meta-scriptHow Lin-Manuel Miranda Bridged The Worlds Of Broadway & Hip-Hop | GRAMMY.com
How Lin-Manuel Miranda Bridged The Worlds Of Broadway & Hip-Hop
Lin-Manuel Miranda

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How Lin-Manuel Miranda Bridged The Worlds Of Broadway & Hip-Hop

"A GRAMMY Salute to 50 Years of Hip-Hop" airs Sunday, Dec. 10. During the two-hour live concert special, Miranda will offer an inside look at how and when he fell in love with hip-hop.

GRAMMYs/Dec 6, 2023 - 07:58 pm

Lin-Manuel Miranda has consistently been between worlds. 

Whether it was growing up spending the school year in Manhattan and summers in Puerto Rico; spending the early 2000s teaching seventh grade English by day while refining "In the Heights" at night; or translating parts of one of the most beloved musicals of all time into the language half of its characters would have actually spoken, Miranda has constantly been navigating a cultural and sonic divide.

But his most consistent bridging of worlds has been between Broadway and hip-hop, most notably via the groundbreaking "Hamilton." As someone equally well-versed in Sondheim and Biggie, Miranda is uniquely positioned to bring rapping to the stage, and vice-versa. 

Miranda will expound on this best-of-both-worlds mindset during a special segment on the once-in-a-lifetime "A GRAMMY Salute To 50 Years Of Hip-Hop" live concert special in which he'll give both musical theater and rap fans an inside look at how and when he fell in love with hip-hop. Airing Sunday, Dec. 10, at 8:30 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT on the CBS Television Network and streaming live and on demand on Paramount+, "A GRAMMY Salute To 50 Years Of Hip-Hop" features exclusive performances from Public Enemy, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, T.I., Gunna, Tyga, Too $hort, Latto, E-40, Big Daddy Kane, GloRilla, Three 6 Mafia, a highly anticipated reunion from hip-hop pioneers DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, and many more. The two-hour special celebrates the impactful history of hip-hop and showcases the genre's monumental cultural influence around the world.

Below are five of the ways Lin-Manuel Miranda has bridged Broadway and hip-hop culture.

Explore More Of "A GRAMMY Salute to 50 Years of Hip-Hop"

Convincing Stephen Sondheim That Rap Is The Future Of Musical Theater

Yes, musical theater's Shakespeare was aware of rap before he met Miranda. His character of the Witch in "Into the Woods" — originally brought to life by Bernadette Peters — spits some rhymes (he respectfully called his efforts an "imitation" of the genre). 

But in his 2011 memoir/book of lyrics Look, I Made a Hat, Sondheim revealed that Miranda was the one musical theater composer who might show others how to incorporate rap into the art form.

"I was never able to find another appropriate use for the technique [after 'Into the Woods'], or perhaps I didn't have the imagination to," he wrote. "Miranda does. Rap is a natural language for him and he is a master of the form, but enough of a traditionalist to know the way he can utilize its theatrical potential: he is already experimenting with it in a piece about Alexander Hamilton. This strikes me as a classic example of the way art moves forward: the blending of two conventional styles into something wholly original… It's one pathway to the future."

Starting Freestyle Love Supreme

Back in the early 2000s, during "In the Heights" rehearsals, then-recent college grads Miranda, Thomas Kail, and Anthony Veneziale used to loosen up by freestyling.

"Anthony would come in and distract us, 'Let's rap about our day!' . . . And we would just freestyle," Miranda recalled years later on "The Tonight Show." Soon, Veneziale had a second idea: they should do that in front of people. Thus, Freestyle Love Supreme was born.

The idea was simple: it was a mash-up (again with the bridge-building) between an improv troupe and a rap cipher. The extended crew of regulars and special guests eventually grew to include talents like "Hamilton" standouts Daveed Diggs and Christopher Jackson, and even Wayne Brady. The idea became so successful that FLS had its own Broadway show and Vegas residency, with Miranda still popping up frequently as a special guest. 

Making The Hamilton Mixtape

Miranda teamed up with Questlove to make "Hamilton" even more hip-hop with The Hamilton Mixtape. The project features not just covers of "Hamilton" songs by well-known pop artists, which would have been noteworthy enough. 

But more importantly for our concerns, it has a number of hip-hop reinterpretations of numbers from the show. Check out, for example, "Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)," by K'naan, Snow Tha Product, Riz MC, and Residente, which turns one line from the musical into an absolute banger. 

The project also features Nas, the Roots, Joell Ortiz, Busta Rhymes, Dave East, and many more. To make the whole thing even more hip-hop, it's mixed together by an actual mixtape DJ, J.Period. You can listen to him discuss his role here

Appearing On The Cover Of Complex With Chance The Rapper

By mid-2016, there were few rappers on the planet more perfectly positioned between success and innovation than Chance the Rapper. The Chicago emcee captured tastemakers with his exquisite 2013 mixtape Acid Rap, before jumping into the mainstream with the May 2016 release of Coloring Book. But before all that, he was just a kid who loved going to poetry open mics. 

So it made a certain kind of sense when Complex decided to pair him with Miranda for their June/July 2016 cover story. The two had a ton in common (and Chance, it turned out, was a huge "Hamilton fan" who would soon cover "Dear Theodosia" for The Hamilton Mixtape). But even more than their conversation, it was the mere fact of its public existence that ended up drawing Broadway and hip-hop a little bit closer together than they had been before that issue hit the stands.

Writing "Hamilton"

We saved the best — and most obvious — for last. Hamilton more than lived up to the potential to theatricalize rap that Sondheim saw in it. It showed that rapping could be a key, perhaps the key, part of a major musical, and that show could not only be great, but also be a giant, world-beating, Disney+-streaming hit. 

Its quotations and interpolations of classic rap songs served multiple purposes. They were in-jokes for the rap fans in the audience, an acknowledgement that this theater guy was one of us. They also provided Easter eggs for the Broadway set, a hope that maybe one day they would figure out that it wasn't originally Alexander Hamilton who described himself by saying, "I'm only 19, but my mind is old" or Thomas Jefferson who boasted, "If you don't know, now you know." 

Watch Backstage Interviews From "A GRAMMY Salute To 50 Years Of Hip-Hop" Featuring LL Cool J, Questlove, Warren G & E-40, And Many More

Songbook: A Guide To Stephen Sondheim's Essential Works & Classic Tributes
Stephen Sondheim at the Fairchild Theater in East Lansing, Michigan, in February 1997.

Photo: Douglas Elbinger/Getty Images

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Songbook: A Guide To Stephen Sondheim's Essential Works & Classic Tributes

With his name appearing in three categories at the 2024 GRAMMYs, musical theater icon Stephen Sondheim's legacy continues to thrive. Take a deep dive into the masterful works of the late composer/lyricist, from "Company" to "Sweeney Todd."

GRAMMYs/Jan 11, 2024 - 05:41 pm

Stephen Sondheim had three rules when speaking about his own writing: Less is more,  God is in the details, and content dictates form. While the first two are rather self-explanatory, when it comes to a career as storied as Sondheim's, the third begs the question, how can you possibly describe this content?

Over his lifetime, Sondheim — who lived to be 91 years old, dying of cardiovascular disease in 2021 — was first and foremost a composer and lyricist of the musical theater. He wrote music and lyrics for 16 shows, counting the posthumously produced "Here We Are," and lyrics solely for three (or four, depending on how you count) more, two of which — "West Side Story" and "Gypsy" — are among the most famous and highly-regarded productions of all time. 

Even two years since his passing, his influence is still being honored. At the 2024 GRAMMYs, Sondheim's likeness appears twice in the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album category: for Vol. 3 of the popular Broadway concert series, Sondheim Unplugged (The NYC Sessions), and for Liz Callaway's tribute project, To Steve With Love: Liz Callaway Celebrates Sondheim. What's more, the 2023 Josh Groban-starring Broadway revival of Sondheim's famed musical "Sweeney Todd" earned a nod for Best Musical Theater Album. ("Sweeney Todd" won Sondheim a GRAMMY in 1980 for Best Cast Show Album, one of seven GRAMMYs he won in his lifetime.)

All of that barely begins to describe his accomplishments. Sondheim, a protégé of lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II, revolutionized the art form that his mentor helped to invent. Hammerstein and Richard Rodgers created "Oklahoma!," considered one of the first examples of the "integrated musical," a show where the music, the lyrics, the book, and the dances all work together to tell a story. Sondheim would take those lessons to heart, simultaneously expanding and blowing apart the structure. 

Take his 1970 show "Company," for example, which has no real plot at all, and is often referred to as a "concept musical." It's a series of vignettes, and it's unclear whether they happen consecutively or are months or years apart. 

That was only the beginning of his experimentation. He did a show featuring ghosts ("Follies"), a show about cannibalism ("Sweeney Todd"), a show about geopolitics ("Pacific Overtures"), a show about historical pariahs ("Assassins"), even a show where time goes backwards ("Merrily We Roll Along"). But no matter how far out he got, there was always coherence and heart at play. Everything about the songs his characters sang — the harmonic language, the musical style, the delivery, the melody, the vocabulary, the rhyme choices — was determined by the character and the story. 

And what wonderful characters and stories they were. While his shows appeal to all ages, Sondheim's best work is mostly for adults. His characters have known disappointment, love unattainable people, are not where they saw themselves in life, and have hard choices to make in complicated situations. Sometimes they make the challenging but necessary decision to "Move On"...and sometimes they kill a President. To take those complexities and make them sing, well, that's the root of his genius.

Because Sondheim wrote both music and lyrics (and lived to his nineties), there are a nearly infinite amount of ways to experience his work. The best, of course, is to go out and see a show in person. Three of his shows are playing in New York right now ("Sweeney Todd," "Merrily We Roll Along," and "Here We Are"), and "Company" is currently on tour.

Aside from live theater, there are countless other ways to delve into the work of musical theater's Shakespeare. Below, Sondheim's career is broken down by seven categories, each of which include a mix of canonical classics and personal favorites. This is in no way comprehensive or definitive, so apologies for missing your favorite Gypsy revival cast album or Sondheim birthday concert. And away we go!

Cabaret Albums

Hearing Sondheim songs without the context of a show can be surprising at first. After all, everything about the material is meant for a particular moment in a specific story. And yet, hearing one singer interpret a range of numbers can be a revelatory experience. You can find different meanings (and in at least one case we'll examine shortly, different lyrics!), and hear new interpretations. 

The most famous interpreter of Sondheim is arguably Barbra Streisand, who recorded eight of his songs on her massively successful LP The Broadway Album (and three more on Back To Broadway). Her singing is (unsurprisingly) stunning, but what's most notable is that she actually got Sondheim to write new material — to rework "Putting It Together" to make it about a singer instead of a painter, and to write a new bridge for "Send In The Clowns." 

English singer and actress Cleo Laine released Cleo Sings Sondheim in 1988, and she smartly got Sondheim's longtime orchestrator Jonathan Tunick to conduct. So you can not only hear songs Tunick orchestrated in their original stage productions, you can also hear his arrangements of songs from before he and Sondheim started working together in 1970. Curious what a Tunick-orchestrated "Anyone Can Whistle" or "Evening Primrose" might have sounded like? You can get a taste here.

Several actors who have been in Sondheim shows have further honored his greatness by interpreting his material. Three quick examples: Bernadette Peters' superb Sondheim, Etc.: Live At Carnegie Hall; Mandy Patinkin's Mandy Patinkin Sings Sondheim; and Liz Callaway's GRAMMY-nominated To Steve With Love (which includes a great version of a nearly-forgotten comic song from "Do I Hear A Waltz?"). Patinkin's deserves special note because his only accompanist is the living musical theater jukebox pianist Paul Ford.

Books

The gold standard for books on Sondheim are the ones he wrote himself: the two-volume memoir/book of lyrics Finishing the Hat and Look, I Made a Hat. But if you're not ready for that investment yet, there are other alternatives. 

Meryle Seacrest's Stephen Sondheim: A Life is a comprehensive and extremely readable single-volume biography. It manages to reveal some aspects of Sondheim's life without feeling exploitative, and gives tremendous insight into both his work and the personal and professional relationships that informed it.

There are also a number of excellent books about the process of making individual shows; the two best come from opposite ends of the production spectrum. James Lapine, the book writer and original director of "Sunday In the Park With George," created an oral history of the making of that show called Putting It Together: How Stephen Sondheim And I Created Sunday In The Park With George. All the way on the other side of the power structure, Ted Chapin, a gofer during the rehearsal process for Follies, turned his detailed journal entries into Everything Was Possible: The Birth of the Musical Follies

On the more scholarly end, check out Joanne Gordon's Art Isn't Easy: The Achievement of Stephen Sondheim. If you really want to go all the way down the rabbit hole (and have a piano handy to play the musical examples), there's Stephen Banfield's extremely thorough Sondheim's Broadway Musicals.

Movies

Turning a stage musical into a movie can be a tricky business; some of the greatest shows have been turned into middling films. The less said about the movie versions of "Sweeney Todd" or "Into the Woods," the better (though it should be noted, in its defense, that Sondheim himself actually liked the former). The movie version of "A Little Night Music" is so forgotten that it's basically impossible to find.

But there are some marvelous Sondheim-related films. Most famous, of course, is West Side Story, the 1961 movie of which was so popular — and acclaimed, winning a whopping 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, in 1962 — that it turned a successful but risky Broadway show into an immortal classic. It also inspired several remakes: not just the Oscar-nominated, Spielberg-directed one from 2021, but even a late-'70s Egyptian adaptation. The 1990 movie Dick Tracy contained five Sondheim songs, three of which were sung by Madonna, successfully introducing countless '80s babies to his work.

The Last of Sheila contains no music, so it's a bit of an oddity here. But Sondheim turned his lifelong obsession with games and puzzles into a fun murder mystery movie, co-written with Anthony Perkins. When you watch this 1973 gem, you might recognize some themes and ideas that would later show up in the Knives Out series, in particular Glass Onion (director/writer Rian Johnson has been very open about this).

Speaking of Perkins, he is the star of one of Sondheim's great filmed musicals, the disturbing "Evening Primrose." He plays a young poet who sneaks into a department store after hours so that he can have some privacy to write. What he discovers there is funny, heartbreaking, and ultimately horrifying. Think The Twilight Zone with songs written by a genius. 

Finally, no mention of Sondheim and movies would be complete without D.A. Pennebaker's 1970 documentary Original Cast Album: "Company." It is, at root, Pennebaker and crew filming the recording of "Company"'s cast album. But it's so much more than that. It's about how, as Sondheim once said, "Art isn't easy," and how the actors and musicians are trying — under several very watchful sets of eyes, including the composer/lyricist's — to do the near-impossible in a very limited time. The film has become so iconic that the satirical series Documentary Now! did a hysterical 25-minute-long parody, complete with original songs that are loving send-ups of "Company" numbers.

Tributes/Anthologies

This category combines two similar types of projects. First is the tribute concert, where a bunch of notable singers come together on a single night and each do one or a few songs. Then there are anthologies, where a small group of performers put together a show using songs originally meant for other purposes. Sometimes they have plots, and sometimes they're revues. 

Among the best of the latter category is "Side by Side by Sondheim," the 1976 revue in which three English singers strung together an extremely well-chosen and well-sequenced collection of songs. This was the show that really cemented Sondheim's reputation in England, and justly so. 

In the big one-night-only category, 1992's Sondheim: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall is right up there at the top of the list. The array of talent at that one show is simply unbelievable, and will never be duplicated. Sondheim regulars like Betty Buckley and Bernadette Peters were there, but so were Liza Minelli and Billy Stritch; Patti LuPone; ballet legend Robert LaFosse; Glenn Close; Karen Ziemba; and even the Boys Choir of Harlem, all roped in to perform some of the finest songs in the musical theater canon.

Sondheim's 90th birthday celebration is also noteworthy. Because it was in the early days of the pandemic, it was all done remotely. The actual live broadcast was a bit of a mess, with false starts and tech snafus (hey, who knew how to work Zoom in April 2020?). Luckily, Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration has been edited down and archived on Broadway.com's YouTube page, and is well worth your time.

Revivals/Concert Productions

Another convenient bridging of categories here. Revivals are versions of shows done after the original production has stopped running. Concert productions are exactly that: people perform all the songs, with minimal (or sometimes no) staging or costumes. The amount of dialogue performed can vary wildly as well. 

Among concert productions, the 1985 New York Philharmonic concert cast recording of "Follies" is justly the most well-known. This is in part because, due to budget restrictions, the original cast recording of "Follies" doesn't contain most of the show's music. So to finally have a full recording of all the material — performed by a who's who of actors including Mandy Patinkin, Barbara Cook, Lee Remick, George Hearn, Elaine Stritch, Jim Walton, and even the legendary writing team of Comden and Green — well, it's as magnificent as it sounds. There's even a documentary to go along with it. 

Another of the top concert recordings arrived a decade later: the 1995 concert version of "Anyone Can Whistle." Angela Lansbury, who starred in the original Broadway production for all of the nine performances it lasted, comes back as the narrator. Bernadette Peters and Madeline Kahn are absolutely incredible, and have an all-time-great duet in the usually cut song "There's Always a Woman," gloriously restored for this production. If you really want to get deep into "…Whistle" (a flop at the time, but a fascinating show), there's also a complete recording released in 2020 that is the closest thing to what you might have experienced in the theater in 1964 — it even restores all the dance music.

Revivals…well, where to start? A good place would be one you can see right now, "Merrily We Roll Along." There is a superb cast recording of the production currently playing on Broadway with Jonathan Groff, Lindsay Mendez, and Daniel Radcliffe

There have been a handful of major reimaginings of "Company" over the years. The best were a stripped-down version where the cast plays its own instruments, and a gender-swapped one where inveterate bachelor Bobby is portrayed as perpetually single woman Bobbie. 

Points also go to the 2004 Broadway cast recording of "Assassins," and not just because Neil Patrick Harris does such a great job. The whole album captures the project's challenging beauty.

Original Cast Recordings

An original cast album of a Sondheim show will reveal countless treasures if you dig into it. It is often the best way to hear a show, since the actors are the ones who originated the roles, whether it's Ethel Merman as the obsessed stage mother Mama Rose in "Gypsy" or Donna Murphy as the tortured Fosca in "Passion." 

The 1970s have a surfeit of treasures. To take a few not yet mentioned, there's "Sweeney Todd," with timeless performances by Angela Lansbury and Len Cariou; and "A Little Night Music," perhaps Sondheim's ultimate example of writing music for character. It's nearly impossible to hear the show's two main female characters as anyone else but the late Glynis Johns as the actress Desiree Armfeldt and Hermione Gingold as her mother.

If you haven't already heard the original cast recordings of "Gypsy" and "West Side Story," do so immediately. Both are iconic pieces of 20th century art. (Music for the former is by Jule Styne, and for the latter by Leonard Bernstein).

Proshots

Luckily, productions — many featuring the original casts — of many of Sondheim's shows have been captured on tape, so you can see and hear them in their entirety. They are often referred to as "proshots," a portmanteau of "professionally shot." 

"Pacific Overtures" works well as an album, but it really comes alive when you can see the gorgeous staging. "Sweeney Todd" gains extra comedy and menace in its proshot. There's a New York City Opera version of "A Little Night Music" that is masterful. You can't really understand "Passion" without seeing Donna Murphy. "Merrily We Roll Along"'s complicated story becomes comprehensible when viewing the filmed revival.

But the most unmissable are two of the 1980s productions. There's "Sunday In the Park With George," a classic meditation on the life of the artist Georges Seurat starring Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters; it was filmed for TV in 1986. Because this is a show largely about a painter and the creation of his most famous painting, actually seeing the show — literally seeing the painting come to life — is essential.

Arguably the most important of all, though, is the filmed play that introduced generations of children to Sondheim's work. His fairy tale show "Into the Woods" was taped in 1989 (though not aired until 1991), and its frequent TV showings have made it a gateway drug for theatergoers ever since. 

The show is not just a collection of children's tales and songs. It uses the background of those stories to really delve into uncomfortable truths about parents and children, growing up, consequences, and what it really means to be good. Its themes, music, and sophistication, all while still being absolutely appropriate for, and speaking to, children, make it, as scholar Stephen Banfield wrote in 1993, "Sondheim's finest achievement yet."

That "yet" is a lot sadder now than it was when Banfield wrote it. But the show still stands as the epitome of a legendary writer and genius composer — one whose legacy and songs are already proving to live on past his lifetime. 

How Lin-Manuel Miranda Bridged The Worlds Of Broadway & Hip-Hop

GRAMMY Rewind: Chance The Rapper Thanks SoundCloud For "Holding It Down" After Winning Best Rap Album In 2017
photo: Getty Images

photo: Getty Images

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GRAMMY Rewind: Chance The Rapper Thanks SoundCloud For "Holding It Down" After Winning Best Rap Album In 2017

As one of the most prolific independent musicians, Chance the Rapper couldn't help but thank streaming and distribution platform SoundCloud after 'Coloring Book' won a GRAMMY.

GRAMMYs/Oct 20, 2023 - 05:00 pm

The 2017 GRAMMYs were certainly a life-changing evening for Chance the Rapper. The hip-hop star walked into the ceremony with a whopping seven nominations and took home three golden gramophones, including Best New Artist and Best Rap Performance for his single "No Problem," featuring Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz.

In this episode of GRAMMY Rewind, revisit the moment Chance the Rapper took home his third win of the evening for Best Rap Album for his mixtape Coloring Book

"I didn't think that we were going to get this one, so I don't have cool stuff to say this time," he quipped as he hit the stage alongside his former manager Pat Corcoran and music director Peter CottonTale.

Chance began by expressing his appreciation to God "for everything He's ever accomplished for me" before showing love for his family and friends.

"This is for every indie artist — everybody who's been doing this mixtape stuff for a long a— time," the rapper exclaimed. "Shout-out to Soundcloud for holding it down. It's another one, baby!"

Press play on the video above to watch Chance the Rapper's gracious speech for Best Rap Album at the 2017 GRAMMY Awards, and check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of GRAMMY Rewind.

50 Artists Who Changed Rap: Jay-Z, The Notorious B.I.G., Dr. Dre, Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem & More

The Soundtrack Hit Makes A Comeback: How 'Encanto,' 'Top Gun' & ‘Black Panther’ Went From Chart-Toppers To GRAMMY Nominations

Photo: RgStudio via GettyImages

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The Soundtrack Hit Makes A Comeback: How 'Encanto,' 'Top Gun' & ‘Black Panther’ Went From Chart-Toppers To GRAMMY Nominations

The once-golden bridge between Hollywood and Billboard has been quiet in recent years, perhaps due in part to the pandemic. But over the past 12 months, that trend has been truly broken.

GRAMMYs/Jan 23, 2023 - 04:15 pm

It’s the kind of development even an animated fortune teller voiced by John Leguizamo couldn’t have predicted.

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 2021 animated film Encanto was all-conquering, and its success also touched the Billboard charts. The film's "We Don't Talk About Bruno" entered the first Hot 100 chart of 2022 at No. 50, quickly becoming a record-breaking, multi-million-selling phenomenon. It also led to the renaissance of a particular crossover: the soundtrack hit.

With the domestic box office now showing signs of returning to pre-COVID days, the soundtrack single has, once again, become a key marketing tool and chart staple. The nominees for Best Song Written For Visual Media at the 2023 GRAMMYs are proof: Four of the six nominated songs charted on the Billboard Hot 100, with "We Don't Talk About Bruno" sitting at No. 1 for five weeks — the highest tally for a soundtrack release in seven years. (Aladdin favorite "A Whole New World" is also in the exclusive club of Disney animation No. 1s.)

2022 spawned five Top 10  hits from film soundtracks — a feat last achieved in 2018 via Kendrick Lamar’s Black Panther collabs with the Weeknd ("Pray for Me") and SZA ("All the Stars"), Swae Lee and Post Malone’s "Sunflower" (Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse), Khalid & Normani’s "Love Lies" (Love, Simon), and the A Star Is Born cut "Shallow." Yet the once-golden bridge between Hollywood and Billboard was quiet in the intervening years, perhaps due in part to the pandemic.  Not one TV or movie tie-in graced the Top 10 in 2021 or 2020. And although Oscar-winning “Shallow” reached pole position in 2019, it began its chart trajectory the year previously.

Over the past 12 months, however, this drought has been well and truly broken. And for a while, single-handedly by Encanto.

The Encanto OST picked up three GRAMMY nominations — Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media, Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media and Best Song Written For Visual Media for "Bruno" and spawned seven Hot 100 singles, including another Top 10 smash, "Surface Pressure." Not bad for an album which in its first week entered the charts at No. 197.

Unlike the inescapable "Let It Go" from 2013's Disney juggernaut Frozen, the success of "Bruno" happened more organically. Its chart and streaming dominance wasn't steered by record executives, but by the public who deemed it more stream-worthy than any other track from the film. The biggest soundtrack from a live-action film, Top Gun: Maverick, told a similar story.

Lady Gaga’s power ballad "Hold My Hand" was primed to replicate the chart-topping, Academy Award-winning success of Berlin’s "Take My Breath Away" from the 1986 original. But while Gaga's lead single received a Best Song Written For Visual Media nomination at the 65th GRAMMY Awards, its chart peak was overwhelmingly eclipsed by OneRepublic’s "I Ain’t Worried."

The uptempo Peter, Bjorn and John-sampling track played over key scene where Tom Cruise, Glen Powell and Miles Teller play football shirtless on the beach, and became Ryan Tedder and co.’s biggest hit since 2013’s "Counting Stars" (No. 6 on Hot 100, over 660 million streams). The synergy between moviegoers and OneRepublic fans caught the band's record label off guard; Interscope pulled promotion of then-current single "West Coast" to capitalize on all the buzz.

2022 also witnessed a return-to-form from pop music-savvy director Baz Luhrmann, whose expert curation helped Romeo and Juliet, Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby spawn radio hits. Luhrmann was never going to give his Elvis Presley biopic a traditional soundtrack; instead he favored a mix of nostalgia and anachronism.

Elvis is peppered with songs performed by The King himself, as well as covers sung by former teen idol/lead actor Austin Butler and a host of newcomers and established artists. Yet the film's sole Top 10 hit was contemporary: Doja Cat's "Hound Dog"-sampling "Vegas." For Luhrmann's vision, Elvis was nominated alongside Encanto, "Stranger Things," Top Gun: Maverick and West Side Story for Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media GRAMMY Award.

Even Rihanna came out of self-imposed musical retirement for a film soundtrack, releasing the lead single from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in late October. While the dramatic balladry of "Lift Me Up" might not have been the floor-filling banger many fans hoped for — the song is Rihanna's first solo single in six years — it still returned the Barbadian to the upper echelons of the hit parade, reaching No. 2.

No stranger to the film soundtrack, Taylor Swift’s contribution to haunting drama Where the Crawdads Sing, "Carolina," is also nominated in the Best Song Written for Visual Media category alongside "Nobody Like U" — Turning Red’s fictional boyband song co-penned by Billie Eilish. And while the monolithic state of the comic book universe has rarely translated to the singles chart, The Batman’s use of Nirvana’s "Something In The Way" catapulted 1992's Nevermind up the charts.

As movie hits were abundant, so were songs featured in big-time TV shows — bringing new songs and decades-old hits back into public consciousness. Chief among these small screen-to-chartoppers was  Kate Bush's 1985 single "Running Up That Hill," which played over a significant moment in the mammoth fourth season of Netflix’s "Stranger Things."

The song was the British singer/songwriter's first Top 40 hit in the U.S., peaking at No. 30 on the Hot 100 in the '80s. Nearly 30 years later, without any label backing, the majestic synth-pop classic enjoyed a much-deserved second wind, shooting all the way up to No. 3 faster than you can say "flesh-eating Demogorgon."

The sci-fi nostalgia-fest also gave another, although much heavier, ‘80s gem a new lease of life when Joseph Quinn’s Eddie Munson shredded Metallica’s "Master of Puppets" in its season finale. The thrash metal favorite subsequently enjoyed a belated chart debut at No. 35, returning the headbangers to the Hot 100 for the first time in 14 years.

Elsewhere, video game adaptation "Arcane" spawned the first TV theme hit in eons with unlikely dream team Imagine Dragons and JID’s "Enemy," while "Euphoria" regular Labrinth scored a chart hit with "I’m Tired," a gospel-tinged song he performs in the second season's fourth episode as Zendaya's Rue imagines entering a church. The new golden age of television combined with the return to multiplexes ensured that 2022 was a banner year for the OST.

2023 looks promising, too: Dua Lipa is rumored to be contributing to Barbie’s long-awaited cinematic debut; Disney is set to give The Little Mermaid the live-action treatment featuring Chloe x Halle’s Halle Bailey; and several franchises that previously spawned No. 1 soundtrack songs have new installments on the way (The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Fast X). Regardless, expect the soundtrack hit renaissance to continue growing like the "grapes that thrive on the vine."

Watch The 2022 Nominees For Best Song Written For Visual Media Nominees At The 2023 GRAMMY Awards

GRAMMY Rewind: Chance The Rapper Highlights Faith And Gratitude As He Wins A Best New Artist GRAMMY In 2017
Chance the Rapper holds his GRAMMY Award after winning Best New Artist in 2017.

Photo: The Recording Academy

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GRAMMY Rewind: Chance The Rapper Highlights Faith And Gratitude As He Wins A Best New Artist GRAMMY In 2017

At the 59th GRAMMY Awards, Chance the Rapper brought home his very first trophies — and as he accepted his Best New Artist GRAMMY, he made sure God and his longtime supporters were given the spotlight.

GRAMMYs/Dec 9, 2022 - 06:08 pm

The 2017 GRAMMY Awards marked a big career moment for Chance the Rapper. Not only did he walk in as a seven-time nominee, but he won his first GRAMMYs that night — and not just one, but three.

In this episode of GRAMMY Rewind, revisit Chance the Rapper’s acceptance speech for his Best New Artist GRAMMY. Flanked by his then-manager Pat Corcoran and his music director Peter CottonTale, the rapper — whose birth name is Chancelor Bennett — expressed gratitude for both of those team members in his speech, but put his faith front and center. 

"Glory be to God. I claim this victory in the name of the Lord," he began. "I wanna thank God for my mother and my father, who supported me since I was young."

The Chicago-born star then listed the names of more people who helped him get to where he is today, offering special thanks to "all of Chicago" for being his geographic launchpad into his musical career. "And I wanna thank God for putting amazing people in my life like Pete and Pat, who have carried me since 2012," Bennett continued, pointing to the two men standing behind him.

As music started to play — indicating that it was time for the rapper to conclude his speech — he joked that he wasn't going to stop talking until he'd finished what he wanted to say. "Oh, I'm gonna talk. Y'all can play the music if you want," he said with a smile.

After giving God one more shout-out, Bennett thanked his team for helping him remain an independent artist — a very successful one at that. "I know people think independence means you do it by yourself, but independence means freedom. I do it with these folks right here."

That night Bennett also won GRAMMYs for Best Rap Performance for "No Problem" (with Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz) as well as Best Rap Album for his 2016 mixtape, Coloring Book

Press play on the video above to watch the rapper's full Best New Artist acceptance speech, and check back to GRAMMY.com every Friday for more new episodes of GRAMMY Rewind. 

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