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 with no specific subject, structure. The lyrics are made on the spot, with no prior memorization. It’s similar to other improvisational music, such as jazz where a lead instrumentalist acts as an improviser with a supporting band giving a beat. Improv/freestyles are improvised in this way.
In the publication How to Rap, Big Daddy Kane and Myka 9 note that initially a freestyle was a spit on no specific subject — Big Daddy Kane said,”in the’80s when we mentioned we wrote a freestyle rap, which meant that it was a rhyme that you wrote that was free of style… it’s basically a rhyme just bragging about yourself.” Divine Styler states:”at the school I come from, freestyling was a non-conceptual written rhyme… and now they call freestyling off the top of the mind, so the age I come from it is a lot 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 don’t write it and [you] say whatever comes to mind”.
Referring to the earlier definition (a written rhyme on non-specific subject matter) Big Daddy Kane said,”that is really 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, along with Rakim’s”Lyrics of Fury”.
Many rappers learn 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 book How to Rap. Reasons for freestyling include entertainment, as a therapeutic activity, to discover unique ways of rapping, promoting oneself, raising flexibility, or as a religious activity. Improvised freestyling may also be used in live performances, to do things such as giving something extra to the audience and to cover up mistakes. In order to show that a freestyle is being made up on the place (rather than something pre-written or memorized), rappers will frequently 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. 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 they can use as filler. Freestyling can also be utilised as a songwriting method for albums or mixtapes.
As a rapper, do I need to freestyle?
It’s 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 vision, complementing the”combating” atmosphere. It’s considered dishonorable or black to recite pre-written or memorized raps during a freestyle battle, since it reveals the rapper to be incapable of”spitting” spur-of-the-moment lyrics. A live audience is key, as a large portion of”winning” a struggle is how an audience responds to every rapper. Appointed judges may be used in formal contests, but typically the rapper who receives the biggest audience response is viewed as the victor.
What can I do if words aren’t coming when the beat turns on?
These days, with the growth 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 from 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 (such as Scribble Jam or the Blaze Battle).
Are there benefits to freestyle rapping?
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 lately come to mean the crowd which forms around freestyle battles, comprising 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”breaking or making reputations in the hip hop community; if you can step in the cipher and tell your story, demonstrating your uniqueness, you are more accepted”. ] These groups also serve as a way for messages about hip hop styles and knowledge to be spread, through word-of-mouth and encouraging trends in other battles.