as well, which I did, just gave it that extra bit of perfection for this cheeselover.

They suggest pairing the sandwich with a glass of Angry Orchard®, and I must be inclined to agree, as that’s what I did.   Chicken sandwiches don’t get much better than this.  One pro tip for eating it though, it’s very loosely held together, so I’d suggest cutting it in half, or keeping that toothpick in there as long as possible, elsewise the sandwich devolves into a mess midway through eating.    A tasty mess, but a mess, nonetheless.

Day 2 of our weekend of Christmas shopping and spending time together we were also craving Red Robin, so we returned a second time.  Thankfully with a menu as varied as the one they have, you can get something different every time you go there, and this time I picked up their limited time only Billion Dollar Baby burger and a Laguinitas cocktail in a can.

 

Let me set the picture for this piece of burger heaven.  This burger won the South Beach Wine and Food Festival’s Red Robin Best Burger Bash earlier this year , and for good reason.  It’s 100% Black Angus beef on a ciabatta bun, with what they call a potato cake, (it’s a hashbrown to us common folk) melted Fontina cheese, a truffle flavored cheese blend, grilled tomatoes, shredded romaine lettuce, and pepper bacon just to show off at the end.

I love all food in general, but my two favorite things are a burger, and cheese, and this burger hit every note possible for both the burger and the cheese lover in me.  There was cheese in every. single. bite. of this burger.  Every. Single. Bite.  Just wow.  I was in love with this thing from the first bite in.  The bacon didn’t even need to be there, but it was, and I was ever so thankful for it.  Just pure burger heaven.  The potato cake as they call it brought to mind my ultimate breakfast sandwich creation the Juggernaut, and it works as well in this burger as it does in my sandwich.  (Sidenote: The Juggernaut is a sandwich comprised of a bagel, two scrambled eggs with cheese, bacon, and a hashbrown.  Not good for you, but it’s so so so good.)

The real star of this burger though is the cheese, both the fontina and the cheese truffle sauce, pure cheesy perfection, like Big Trouble in Little China in food form.  This one is here for a limited time, so I’d suggest getting out there soon and trying this little number.

The cocktail I had paired of with this one was one of their Laguinitas cocktail in a can, which was a mixture of Laguinitas beer, Red grapefruit, and svedka vodka for a unique cocktail unlike anything else you’ve had before.  It was quite excellent.

Ratings

The Bee’s Knees Finest Chicken ***** out of 5 Stars

The Billion Dollar Baby Burger ***** out of 5 Stars

Laguinitas cocktail in a can **** out of 5 Stars.

Reel Geek Review: Loving

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I’ve been dating my girlfriend Kimetra for almost 8 months now.  She’s my best friend, my love, my everything.  We definitely plan to get married at some point in the next couple years, and that wouldn’t be possible if not for the couple this movie is about, Richard and Mildred Loving.   It was because of their love that they, and their lawyers fought for their right to be married, and for others to do the same.    This movie from most critics has gotten rave reviews, and people seem to be loving this story (no pun intended) ,it’s an important piece of history, that’s why I was hoping this movie would easily make my top ten list for best of the year.  As it stands, this might be one of the worst movies, the more I think about it.     But let’s break it down, shall we.

Joel Edgerton (Warrior, Revenge of the Sith) and Ruth Negga (Preacher, Warcraft) play Richard and Mildred Loving in this latest film adaptation, written and directed by Jeff Nichols (Midnight Special).  The trailer made the movie feel very heartfelt, and dramatic, but in the movie itself, the audience never really gets a feel for why they love each other, or their connection as people, other than Joel Edgerton telling people that he loves his wife, and him saying that to her, we never feel it, which, in telling a movie, is the most important thing.     They do an ok job of portraying the couple, Ruth moreso than Joel, who doesn’t really say much, which may speak a lot to how Richard was in real life, but in a movie like this, some liberties may be taken to give us some emotion to follow as an audience.   Ruth Negga basically just does a toned down version of her Preacher character here, same accent, but she still gives us more reasons to feel for them than Edgerton does.

Some music could have added to the drama at least, but it seems that Mr. Nichols chose a more droning, ambient based sound for the few scenes that feature music.  Nick Kroll (The League) does an ok performance in his attempt to branch out from strictly comedy as their lawyer Bernie Cohen, but overall the main problem with the movie is that it feels disjointed, uneven, and poorly paced.

One bright spot of the movie comes when Michael Shannon (The Night Before, Man Of Steel) comes in as a photographer for Life Magazine, and he takes some photos of the family, including the iconic shot of Mildred and Richard, laughing on the couch.  That may have been my favorite sequence in the whole movie, as it was one of the few times that we saw and felt what the couple did for each other.

And then to make matters worse, the whole movie has a very unclimactic ending, the Lovings don’t make an appearance in court when their trial goes to the Supreme Court, which could have made for a better movie, even if it wasn’t what actually happened.   And then the movie wraps up with some text brackets explaining the fallout of the case, and what happens to the couple afterwards.    It was only a two hour movie, but it felt like four, and it still felt like there were things missing in the movie.

Kimetra later informed me on the ride back from the theater that there were better versions of this movie done, on tv no less not long ago.  There was a 1996 tv movie with Lela Rochon and Timothy Hutton playing the couple called Mr. and Mrs. Loving  Which from what I’m reading may have been an inaccurate version of the events, but it may have been a better story at least.  There was also a 2012 HBO documentary called The Loving Story where this movie got its inspiration from.

There’s a lesson to be learned in this movie, and that’s that love is love, when it all comes down to it.  It’s a lesson that needs to be reiterated a lot now in this dark world we live in.  Another lesson could be learned from the making of this movie that sometimes historical accuracy can be sacrificed a little if the story itself isn’t as interesting as it should be.

What do you guys think though?  Which is more important, total accuracy to a story or making it a little more interesting than it was, when it comes to historical movies?  Comment below, or on the Facebook discussion group, just like Reel Geeks Guide on Facebook for more.

Rating ** out of 5 Stars

 

Music Geek Review: The Hamilton Mixtape

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I was first introduced to Lin Manuel-Miranda’s Hamilton musical earlier this year by my girlfriend, and it became the soundtrack to my summer, listening to album on repeat for weeks on end, just fully becoming immersed in this show, putting together an epic movie in my head that won’t compare to the actual musical I’m sure if I ever get lucky enough to see it performed.     Even though the play started last year, this year was truly the year of Hamilton. It’s my favorite musical, and it’s also re-awakened my passion for history, as well.    Despite the controversy now surrounding the play, it continues to be sold out for the immediate and near future.  Everyone loves this play, well 95% of the population does at least, including a lot of talented musical artists, who have come together to collaborate on this, The Hamilton Mixtape, which was also going to be the original title of the project when Lin Manuel was putting the project together, as a mix tape before the show idea came into being.

But, on to the album itself, how does it hold up as it’s own work?  Well it starts out with an intro from Philadelphia hip hop legends, The Roots, “No John Trumbull”, painting a picture in the audience’s head that this story, isn’t as clear and as stoic as the classic John Trumbull paintings of the Continental Congress signing the Declaration of Independence, no, much like the real history, this story is far messier, more personal, more real, than any painting.

So many talented artists contribute to this album,  artists like Alicia Keys, Jill Scott, Wiz Khalifa, John Legend and Jimmy Fallon, all putting their spin on songs from the play.   Though my favorite tracks on the album are  the version of Satisfied from Sia featuring Miguel and Queen Latifah, who handles the rapping portions of the song.    Immigrants (We Get The Job Done) From K’Naan, Snow Tha Product, Riz MC, and Residente takes the iconic line from the Battle of Yorktown and turns it into a very timely track for the world we live in today.   Speaking of timely, Watsky’s cover of “An Open Letter” could also be very timely given our current political situation in America, which makes me love it even more.

Alicia Keys’ cover of That Would Be Enough and Chance The Rapper’s Dear Theodosia reprise bring the feels in ways I didn’t think possible outside of the original versions of the song.

One of my favorite tracks over all though is Nas’ “Wrote My Way Out”, which brings the story full circle, from Lin Manuel reading the Alexander Hamilton biography and seeing hip hop in his life’s story and turning that into music to Nas’ own life story and how he turned his story into music.  Also the track has an unexpected Lin Manuel Miranda cameo verse on there which was killer.

I will say that it’s not a perfect album, but it comes close to it.  When Lin Manuel Miranda wrote “Helpless” he was channeling Ashanti and Ja Rule’s early 00’s hits, so it only makes sense that they cover the song on this album.  And I was a huge fan of those initial hits, but compared to Phillipa Soo and Lin Manuel Miranda in the original version there’s something about the track that falls semi flat to my ears.   But the album’s biggest sin, in my book is there’s no cover of “The Schuyler Sisters”, the Destiny’s Child-like super catchy song from the musical, which would have made perfect fodder to be covered or remixed by some talented artist.      Still though, maybe there’s more mixtapes in the future to be made.  Hamilton is timeless, so maybe in a later volume we could get that.  As it stands if you’re a fan of the musical, you’re going to love this album.  If you’re just a fan of  good music, you’ll like it and there’s enjoyment to be had here regardless.

There’s also a few demos of songs that were cut from the play as well, including a third cabinet battle about slavery in the country, and Valley Forge, some of the lines of which ended up in a different format in the play, and it’s nice to see how the show evolved from idea to stage.

Key Tracks- “Immigrants (We Get The Job Done) ” “Wrote My Way Out” “Satisfied” “Dear Theodosia (reprise)”

Album Rating **** out of 5 Stars.