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Biden: Yellen needs a “Hamilton” musical. Dessa: Here you go.

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"She’s 5-foot nothing, but hand to God, she can pop a collar, she can rock a power bob." Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Updated on Jan. 22, 2021, to include the Spotify link to “Who’s Yellen Now?”

When then-President-elect Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Janet Yellen for secretary of the treasury, he joked that “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda should write a musical about her.  

“We might have to ask Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the musical about the first secretary of the treasury, ‘Hamilton,’ to write another musical for the first woman secretary of the treasury — Yellen,” he said. 

So “Marketplace” asked Dessa, a member of the hip-hop collective Doomtree and one of the artists who contributed to “The Hamilton Mixtape,” to think about what that might sound like. Here’s what she and her collaborators came up with: 

 
 
"WHO'S YELLEN NOW?"
Vocals and Lyrics by Dessa
Production by Lazerbeak and Andy Thompson

 HOOK 
 Oooo, who’s Yellen now?
 Who’s Yellen, who’s Yellen now? 
  
 VERSE 1
 Doves on the left
 Hawks on the right
 Crosstalk in the flock tryna fight mid-flight
 But here comes Yellen with that inside voice
 Never mind the mild manner, policies make noise 
 She’s 5-foot nothing, but hand to God
 She can pop a collar, she can rock a power bob 
 Bay Ridge represent!
 Brooklyn’s in the cabinet!
 Damn, Janet, go and get it —
 Fifth in line for president! 
 She knows the kinda stimulus it takes to pass a buck 
 I heard she called the housing crisis  
 She’s qualified as ffff —
 It only took a couple centuries
 The first female secretary of the treasury
  
 BRIDGE
 Don’t want no tax evasion 
 Forgers faking 
 In her treasury
 Trying for higher wages
 For the nation
 Less disparity
 
 VERSE 2 
 Watch your step, there's busted glass
 Janet broke another ceiling 
 You can bet your brass
 That the Lego guy is leaving 
 Last check to cash
 — 'Scuse me, Janet has a briefing and a flight to catch
 And Janet
 She’s the first that’s led 
 The Council of Economic Advisers, Tresh and the Fed, 
 She needs a three-sided coin that always comes up heads
 To put the triple crown down when she goes to bed
 Call the decorators
 New boss in the office
 Spenders and the savers
 Watch the confirmation process
 We got to meet her
 Now let’s let her settle in  
 And lift up your mojitos —
 'Cause she manages the mint

Dessa told “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal that she spent a lot of time watching old speeches and flipping through photographs of Janet Yellen while writing the song.

“I read a lot about her to make sure that she was somebody who I’d like to send up,” Dessa said. “And it was really exciting to become a fan of Janet Yellen.” 

On the music side, Dessa said she and collaborators Lazerbeak and Andy Thompson drew inspiration from Lin-Manuel Miranda.

“I think both Andy Thompson and Lazerbeak put another ear on the ‘Hamilton Mixtape’ (shoutout Lin) just to kind of remind themselves how that particular piece of music came together and nod to it as best we could,” she said. 

The song, “Who’s Yellen Now?” is now available on Spotify, Apple Music, and other streaming services.

“The three of us who worked on this song … I don’t think we’ve ever had so much fun,” Dessa told Ryssdal. “It was like, how do we get out of this normal rap game and into this [cabinet] appointment niche because it was so much fun to write.”

Music from the episode

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