“Hamilton” Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda Owned The #PopeBars Hashtag Yesterday

The certified MacArthur Genius dropped by the Pontiff’s rap hashtag–just hours before his big Star Wars reveal.

“Hamilton” Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda Owned The #PopeBars Hashtag Yesterday
Pope Francis gestures as he gives his blessing during a visit to an internally displaced people camp at St. Saviour parish in Bangui on November 29, 2015.

It’s a good time to be Lin-Manuel Miranda. He’s got the hottest show to hit Broadway since The Book of Mormon, he claimed a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship in September, and his observations about Brett Favre’s wardrobe during a recent TV appearance by the Green Bay Packers quarterback were trenchant. And while all of that keeps him plenty busy–in addition to writing the book, lyrics, and music for Hamilton, he also stars in seven performances of the show a week–he still manages to find time for side projects and the same sort of Internet distractions that the rest of us enjoy. Proof: He got down with the #PopeBars hashtag on Monday!


#PopeBars was a clever Twitter game that hit a sweet spot for people coming back to work from a long weekend. It started after a photograph surfaced of the Pontiff at a camp in Bangui, in the Central African Republic, holding a microphone looking very much like he was in the middle of rapping.

It started as most Twitter games do–people rewrote their favorite hip hop lyrics with a Pope-ier slant to them (“I’m a Jesus Man, but I’m not Jesus, Man,” tweeted one Jay-Z enthusiast), when Miranda slid into the tag and spit sixteen from the Pope’s point of view:

As someone who wrote a massive, award-winning, sold-out-for-the-next-year Broadway musical all in the voices of Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and other of America’s founders, the fact that Lin-Manuel Miranda is pretty great at rapping in-character as someone else shouldn’t be a surprise–but the complex, multi-syllable rhymes that his Pope spits are nonetheless pretty impressive. Miranda followed up the tweets with some promises that he was in the process of getting back to work, but he probably didn’t need to worry too much–just a few hours later, J.J. Abrams went on The Tonight Show to inform viewers that he had teamed with the composer and lyricist to write the music for a new Cantina scene in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Give him an opportunity to participate in anything happening in the culture right now, and Miranda is not throwing away his shot–and the fact that we get to witness him as he does it is a pretty cool prize for those of us who are busy watching what he does next, too.

Update: Following his participation in a Twitter hashtag game, of course, Manuel became the subject of a Twitter hashtag game, as the combined rabid fandoms of Star Wars and Hamilton formed a–how you say–rebel alliance on the hashtag #Force4Ham. The tag, celebrating J.J. Abrams’ reveal, naturally recasts great lines from Hamilton with Star Wars characters (and, in this epic Vine, a little bit of turnabout), highlighting the fairly obvious parallels between the Rebels who valiantly overthrew an Empire and, er, the rebels who valiantly overthrew an empire.

Let this stand as a reminder that stories of ragtag armies in need of a shower that somehow defeat a global/galactic superpower never go out of style.

About the author

Dan Solomon lives in Austin with his wife and his dog. He's written about music for MTV and Spin, sports for Sports Illustrated, and pop culture for Vulture and the AV Club.