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WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 14: Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and star of the Broadway musical HAMILTON, conduct a question-and-answer session with students in the East Room of the White House March 14, 2016 in Washington, DC. Members of the cast participated in a student workshop, student question-and-answer session and a performance of selections from the award winning musical. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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How Lin-Manuel Miranda's 'Hamilton' Marked A Tipping Point In White House Culture

"What do our favorite hip-hop artists do if not write about the struggle so well that they transcend them?"

"If the White House calls you to perform something and you've got a good 16 bars on Alexander Hamilton in your pocket, you've got to do it," is what Lin-Manuel Miranda said about the first time he performed Hamilton for the First Family, seven years ago today.

On a gloomy Monday morning, the air hung thick and wet as I waited to enter the White House for the first time. An invitation by cryptic language had come in just days prior via email. What I didn't realize, and what Michelle Obama would soon explain in her opening remarks, was that Lin-Manuel's Hamilton started off as just a single mixtape performed at a poetry event that the Obamas hosted circa 2009. The occasion, which also featured Mayda del Valle, Esperanza Spalding and Jamaica Osorio to name a few, marked a turning of the tide in White House culture.

A photo posted by Hamilton (@hamiltonmusical) on

"We started with an event on all the art forms," said FLOTUS as Miranda, Daveed Diggs, Christopher Jackson and Phillipa Soo held court inside the State Dining Room. "Think painting, music, culture, spoken word, and especially art forms that had never been seen in these [White House] walls.

"Seven years ago today, the President and I brought Lin here to perform his mixtape, which we were skeptical about at first," she admitted earlier, alluding that she and Obama hadn't been entirely sold on the whole Alexander Hamilton rap thing.

The room, now packed with equal parts high school students, supporting members of the cast and press, broke out in applause as the First Lady closed out and Miranda approached center stage to say a few words on the importance of Hamilton and why his life isn't some black and white memory from a distant past.

The world turned upside down. #Bam4Ham #SoundCheck

A photo posted by Hamilton (@hamiltonmusical) on

"What I recognized when I picked up the book was someone who had a remarkable life. At the end of the second chapter he writes that essay that gets him off the island and I go 'if this guy's life isn't a musical, I don't know what is.' I know this dude," explained the playwright, "and I think he's a rapper. It's funny if you watch the footage of when I first performed in this room, I say the same thing and the crowd laughs. But what do our favorite hip-hop artists do if not write about the struggle so well that they transcend them?"

Miranda and his crew went on to perform special selections of the sold out musical for the Obamas and friends. Talk about coming full circle.

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B-Real, DJ Muggs, Sen Dog, Eric Bobo of Cypress Hill attend a ceremony honoring Cypress Hill With Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame on April 18, 2019 in Hollywood, California.
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It's About Time: Cypress Hill Receives Star On Hollywood Walk Of Fame

Cypress Hill doesn't always get the credit they deserve for their impact on hip-hop history, but they've been honored forever with a revered star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

With a career of 30 years, the legacy of the four-man group of B-Real, DJ Muggs, Sen Dog, and Eric Bobo (along with former member Mellow Man Ace) includes six platinum albums and 90s zeitgeist songs like "How I Could Just Kill A Man," "Insane In The Brain," and "Hand On The Pump." They released their self-titled debut in 1991 and the chart-topping follow-up Black Sunday two years later,  and have continued creating ever since, releasing their ninth and latest album Elephants On Acid in September 2018. Cypress Hill are considered West Coast rap legends, and the first Latino rap group to have multiple gold and platinum records. Anchored by Muggs' gloomy, gritty production and B-Real's nasal, charismatic rhymes, Cypress Hill is as much a part of rap history as anyone.

The group's ceremony included speeches from Latino comedian George Lopez and fellow West Coast rap legend Xzibit, who said 'it's about time' before detailing the group's illustrious career.

Xzibit pointed out Cypress Hill not only brought Latino representation in an industry that largely lacked it, but that they were staunch marijuana advocates way before today's growing legalization.

"The Grammy-nominated group showed us stoned is indeed the way of the walk. Long before the days of legal dispensaries and medical marijuana, Cypress Hill were advocates of that sticky icky icky oooh wee!" Xzibit shared. "...Cypress Hill are pioneers in their own right. Their accomplishments and accolades reach deep in the roots and history books of hip-hop, and today is another chapter in that saga. Yo B-Real, Sen Dog, Muggs, Bobo: you are our Rolling Stones, Ungrateful Dead, you are the West Coast Public Enemy."

Lopez insisted that out of all the 2,600 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, "there are none more important than the one we're about to unveil for Cypress Hill. There's a lot of actors, there's a lot of comedians, there's a lot of entertainers who are on this (Walk of Fame). But there's only one cypress hill, the first Latino hip-hop group. But to everyone who lives the American dream, not the last Latino hip-hop group to ever be on the Hollywood Walk of Fame."

Cypress Hill's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is unveiled pic.twitter.com/cNtpIUd8Xg

— Variety (@Variety) April 18, 2019

Xzibit says "it's about time" that Cypress Hill gets their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame pic.twitter.com/DHap9UkzXq

— Variety (@Variety) April 18, 2019

George Lopez says there are 2,600 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but "none more important than the star we are about to unveil for Cypress Hill" pic.twitter.com/wuaakjKp6u

— Variety (@Variety) April 18, 2019

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Cypress Hill To Make History With Star On Hollywood Walk Of Fame

After 30 years in hip-hop, Cypress Hill is due to make history with their latest accolade. The multi-platinum selling group is set to become the first Latino American hip-hop collective to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The induction ceremony, presented by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, takes place on April 18 in front of Greenleaf Restaurant located on Hollywood Blvd.

George Lopez and Xzibit will help unveil the star alongside Rana Ghadban, president & CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. The free ceremony is open to the public and will be live streamed via WalkofFame.com.

“We are proud to honor the first Latino American hip-hop recording group,” said Ana Martinez, Producer of the Hollywood Walk of Fame said in a press release. “They have been successful as a group for three decades and we know they will continue their success for many years to come.”

Cypress Hill, comprised of B Real, Sen Dog, DJ Muggs, and Eric “Bobo” Correa, is noted as the first Latino-American hip-hop group to have platinum and multi-platinum selling albums with more than 18 million records worldwide. In the early 1990s, Cypress Hill became the first rap group to have two albums in the Billboard 200 thanks to the success of their self-titled double-platinum debut and their sophomore effort, Black Sunday. The album went on to sell more than three million copies and spawned the rap classic “Insane in the Membrane.”

Cypress Hill released their ninth studio album, Elephants On Acid, last year. Following the Walk of Fame induction ceremony, the group will perform at the famous Whiskey a Go Go club in Hollywood.

 

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Join us for our induction to the Hollywood Walk of Fame!

A post shared by Cypress Hill (@cypresshill) on Apr 9, 2019 at 11:36am PDT

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Miguel

Miguel Drops Spanish-Language EP 'Te Lo Dije'

In an ode to his Mexican heritage, Miguel has released a five-track project that is the Spanish/Spanglish version of his 2017 War & Leisure album. Te Lo Dije features collaborations with fellow Spanish-speaking artists Kali Uchis, C. Tangana, Dante Spintetta and Emmanuel Horvilleur, as well as Mexican Mariachi girl band, Flor de Toloache.

Miguel's Spanish-language project is one that he has been teasing his fans with, hence the name of the EP, Te Lo Dije. The phrase means "I told you so" in Spanish and also happens to be the name of a song on the EP. On this collaborative effort, Miguel is mixing in his R&B vibes with his Latin ties, so for fans looking for a mixture of both, they can listen the Spanish version of his hit, "Sky Walker" featuring Spinetta and Horvilleur. Uchis can also be found on "Carmelo Duro" showing off her Colombian roots.

This is the 33-year-old artist's first Spanish-language project and he even said that he thinks he likes "these songs better in Spanish." The R&B artist took to his Instagram account to his express his excitement on Te Lo Dije, as well as give props to people who helped him through the process.

"FIRST RELEASE OF THE YEAR," he wrote. "TE LO DIJE (a selection of songs off of W&L en español)."

 

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FIRST RELEASE OF THE YEAR ! TE LO DIJE (a selection of songs off of W&L en español) I want to thank my cousin @yeyasmiles and @flordetoloache, @kaliuchis and @c.tangana and everyone that helped me translate these songs 🙏🏾. I think you might like these better in Spanish. Enjoy . Love you

A post shared by Miguel TV 📺 (@miguel) on Apr 5, 2019 at 9:22am PDT

Make sure to listen to Te Lo Dije here.

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