science fiction land

English is the largest of the human tongues, with several times the vocabulary of the second largest language - this alone made it inevitable that English would eventually become, as it did, the lingua franca of this planet, for it is thereby the richest and the most flexible - despite its barbaric accretions…or, I should say, because of its barbaric accretions. English swallows up anything that comes its way, makes English out of it. Nobody tried to stop this process, the way some languages are policed and have official limits…probably because there never has been, truly, such a thing as ‘the King’s English’ - for the King’s English was French. English was in truth a bastard tongue and nobody cared how it grew…and it did! - enormously.
—  Robert Heinlein, Stranger In A Strange Land
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“Yeah, it’s been cool to have some new eyes on this thing,” Diggs said.

But in the wake of his “Hamilton” breakout, he’s applying a similar lesson from that show: “You should never underestimate your audience.”


“The thing we do in this band is to push genres as far as we can,” Diggs said.

Snipes agreed: “We make the most accessible music possible using the harshest possible sounds.”


It’s not a topical record per se, but given the current conversations about policing and racism, and “Hamilton’s” radical revision of how race is seen in American history, its horror-flecked science fiction concept lands with rap’s political urgency.

“The thing about [sci-fi and horror writer H.P.] Lovecraft’s racism is that, if you were a white guy in 20th century, change really was terrifying,” Hutson said. “But Afro-futurism was always full of hope that aliens would come upset the status quo.”


True to their Smell-scene roots and academic pedigree (Hutson just finished a doctorate in experimental music; Snipes was in the rave-noise project Captain Ahab), they’re not interested in trying too hard to capitalize on the new attention.

 “We’ll never say, ‘OK, now let’s try and be on “SNL,”’” Hutson said.


Diggs eventually pulled out a copy of a Clipping. cassette tape he’d been passing around backstage at “Hamilton” shows (he left the production in July). He laughed at how close Clipping.’s brutal, perplexing music has gotten to the global elite.

“I kind of figured people would be appalled. But everyone’s really liked it,” Diggs said. “It’s like with ‘Hamilton,’ the only difference between the popular and the fringe is access to it.”

“And hey,” Hutson said. “One of us here got to meet President Obama.”

- Read the rest here: ‘Hamilton’ star Daveed Diggs bolts from the 'popular to the fringe’ with experimental hip-hop act Clipping.