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?
Freestyle is a style of improvisation with or without instrumental beats, where lyrics are recited without a specific subject, structure. The lyrics are created on the spot, with no prior memorization. It’s comparable to other improvisational music, such as jazz in which a lead instrumentalist acts as an improviser with a supporting ring giving a beat. Improv/freestyles are improvised 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,”in the’80s when we said we wrote a freestyle rap, which meant it was a rhyme that you wrote that was free of fashion… it is essentially a rhyme just bragging about yourself.” Divine Styler states:”at the school I come from, freestyling was a non-conceptual composed rhyme… and they call freestyling off the top of the mind, so the era I come from it is much different”. Kool Moe Dee also refers to this earlier definition in his book.
As a rapper, do I need to freestyle?
In old school hip-hop, Kool Moe Dee claimed that improvisational rapping was rather called”coming off the surface of the mind” and Big Daddy Kane said,”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 refers to 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 to rap through improvised freestyling, and by making freestyling to a conversation or a rhyming game which they play often as a way to practice, as described in the book How to Rap. Reasons for freestyling include entertainment, as a therapeutic action, 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 audience and also to cover up mistakes. So as to show that a freestyle has been made up on the place (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.
I have trouble sticking to the beat when I’m freestyling. How can I improve?
Freestyles are performed a cappella, over beatboxing (as seen in Freestyle), or over instrumental versions of songs. Many artists base their freestyle in their current situation or mental 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.
What can I do if words aren’t coming when the beat turns on?
In a freestyle battle, every 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 through 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 large part of”winning” a battle is how an audience reacts to every rapper. Appointed judges may be used in formal contests, but typically the rapper who receives the largest audience response is viewed as the victor.
Are there benefits to freestyle rapping?
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 complex rhymes and insults.
Battles can take place anywhere: informally on street corners, on stage at a concert, in a college, 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, in order to jam musically together. The term has also in recent years come to mean the audience which forms around freestyle battles, consisting of spectators and onlookers. This group serves partly to promote competition and partly to enhance the communal aspect of rap battles. The cipher is famous for”making or breaking reputations in the hip hop community; if you are able to step in the cipher and tell your story, demonstrating your uniqueness, you might be more accepted”. ] These groups also serve as a means for messages about hip hop styles and knowledge to be dispersed, through word-of-mouth and encouraging trends in other battles.