Ashanti and Ja Rule reunited to close out a special party Thursday afternoon to celebrate the upcoming release of “The Hamilton Mixtape” (Atlantic), a collection of songs either from the celebrated musical or inspired by it.
“Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda has said Grammy-winning Glen Cove native Ashanti and her longtime collaborator Ja Rule inspired the song “Helpless” with their string of hits like “Always on Time.” The duo delivered the song like it was one of their own — drawing cheers when Rule changed a lyric to reference Queens.
R&B newcomer Andra Day, singer-songwriter Regina Spektor and members of The Roots, who collaborated on the album with Miranda, were also on hand at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway to mark the album’s release on Friday.
“We can’t wait for you to hear it,” said The Roots’ Black Thought, adding that the project has been in the works for more than a year.
Kelly Clarkson, Sia and Usher are among the other A-listers who contributed to the mixtape, which Miranda has hinted may be the first in a series.
Miranda tweeted that the party was “as much a surprise to me as it is to y’all,” as he was in London for the British premiere of his movie “Moana.” He also posted a video of his reaction to watching Ashanti and Ja Rule’s performance and tweeted that Andra Day’s dramatic version of “Burn,” where she hit towering notes and also dropped her pink fur coat, left him in tears.