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Top 10 Epic Lin-Manuel Miranda Freestyles

VO: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Cassandra Kalley
Is there anything Lin Manuel Miranda can’t do? Not only can this guy write songs, he can also spit a freestyle at the drop of a hat. For this list, we are looking at those moments that this Broadway-hit-writer dropped some of the best words to a rhythm. Be they funny or heavy with truth, this man has some thoughts to throw down. So, let’s give them a listen. We’ve included freestyles like With the Roots, free styling at the Chicago humanities festival, free styling with a student, the Emma Watson/ Lin-Manuel Miranda gender equality rap and more!

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Top 10 Lin-Manuel Miranda Freestyles

Not only can this guy write songs, he can also spit a freestyle at the drop of a hat. Welcome to MsMojo, and today, we are counting down our picks for the top ten Lin-Manuel Miranda Freestyles.

For this list, we are looking at those moments that this Broadway-hit-writer dropped some of the best words to a rhythm. Be they funny or heavy with truth, this man has some thoughts to throw down. So, let’s give them a listen.

#10: With The Roots

Not only did Lin-Manuel face off in the freestyle against The Roots on “The Tonight Show” - which we’ll get to later - but also, when the “Hamilton” instrumentals were released for sale, the band and the musical star freestyled together as a #Ham4Ham promotional. Even better, the video was recorded right in The Roots’ studio. And it is all you could ever want in a freestyle duet. Miranda and Black Thought flowed together perfectly, taking their turns on the mic without missing a beat and practically finishing each other’s sentences. Pure magic.

#9: Freestyling with a student

Yes, this Broadway star will freestyle with anyone willing to set a beat. For two days in October of 2014, Lin-Manuel Miranda visited Lawrence Academy and did a few workshops with both students and teachers about improvisation and spoken word. And on one of the nights, he did a talk and Q&A with the public. Somewhere within those two days in Groton, Massachusetts, one of the students took the mic from the podium and threw down a beat. And boy, you better believe Lin-Manuel delivered.

#8: Chicago Humanities Festival

At the 2016 Chicago Humanities Festival, Lin-Manuel Miranda made an appearance for an interview with Chris Jones. Towards the end of Miranda’s time on stage, Jones asked the master freestyler to do what he does best. And Lin-Manuel told Chris and the audience his one rule: if he’s going to freestyle, his interviewer has to beatbox. So, after some talks about the logistics, Chris Jones showed that he’s “got what it takes.” And of course, Lin-Manuel rapped about everything Chicago, from deep dish pizza to The Chicago Theatre.

#7: 5 Fingers of Death

Sway’s Universe is a radio talk show that invites people of pop culture to talk about everything that is happening in the world. So, when Sway invited Lin-Manuel Miranda on the show, they naturally chatted about music and specifically “Hamilton.” But they also talked about heavier topics like Puerto Rico hurricane relief efforts. And of course, why would it be on this list if not for freestyling? The 5 Fingers of Death is a game played on the show in which Sway throws out five random topics such as Barack Obama and Harvey Weinstein And you better believe Lin-Manuel rose to the challenge flawlessly.

#6: Barack Obama/Lin-Manuel Miranda Freestyle

With everyone else in the country getting a private freestyling show, towards the end of his presidency, Barack Obama also had to get in on the fun. So, after Lin-Manuel performed several hits from “Hamilton,” the two - along with a drummer and a filming crew - took the party to The Rose Garden. There, while the drummer hit a beat, the president held up words for the Broadway star to rap. And of course, they were words related to the government, like “POTUS” and “congress.” But Obama probably stole the moment when he dropped all sense of sophistication along with an imaginary mic, announcing, “That’s going viral.”

#5: Wheel of Freestyle

When “Hamilton” first hit Broadway to the sound of thunderous applause, Lin-Manuel was sent on the interview circuit. And somehow - we like to think it was on purpose - he ended up on Jimmy Fallon’s set twice. But we don’t mind it one bit. After all, we got to see this master freestyler take on The Wheel of Freestyle twice, a game in which three random words were selected on screen, and he had to work them all into one rap. Not only that but he had to face-off against Tariq from The Roots. And both times… well, they honestly both slayed it.

#4: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Wayne Brady Battle in Freestyle Rap

At a Broadway Cares benefit in 2015, Lin-Manuel teamed up with Wayne Brady and “Hamilton”’s original George Washington, Christopher Jackson, to freestyle a song using words given by the audience, like condom and succubus. From his years on “Whose Line Is It Anyway?,” we all know Brady knows how to work a crowd for a concept to create a song around. Jackson has a voice that could melt anyone’s heart. And of course, Lin-Manuel can deliver a darn good freestyle. So, watching these three work off of each other, playing around with words and topping each other’s already awesome talents was an absolute treat.

#3: Emma Watson/Lin-Manuel Miranda Gender Equality Rap

HeforShe is a campaign for gender equality, founded by UN Women. Of the famous names attached to this cause, one is the magical Emma Watson. And at HeforShe Arts Week in 2016, she sat down with Lin-Manuel Miranda to chat about everything from the politics at hand to, of course, “Hamilton” and “Harry Potter.” Towards the end of the interview, as expected, Watson brought up Miranda’s freestyling capabilities.And right there on that couch, the beatbox dream team was born. With Emma beatboxing - pretty darn well, we think - Lin-Manuel gave us some things to think about when it comes to equality in our world.

#2: Lin-Manuel Miranda 'Ellen' Freestyle

As evidenced on this list, Lin-Manuel Miranda has made his rounds in interviews. So, of course, he had to stop by “Ellen” in 2016. And just like almost every other interview, he had to freestyle. But Ellen, being her silly self, had to make it funny. She gave Lin-Manuel everyday life topics, like when someone doesn’t say thank you for holding a door or squeaky wheels on supermarket carts. But when it came to rapping about a shower suddenly getting cold, Miranda went one step further and threw in a hilarious line about his nipple.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions


Freestyling for Jimmy Fallon's Voicemail

#1: Freestyle Love Supreme

As we’ve proven time and time again on this list, not only will Lin-Manuel agree to show off his freestyling skills whenever possible, but he will feature other people with equal talents to his own. And our number one pick has both of these qualities to it. Freestyle Love Supreme is an entirely improved show with that night’s audience choosing the topics that are rapped about. With Miranda leading the troupe, these five performers take the audience on an awesome journey, rapping about anything from Maya Angelou to mixtapes. Plus, the troupe comes together off-set as well to rap at the College Humor headquarters or test each other’s skills, giving each other topics, like ramen.

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