Lin-Manuel Miranda dropped an unreleased Hamilton-themed Mobb Deep track, “Boom Goes the Cannon…,” for the June installment of his year-long Hamildrops series. The track features Prodigy, who died nearly one year ago on June 20th, 2017.
“Rest in peace, Prodigy. Thank you Havoc,” Miranda tweeted of the rap duo after unveiling the song late Sunday night.
Miranda said in a statement, “I feel so humbled and grateful that Havoc and Prodigy not only came to see us at the Rodgers in 2016, but were inspired to create this track before Prodigy’s untimely passing last year. Their lyrics, as ever, paint a vivid picture of friendship and solidarity in the face of overwhelming odds. I’m unbelievably proud to present new Mobb Deep music in 2018. This one’s for Queensbridge. ‘Boom Goes The Cannon…’ incorporates a sample of ‘Right Hand Man’ while Prodigy delivers his verse as George Washington, one of the characters from Hamilton.”
Havoc added, “It was an honor being part of the Hamilton project just on the strength alone I’m a huge fan of the musical; I am a history buff so it was right up my alley. This being one of the few last recordings I did with Prodigy definitely holds a special place in my heart and always will when I hear the record. Releasing the record now at this time of year after the passing of my partner in rhyme, Prodigy, is a great way to pay homage to him and continue not only Mobb’s legacy, but his as well. He’ll forever be my ‘right hand man.'”
“Boom Goes the Cannon…” borrows heavily from the lyrics of Hamilton’s “Right Hand Man,” with Havoc and Prodigy in the role of the musical’s George Washington. “There’s 32,000 troops in New York harbor. We outgunned, outmanned, and outnumbered,” the rappers say. “We a powder keg about to explode / Wish we had a man like Hamilton to lighten the load.”
Mobb Deep were one of the many hip-hop benchmarks Miranda cited while writing Hamilton. In the musical’s “My Shot,” Alexander Hamilton exclaims he’s “only nineteen but my mind is older,” a direct ode to Prodigy’s “Shook Ones Part II” boast, “I’m only 19 but my mind is old.”
It’s unclear when Mobb Deep recorded “Boom Goes the Cannon…” – itself a nod to a Busta Rhymes “Scenario” lyric – but the style of the track fits in with 2016’s The Hamilton Mixtape, which found rappers and singers reimagining Hamilton songs. Prodigy died six months after The Hamilton Mixtape‘s release.
In March, Havoc revealed on MSNBC that he was working on a new Mobb Deep album “in conjunction with [Prodigy’s] family” and that it would arrive “pretty soon, before the end of the year.”
The Prodigy estate said of “Boom Goes the Cannon…,” “The family, friends, and colleagues of Prodigy of Mobb Deep would like to give an abundance of gratitude to those who have been supportive, shown loyalty, and dedication for the past 25 Years. For his ‘Infamous’ ascendancy in Hip-Hop depicted through movies, books, and music. Above all, his advocacy on sickle cell awareness and the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle. Let’s continue to honor Prodigy, by celebrating his life and legacy.”