I have trouble sticking to the beat when I’m freestyling. How can I improve?
Freestyle is a type of improvisation with or without instrumental beats, in which lyrics are recited without a specific subject, structure. The lyrics are created on the spot, with no prior memorization. It is similar to other improvisational music, such as jazz where a lead instrumentalist functions as an improviser with a supportive band giving a beat. Improv/freestyles are improvised in this way.
In the book How to Rap, Big Daddy Kane and Myka 9 note that originally a freestyle was a spit on no specific topic — Big Daddy Kane said,”from the’80s when we said we composed a freestyle rap, which meant that it was a rhyme that you wrote that was free of style… it is essentially a rhyme just bragging about yourself.” Myka 9 adds,”back in the day freestyle was bust[ing] a rhyme about any random thing, and it was a written rhyme or something memorized”. Divine Styler says:”in the school I come from, freestyling was a non-conceptual composed rhyme… and now they call freestyling off the top of the head, so the age I come from it is much different”. Kool Moe Dee also refers to the earlier definition in his book.
I’ve just started rapping and I sound terrible. Can I still become a good rapper?
In old school hip-hop, Kool Moe Dee claimed that improvisational rapping was instead called”coming off the surface of the mind” and Big Daddy Kane stated,”off-the-top-of-the-head [rapping], we just called that’off the dome’ — when you don’t write it and [you] say whatever comes to mind”.
Referring to this earlier definition (a written rhyme on non-specific subject matter) Big Daddy Kane said,”that’s what a freestyle is” and Kool Moe Dee describes it as”true” freestyle, and”the real old-school freestyle”. Kool Moe Dee suggests that Kool G Rap’s track’Men At Work’ is an”excellent example” of authentic freestyle, along with Rakim’s”Lyrics of Fury”.
Many rappers learn to rap through improvised freestyling, and by making freestyling to a dialogue or a rhyming game that they play often as a means to practice, as described in the book How to Rap. Reasons for freestyling include amusement, as a therapeutic activity, to discover different methods of rapping, promoting oneself, increasing versatility, or as a spiritual activity. Improvised freestyling can also be used in live performances, to do things like giving something extra to the crowd and to cover up mistakes. So as to prove that a freestyle has been made up on the spot (rather than something pre-written or memorized), rappers will often refer to objects and places in their immediate setting, or will take suggestions on what to rhyme about.
How do I come up with new material to rap about?
Freestyles are performed a cappella, over beatboxing (as seen in Freestyle), or over instrumental versions of songs. Many artists base their freestyle on their present situation or psychological condition, but have a ready supply of prepared lyrics and rhyme patterns they could use as filler. Freestyling can also be utilised as a songwriting method for albums or mixtapes.
Are there benefits to freestyle rapping?
In a freestyle battle, each competitor’s goal is to”diss” their competition through clever lyrics and wordplay, with heavy emphasis being placed upon the rapper’s improvisational ability. Many conflicts also include metaphorically violent imagery, complementing the”combating” atmosphere. It’s considered dishonorable or black to recite pre-written or memorized raps during a freestyle battle, since it reveals the rapper to be incapable of”spitting” spur-of-the-moment lyrics. A live audience is critical, as a large portion of”winning” a battle is how an audience reacts to each rapper. Appointed judges may be used in formal competitions, but typically the rapper who receives the biggest audience response is viewed as the victor.
Are there benefits to freestyle rapping?
In modern times, with the rise of leagues such as King of the Dot and Ultimate Rap League, most battles are composed with some freestyling incorporated into the verses. This allows for more intricate rhymes and insults.
As hip-hop evolved from the early 1980s, many rappers gained their fame through freestyle battles. Battles can take place anywhere: informally on street corners, on stage at a concert, in a school, or at event specifically meant for combating (like Scribble Jam or the Blaze Battle).
As a rapper, do I need to freestyle?
A cypher or cipher is a casual gathering of rappers, beatboxers, and/or breakdancers in a circle, to be able to jam musically together. The term has also in recent years come to mean the crowd which forms around freestyle battles, consisting of spectators and onlookers. This group serves partly to encourage competition and partly to enhance the communal aspect of rap battles. The cipher is known for”making or breaking reputations in the hip hop community; if you can step in the cipher and tell your story, demonstrating your uniqueness, you might be accepted”. ] These groups also serve as a way for messages about hip hop styles and knowledge to be spread, through word-of-mouth and encouraging trends in different battles.