My favorite Prince album is 'Sign o' the Times.'
I liked being on stage because it gave me a reason to be around people. The other great thing about acting is it allows you to imagine circumstances different from your own. I was a poor Bay Area kid getting to pretend to be a Russian aristocrat.
I was really aware, even while it was happening, that the discovery of arts education in my life sort of saved my life.
What writing a poem really does - and what figuring how to perform effectively really does - is forces people to listen to you. It frames your thoughts in such a way that grabs people's attentions and forces them to hear the things that you're actually saying.
I went to Hebrew school but opted out of a bar mitzvah.
I have this thing. I can rap really fast. I can rap really, really fast. It's a thing I'm good at and I've trained myself to do; it's a thing I do in the Bay Area.
I'm from the Bay Area, so I know a lot about granola.
That's the great thing about being a teenager. You think you're a genius.
The act of being nice to somebody at Starbucks is actually a huge thing. It's a real change you can effect in somebody's life every day.
There's no reason for somebody who's good at writing rap to be good at freestyling. They're different parts of your brain. You can develop both skills. I'm a much better writer.
I think this idea of a big break is a lie.
Writing rap songs is about flow, about one word blending seamlessly into the next and creating a thing that is possible to perform in a way that feels natural.
Some people get a Broadway show, and that's their end game, and they want to sit there for as long as possible. And some people have other things they want to do with their life.
All the way on the West Coast, never having seen a Broadway show, it was like, 'They don't want me. There's nothing there for me.' I'd come to New York a lot and never even tried to see a Broadway show. There was no reason for me to do that.
The fact that rap has a strict meter and stays to a click means that you have to make your thoughts concise.
To walk into a casting room full of people who look like you is a crazy thing. What is the thing that necessitates all of us having the exact same shade of skin and having the same hair? What about this deodorant commercial needs that?
I've been sort of gentrification-obsessed. Right before I left Oakland in 2012, I was feeling it. Now I go back sporadically, and the change is drastic.
Being an emcee onstage is mostly about crowd control, about monitoring energy levels.
I've always gravitated toward technical music in general. I love jazz fusion.
I get excited to create things that don't exist in the same world as 'Hamilton' because that world is really well done and doesn't need me to inform it anymore.