What can I do if words aren’t coming when the beat turns on?
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 in which a lead instrumentalist acts as an improviser with a supportive ring giving a beat. Improv/freestyles are improvised in this way.
In the book How to Rap, Big Daddy Kane and Myka 9 note that originally a freestyle was a spit on no particular topic — Big Daddy Kane said,”in the’80s when we said we wrote a freestyle rap, which meant it was a rhyme that you wrote that was free of fashion… it is 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 much 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 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 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 true old-school freestyle”. Kool Moe Dee indicates that Kool G Rap’s track’Men At Work’ is an”excellent example” of authentic freestyle, together with Rakim’s”Lyrics of Fury”.
Many rappers learn how to rap through improvised freestyling, and by making freestyling into a dialogue or a rhyming game that they play frequently as a means to practice, as described in the publication How to Rap. Reasons for freestyling include amusement, as a therapeutic activity, to discover unique 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 audience and to cover up mistakes. So as to show that a freestyle has been made up on the place (as opposed to something pre-written or memorized), rappers will often refer to objects and places in their immediate setting, or will take suggestions on what to rhyme about.
As a rapper, do I need to freestyle?
Freestyles are performed a cappella, over beatboxing (as seen in Freestyle), or over instrumental versions of songs. Freestyling is often done 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 ready lyrics and rhyme patterns that they can use as filler. Freestyling can also be utilised as a songwriting method for albums or mixtapes.
I’ve just started rapping and I sound terrible. Can I still become a good rapper?
A freestyle battle is a competition in which two or more rappers compete or”battle” each other using improvised lyrics. 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, every 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”combating” atmosphere. It is considered dishonorable or black to recite pre-written or memorized raps through a freestyle battle, because it reveals the rapper to be incapable of”spitting” spur-of-the-moment lyrics. A live audience is critical, as a big part of”winning” a battle 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.
Are there benefits to freestyle rapping?
These days, with the rise of leagues like 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.
Battles can take place anywhere: informally on street corners, on stage at a concert, in a school, or at event specifically meant for combating (like Scribble Jam or the Blaze Battle).
As a rapper, do I need to freestyle?
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 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”breaking or making 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 means for messages about hip hop styles and knowledge to be dispersed, through word-of-mouth and encouraging trends in other battles.