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 type of improvisation with or without instrumental beats, where lyrics are recited with no specific subject, structure. The lyrics are created on the spot, with no prior memorization. It is similar to other improvisational music, such as jazz where a lead instrumentalist acts as an improviser with a supporting ring giving a beat. Improv/freestyles are improvised 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,”from the’80s when we mentioned we wrote a freestyle rap, that meant it was a rhyme that you wrote that was free of style… it’s basically a rhyme just bragging about yourself.” Myka 9 adds,”back in the day freestyle was piling [ing] a rhyme about any random thing, and it was a written rhyme or something memorized”. Divine Styler states:”at the school I come from, freestyling was a non-conceptual composed rhyme… and now they call freestyling off the top of the mind, so the era I come from it’s a lot different”. Kool Moe Dee also refers to the earlier definition in his book.
How do I come up with new material to rap about?
In old school hip-hop, Kool Moe Dee claimed that improvisational rapping was rather called”coming off the surface 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 real 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 to a dialogue or a rhyming game which they play frequently as a way to practice, as described in the book 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 religious activity. Improvised freestyling can also be used in live performances, to do things like giving something extra to the audience and to cover up mistakes. So as to show that a freestyle is being made up on the spot (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.
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 condition, but have a ready supply of ready lyrics and rhyme patterns that they can use as filler. Freestyling can also be utilised as a songwriting way of albums or mixtapes.
As a rapper, do I need to freestyle?
A freestyle battle is a competition where two or more rappers compete or”battle” each other using improvised lyrics. It is a prominent part of modern 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, each 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 conflicts also include metaphorically violent imagery, complementing the”battling” atmosphere. It is deemed dishonorable or black to recite pre-written or memorized raps through a freestyle battle, since 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 struggle is how an audience responds to each rapper. Appointed judges may be used in formal contests, but typically the rapper who receives the biggest audience response is seen as the victor.
As a rapper, do I need to freestyle?
In modern times, 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, at a school, or at event specifically meant for battling (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 in recent years come to mean the crowd which creates 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”making or breaking reputations in the hip hop community; if you can step in the cipher and tell your story, demonstrating your uniqueness, you are accepted”. ] These groups also serve as a way for messages about hip hop styles and knowledge to be dispersed, through word-of-mouth and encouraging trends in different battles.