Are there benefits to freestyle rapping?
Freestyle is a type of improvisation with or without instrumental beats, where 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 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,”in the’80s when we said we composed a freestyle rap, that meant that it was a rhyme that you wrote that was free of style… it is basically 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 states:”in 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 a lot different”. Kool Moe Dee also refers to this 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 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’s what a freestyle is” and Kool Moe Dee refers to it as”true” freestyle, and”the true 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 to rap through improvised freestyling, and by making freestyling to a conversation or a rhyming game that they play frequently as a means to practice, as explained in the publication How to Rap. Reasons for freestyling include amusement, as a therapeutic activity, to discover unique methods 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 audience and 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 often refer to objects and places in their immediate setting, or will take suggestions on what to rhyme about.
What can I do if words aren’t coming when the beat turns on?
Many artists base their freestyle in their present situation or mental condition, 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 way of albums or mixtapes.
I have trouble sticking to the beat when I’m freestyling. How can I improve?
A freestyle battle is a competition where two or more rappers compete or”battle” each other using improvised lyrics. 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”battling” atmosphere. It is considered dishonorable or black to recite pre-written or memorized raps during a freestyle battle, because it reveals the rapper to be incapable of”spitting” spur-of-the-moment lyrics. A live audience is critical, as a big portion of”winning” a battle is how an audience responds to every rapper. Appointed judges may be used in formal competitions, but typically the rapper who receives the largest audience response is viewed as the victor.
How do I come up with new material to rap about?
These days, with the rise of leagues like King of the Dot and Ultimate Rap League, most conflicts are composed with some freestyling incorporated into the verses. This allows for more complex rhymes and insults.
As hip-hop evolved in 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 an informal 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 forms around freestyle battles, consisting of spectators and onlookers. This group serves partly to promote competition and partly to boost the communal aspect of rap battles. The cipher is known 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 dispersed, through word-of-mouth and encouraging trends in other battles.