How do I come up with new material to rap about?
Freestyle is a type 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 similar to other improvisational music, such as jazz in which a lead instrumentalist acts as an improviser with a supporting 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 initially a freestyle was a spit on no particular subject — Big Daddy Kane said,”in the’80s when we said we wrote a freestyle rap, that meant that it was a rhyme that you wrote that was free of fashion… 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 now they call freestyling off the top of the head, so the era 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 top of the head” 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 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 true freestyle, together 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 which they play often as a means to practice, as explained in the publication How to Rap. Reasons for freestyling include entertainment, as a therapeutic action, to discover unique ways of rapping, promoting oneself, increasing versatility, or as a religious activity. Improvised freestyling may also be utilized in live performances, to do things like giving something extra to the crowd and to cover up mistakes. In order to prove that a freestyle has been made up on the spot (rather than something pre-written or memorized), rappers will often refer to places and objects 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?
Freestyles are performed a cappella, over beatboxing (as seen in Freestyle), or over instrumental versions of songs. Many artists base their freestyle in their present situation or mental state, but have a ready supply of ready lyrics and rhyme patterns they can use as filler. Freestyling can also be utilised 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 contest in which two or more rappers compete or”battle” each other using improvised lyrics. It’s a prominent part of contemporary hip hop culture, with precursors in poetic conflicts over the millennia in genres as diverse as Japanese haikai and Norse flyting. In a freestyle battle, every competitor’s goal is to”diss” their competition through smart lyrics and wordplay, with heavy emphasis being placed upon the rapper’s improvisational ability. Many battles also include metaphorically violent vision, complementing the”combating” atmosphere. It’s 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 big part of”winning” a struggle is how an audience responds to each rapper. Appointed judges may be used in formal competitions, but in most cases the rapper who receives the biggest audience response is viewed as the victor.
As a rapper, do I need to freestyle?
These days, with the rise of leagues such as King of the Dot and Ultimate Rap League, most battles are written 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, at a college, or at event specifically meant for combating (like 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 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 promote 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 can 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 spread, through word-of-mouth and encouraging trends in other battles.