Are there benefits to freestyle rapping?
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 previous memorization. It’s comparable to other improvisational music, such as jazz where a lead instrumentalist acts as an improviser with a supportive ring giving a beat. Improv/freestyles are improvised in this way.
In the book 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 mentioned we wrote a freestyle rap, which meant it was a rhyme that you wrote that was free of fashion… it is basically a rhyme just bragging about yourself.” Divine Styler says:”at the school I come from, freestyling was a non-conceptual written rhyme… and they call freestyling off the top of the mind, so the age I come from it’s a lot different”. Kool Moe Dee also refers to this earlier definition in his book.
I have trouble sticking to the beat when I’m freestyling. How can I improve?
In old school hip-hop, Kool Moe Dee claimed that improvisational rapping was rather called”coming off the top of the mind” and Big Daddy Kane stated,”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 is what a freestyle is” and Kool Moe Dee refers to it as”true” freestyle, and”the real old-school freestyle”. Kool Moe Dee indicates that Kool G Rap’s track’Men At Work’ is an”excellent example” of true freestyle, along with Rakim’s”Lyrics of Fury”.
Many rappers learn how to rap through improvised freestyling, and by making freestyling into a dialogue or a rhyming game that they play frequently as a way to practice, as explained in the book How to Rap. Reasons for freestyling include entertainment, as a therapeutic activity, to discover different ways of rapping, promoting oneself, increasing versatility, or as a spiritual activity. Improvised freestyling can also be utilized in live performances, to do things such as giving something extra to the audience and to cover up mistakes. So as to show that a freestyle has been made up on the spot (as opposed to 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.
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?
Freestyles are performed a cappella, over beatboxing (as seen in Freestyle), or over instrumental versions of songs. Freestyling is often accomplished 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 traditional rapping. Many artists base their freestyle in their current situation or psychological state, but have a ready supply of prepared lyrics and rhyme patterns that they can use as filler. Freestyling can also be used as a songwriting method for albums or mixtapes.
I’ve just started rapping and I sound terrible. Can I still become a good rapper?
A freestyle battle is a contest where two or more rappers compete or”battle” each other using improvised lyrics. 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 battles also include metaphorically violent vision, complementing the”battling” atmosphere. It is considered 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 large portion of”winning” a battle is how an audience responds to each rapper. Appointed judges may be used in formal contests, but in most cases the rapper who receives the biggest audience response is seen as the victor.
How do I come up with new material to rap about?
These days, with the growth of leagues like King of the Dot and Ultimate Rap League, most conflicts are written 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, at a school, or at event specifically meant for battling (such as Scribble Jam or the Blaze Battle).
How do I come up with new material to rap about?
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 audience which creates around freestyle battles, comprising 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”making or breaking reputations in the hip hop community; if you are able to step into 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 different battles.