What can I do if words aren’t coming when the beat turns on?
Freestyle is a type 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 previous memorization. It is similar to other improvisational music, such as jazz where a lead instrumentalist acts as an improviser with a supporting ring providing 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 particular subject — Big Daddy Kane said,”from the’80s when we said we composed a freestyle rap, that meant it was a rhyme that you wrote that was free of style… it’s essentially 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 written 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 this 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 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’s really 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 dialogue or a rhyming game which they play often as a means to practice, as described 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 spiritual 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. 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.
How do I come up with new material to rap about?
Many artists base their freestyle on their current situation or mental condition, but have a ready supply of prepared lyrics and rhyme patterns that they could use as filler. Freestyling can also be used as a songwriting method for albums or mixtapes.
Are there benefits to freestyle rapping?
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 shameful to recite pre-written or memorized raps through 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 battle is how an audience reacts to every rapper. Appointed judges may be used in formal contests, but in most cases the rapper who receives the largest audience response is viewed as the victor.
I have trouble sticking to the beat when I’m freestyling. How can I improve?
In modern times, with the growth 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 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 (such as Scribble Jam or the Blaze Battle).
I’ve just started rapping and I sound terrible. Can I still become a good rapper?
A cypher or cipher is a casual gathering of rappers, beatboxers, and/or breakdancers in a circle, in order to jam musically together. The term has also lately come to mean the crowd which creates around freestyle battles, comprising spectators and onlookers. This group serves partly to encourage 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 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.