Hamilton creator and internet darling Lin-Manuel Miranda caused a bit of a stir when he revealed on WTF With Marc Maron that he used to be bullied by rapper Immortal Technique back in high school. Though Miranda praised the way Technique has since learned to channel his childhood anger into political activism, the dominant story from the interview was the fact that Technique once threw Miranda into a trash can. The internet naturally ran with the idea of a Hamilton-worthy feud between the two and someone even started a Change.org petition to “Get Immortal Technique To Throw Lin-Manuel Miranda In The Trash Can Again.”
Only it turns out the whole thing was overblown and Technique has no desire to play Aaron Burr to Miranda’s Alexander Hamilton. The rapper weighed in on his past with Miranda in this thoughtful statement to Complex:
The other day, in response to a slew of articles that came out about my young life, Lin-Manuel Miranda and many others were gracious enough to point out the changes I have made and the humanitarian actions I have been a part of since high school. After listening to the podcast that all of this originated from, we both found the clickbait headlines misleading. It was a story about personal growth and redemption, and people twisted it into us being long-time adversaries.
We have always been very proud of each others’ success, and we even joked about these articles with each other on Twitter over the weekend. To this day, I’m appreciative to say that we are friends, we are both staunch supporters of immigrant rights, and we will continue the fight against bigotry in our respective ways. I guess I could’ve taken the humorous route and said something like, “And you thought it was hard for YOU to get tickets to ‘Hamilton.’” I just thought, that without a larger context, something could be lost in all this friendly exchange. I wouldn’t want my supporters to get the impression that anyone was trying to normalize childish bullying, especially coming from someone who now fights for others.
People have told me that back in high school they saw me as both a reckless antagonist and a well-meaning vigilante. I protected the people close to me from kids in school and fought hard against outside groups looking to herb kids. But I also had very little patience with many of the kids who went there, and I even took my anger out on those who were trying to help me. I rarely stopped to think about what that person was going through. I thought by showing strength and power, people would fear me and therefore respect me. As a result, I’m sorry to say that I hurt some of the people I should have been protecting. I ended up exacerbating a lot of my problems. And I guess, at 17, it was hard for me to see that the person I was really fighting was myself.
So much as in Hamilton, it turns out there are no clear heroes and villains in history, just complicated people working through their own issues (you read the rest of Technique’s lengthy statement over on Complex). Now we can all go back to talking about the fact that Immortal Technique thinks Bernie Sanders would’ve won against Trump “in a landslide.”