As a rapper, do I need to freestyle?
Freestyle is a style of improvisation with or without instrumental beats, where lyrics are recited with no particular subject, structure. The lyrics are created on the spot, with no prior memorization. It is comparable to other improvisational music, such as jazz in which a lead instrumentalist functions as an improviser with a supporting ring providing 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 specific topic — Big Daddy Kane said,”in the’80s when we mentioned we composed a freestyle rap, which meant 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 piling [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 head, so the age I come from it’s a lot different”. Kool Moe Dee also refers to the 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 instead 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 the 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 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 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 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 religious activity. Improvised freestyling can also be utilized in live performances, to do things such as giving something extra to the audience and also to cover up mistakes. In order to prove 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.
Are there benefits to freestyle rapping?
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 present situation or mental state, but have a ready supply of ready lyrics and rhyme patterns they could 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?
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’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 reacts to each rapper. Appointed judges may be used in formal contests, but in most cases the rapper who receives the largest audience response is seen as the victor.
What can I do if words aren’t coming when the beat turns on?
In modern times, with the rise of leagues such as King of the Dot and Ultimate Rap League, most conflicts are composed with some freestyling incorporated into the verses. This allows for more intricate 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 (like Scribble Jam or the Blaze Battle).
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?
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 audience which forms around freestyle battles, consisting of spectators and onlookers. This group serves partly to encourage competition and partly to enhance the communal aspect of rap battles. The cipher is known for”making or breaking reputations in the hip hop community; if you can step into the cipher and tell your story, demonstrating your uniqueness, you might be more 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 other battles.