How do I come up with new material to rap about?
Freestyle is a style of improvisation with or without instrumental beats, in which lyrics are recited with no particular subject, structure. The lyrics are made on the spot, with no prior memorization. It is comparable to other improvisational music, such as jazz where a lead instrumentalist functions as an improviser with a supporting ring providing a beat. Improv/freestyles are improvised in this way.
In the publication How to Rap, Big Daddy Kane and Myka 9 note that initially a freestyle was a spit on no particular 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 basically a rhyme just bragging about yourself.” Divine Styler says:”in the school I come from, freestyling was a non-conceptual written rhyme… and they call freestyling off the top of the head, so the age I come from it’s a lot different”. Kool Moe Dee also refers to this earlier definition in his book.
Every time I rap in the shower I’m really good, but when it comes to writing, my mind is blank. How do I improve my writing skills?
In old school hip-hop, Kool Moe Dee claimed that improvisational rapping was instead called”coming off the surface of the head” and Big Daddy Kane said,”off-the-top-of-the-head [rapping], we just called that’off the dome’ — when you do not 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 really what a freestyle is” and Kool Moe Dee describes it as”true” freestyle, and”the true 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 how to rap through improvised freestyling, and by making freestyling into a conversation or a rhyming game that they play often as a means to practice, as explained in the book How to Rap. Reasons for freestyling include amusement, as a therapeutic activity, to discover different ways of rapping, promoting oneself, increasing versatility, or as a spiritual activity. Improvised freestyling can also be used in live performances, to do things such as giving something extra to the crowd and also to cover up mistakes. So as to show that a freestyle is being made up on the place (rather than something pre-written or memorized), rappers will frequently refer to places and objects in their immediate setting, or will take suggestions on what to rhyme about.
As a rapper, do I need to freestyle?
Freestyling is often done in a group setting called a”cypher” (or”cipher”) or as part of a”freestyle battle”.Due to the improvised nature of freestyle, meter and rhythm are usually more relaxed than in conventional rapping. Many artists base their freestyle on their current situation or psychological state, but have a ready supply of prepared lyrics and rhyme patterns they can use as filler. Freestyling can also be used as a songwriting method for albums or mixtapes.
How do I freestyle rap if I am not very good at rhyming words?
A freestyle battle is a competition in which two or more rappers compete or”battle” each other using improvised lyrics. In a freestyle battle, every competitor’s goal is to”diss” their opponent 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”battling” atmosphere. It is deemed dishonorable or black to recite pre-written or memorized raps during a freestyle battle, because it shows the rapper to be incapable of”spitting” spur-of-the-moment lyrics. A live audience is key, as a big portion of”winning” a struggle is how an audience responds to every rapper. Appointed judges may be used in formal contests, but in most cases the rapper who receives the biggest audience response is viewed as the victor.
What can I do if words aren’t coming when the beat turns on?
These days, with the growth of leagues like 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 college, or at event specifically meant for combating (such as Scribble Jam or the Blaze Battle).
I have trouble sticking to the beat when I’m freestyling. How can I improve?
A cypher or cipher is an informal gathering of rappers, beatboxers, and/or breakdancers in a circle, in order to jam musically together. The term has also lately 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 boost the communal aspect of rap battles. The cipher is famous for”breaking or making reputations in the hip hop community; if you are able to step in the cipher and tell your story, demonstrating your uniqueness, you are accepted”. ] These groups also serve as a means for messages about hip hop styles and knowledge to be spread, through word-of-mouth and encouraging trends in other battles.