The blurb accompanying the honor on Rollingstone.com commits the common sin of calling it a "soundtrack," but adds, "Even if you didn't get to see the show, the soundtrack album still works as a fantastically fun ride of its own. It helps that the Caribbean-born orphan who became our first Treasury Secretary lived a perfect hip-hop life – hustling his way from poverty to 'young, scrappy and hungry' New York success story, fighting a bitter North-South regional battle with Thomas Jefferson and finally going down at the hands of punk-ass Aaron Burr when beef turned lethal. In Hamilton, the complex policy debates of the early Republic are rendered in verses worthy of Kanye. But along with being outrageously thrilling living history, it projects brilliantly into our own election season. As Hamilton and Marquis de Lafayette sing after whooping ass on the British: 'Immigrants, we get the job done.' Take notice, King Donald."
So what are some of the albums that Rolling Stone considers superior to Hamilton? Jason Isbell's "Something More Than Free," The Weeknd's "Beauty Behind the Madness," Drake's "If You're Reading This It's Too Late," Adele's "25" and, at number one for the year, Kendrick Lamar's "To Pimp a Butterfly."
The Billboard website listed Hamilton at #1 on the chart for rap albums for the week of Nov. 28.
Hamilton debuted in late October at #12 on the Billboard 200 chart for the week, the highest debut for a cast recording since the chart combined mono and stereo tallies in 1963. It was also the #3 best-selling rap album that week, an unprecedented feat for a Broadway cast album.
The album also debuted at #1 on the Cast Album chart, #5 on Digital Albums and #9 on Top Album Sales.
Billboard called that feat "eye-popping" and "historic."
A fusion of hip-hop, pop and musical theatre, the album was released digitally Sept. 25 and physically Oct. 16.
The new musical by Tony Award-winning In the Heights star and creator Lin-Manuel Miranda explores the life of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. Inspired by the book "Alexander Hamilton" by Ron Chernow, the musical incorporates historical figures such as George Washington, Aaron Burr, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson.
The album was produced by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson and Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter, founding members of the Grammy-winning hip-hop band, The Roots.
"Ten minutes into Hamilton, though, I was just so stunned. It was such a sucker punch," Thompson said. Trotter added that the musical and its varied, contemporary score "can be your introduction to hip-hop — on Broadway. And it's a valid one. It's a credible one."
Hamilton began performances July 13. It opened to critical raves Aug. 6.
The track listing follows:
"Aaron Burr, Sir"
"The Story Of Tonight"
"The Schuyler Sisters"
"You'll Be Back"
"Right Hand Man"
"A Winter's Ball"
"The Story of Tonight (Reprise)"
"Wait For It"
"Ten Duel Commandments"
"Meet Me Inside"
"That Would Be Enough"
"Guns and Ships"
"History Has Its Eyes On You"
"Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)"
"What Comes Next"
"What'd I Miss"
"Cabinet Battle #1"
"Take A Break"
"Say No To This"
"The Room Where It Happens"
"Cabinet Battle #2"
"Washington On Your Side"
"One Last Time"
"I Know Him"
"The Adams Administration"
"The Reynolds Pamphlet"
"Blow Us All Away"
"Stay Alive (Reprise)"
"It's Quiet Uptown"
"Election of 1800"
"Your Obedient Servant"
"Best of Wives and Best of Women"
"The World Was Wide Enough"
"Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story"
In addition to Miranda, the company includes Jonathan Groff (Spring Awakening) as King George, Phillipa Soo (Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812) as Eliza Hamilton, Christopher Jackson (In the Heights) as George Washington, Leslie Odom Jr. ("Smash") as Aaron Burr, Renée Elise Goldsberry (The Color Purple) as Angelica Schuyler, Daveed Diggs (In the Red and Brown Water) as Marquis De Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson, Anthony Ramos (Sideways Stories from Wayside School) as John Laurens/Phillip Hamilton, Jasmine Cephas Jones as Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds, Javier Muñoz as Hamilton alternate and Okieriete Onaodowan as Hercules Mulligan/James Madison.
Also featured are Carleigh Bettiol, Andrew Chappelle, Ariana Debose, Alysha Deslorieux, Sydney James Harcourt, Neil Haskell, Sasha Hutchings, Thayne Jasperson, Stephanie Klemons, Morgan Marcell, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Jon Rua, Austin Smith, Seth Stewart, Betsy Struxness, Ephraim Sykes and Voltaire Wade-Greene.
Miranda is the Tony and Grammy Award-winning composer-lyricist of In the Heights. The musical earned four 2008 Tony Awards, including Best Score and Best Musical. Miranda also earned a Best Actor Tony nomination for his performance as Usnavi. In the Heights was also recognized as a Finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in Drama. Miranda is the co-composer (with Tom Kitt) and co-lyricist (with Amanda Green) of the Tony-nominated Bring it On: The Musical. In addition, Miranda translated some of Stephen Sondheim's original lyrics into Spanish for the 2009 Broadway revival of West Side Story and wrote additional songs for the Off-Broadway revival of Stephen Schwartz's Working.