a note on burr’s intellect and how it’s portrayed musically
i’m only going to be talking about burr’s short verse in my shot bc otherwise this would be ten miles long, but let me just say: lin-manuel miranda is a fucking genius. (warning, this is going to be a long post.)
as far as i recall, this is the only time burr raps in the narrative. and it’s 4 measures to tell hamilton and crew to shut up, in a language they’ll understand (rap), after being asked in the previous song to rap a bit.
just for a second, let me talk about internal rhyme.
internal rhyme is a component of rap that’s exactly what it sounds like: the rhymes within a verse that don’t fall in line with the ends of the phrases. they can still rhyme with the ends of the phrases too, but they aren’t on the ends of the phrases. (most of the time, you’ll notice internal rhymes because there’ll be emphasis on the rhymed syllables.)
now, hamilton’s verses are laden with internal rhyme: i could cite a billion examples, but i’ll only pull one for now.
“older”, “colder”, and “shoulder” are grouped together in the same rhyme scheme, with “shoulder” being the main source of internal rhyme.
similarly, “(disad)vantage”, “manage”, “brandish”, and “famished” are all in the same rhyme scheme, with “manage” being the main source of internal rhyme (although it can be argued that “brandish” is too because of the way it plows through the end of the phrase there with the straight sixteenth notes.) (also, shoutout to those polysyllabic rhymes for showcasing hamilton’s intelligence.)
now we’ll take a look at hamilton’s crew’s verses. start with lafayette:
there’s not really internal rhyme in here. because of his accent, lafayette can pull rhyming “france” and “’on(archy)”, but that’s about it. not surprising; he’s not unintelligent, it’s just that he’s still figuring out english.
mulligan’s got a bit of internal rhyme going on with “chance”, “(ad)vance”, and “pants”. the “so(cially)” and “sew(in’)” could be argued too, but the fact that the emphasis is placed on the “ly” of socially and not on the “so” makes it hard to argue.
then of course, laurens:
laurens, getting up there with hamilton and bringing in some polysyllabic rhymes! we’ve got “truly free” and “you and me”; “you and i” and “do or die”; “sally in”, “stallion”, and “battalion”. that’s three different rhyme schemes, so good for you– but then, we’d expect a good command of the english from someone who helped hamilton write essays.
now, finally, we get to burr:
“gen(iuses)” and “keep”. “trouble” and “double”. “with” and “sit(uation)”. that’s already three internal rhymes, completely separate from the end rhyme. (he fits a polysyllabic rhyme in there too with “trouble” and “double”.)
and then the internal rhyme that goes with the end rhyme?
“fraught”, “got”, “taught”, “talk”, and “shot”.
that’s five instances of rhyming in two measures. let me repeat that: five instances of rhyming in two measures. the example i cited has hamilton doing four instances of rhyme in three measures.
burr’s intelligence and command of the english language is at least on par with hamilton’s, if not greater, as evidenced later by their partnership as lawyers; but lin-manuel miranda manages to portray that just in four measures.
that’s how to develop a character musically.