Are there benefits to freestyle rapping?
Freestyle is a style of improvisation with or without instrumental beats, in which lyrics are recited without a particular subject, structure. The lyrics are created on the spot, with no previous memorization. It’s similar to other improvisational music, such as jazz where a lead instrumentalist functions as an improviser with a supportive ring providing 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 topic — Big Daddy Kane said,”in the’80s when we mentioned we wrote a freestyle rap, which meant it was a rhyme that you wrote that was free of fashion… it is basically a rhyme just bragging about yourself.” Divine Styler says:”at 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 this earlier definition in his book.
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?
In old school hip-hop, Kool Moe Dee claimed that improvisational rapping was instead called”coming off the top of the mind” and Big Daddy Kane said,”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 real old-school freestyle”. Kool Moe Dee suggests that Kool G Rap’s track’Men At Work’ is an”excellent example” of authentic freestyle, along 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 that they play often as a means to practice, as explained in the publication How to Rap. Reasons for freestyling include amusement, as a therapeutic activity, to discover different methods of rapping, promoting oneself, raising flexibility, or as a religious activity. Improvised freestyling can also be utilized in live performances, to do things such as giving something extra to the crowd and to cover up mistakes. So as to prove that a freestyle has been made up on the place (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.
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. 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.
What can I do if words aren’t coming when the beat turns on?
It is 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, each competitor’s goal is to”diss” their opponent through clever lyrics and wordplay, with heavy emphasis being placed upon the rapper’s improvisational ability. Many battles also include metaphorically violent imagery, complementing the”combating” atmosphere. It’s deemed dishonorable or black 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 critical, as a large part of”winning” a struggle is how an audience reacts to each rapper. Appointed judges may be used in formal contests, but typically the rapper who receives the largest audience response is seen as the victor.
I’ve just started rapping and I sound terrible. Can I still become a good rapper?
In modern times, with the growth of leagues like King of the Dot and Ultimate Rap League, most battles are composed with some freestyling incorporated into the verses. This allows for more complex rhymes and insults.
Battles can take place anywhere: informally on street corners, on stage at a concert, at a school, or at event specifically meant for combating (like Scribble Jam or the Blaze Battle).
Are there benefits to freestyle rapping?
A cypher or cipher is an informal 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 forms around freestyle battles, consisting of 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”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 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.