Freestyle rapping is not as hard as it seems, but is as fun as it looks! This relatively new but exciting pastime can be done any time or any place, it could be done on a bus ride home, on a road trip, on a lunch table, or at a party with a microphone and crowd as spectators. This is how freestyle rapping was born, in a party setting. Now lets discuss more about some of the greatest freestyle rappers of all time who started off doing it as a hobby then eventually evolved into performing at freestyle battles, some even graduated to becoming a full-time professional recording artist. Examples of some rappers that made it big from oldest to youngest are:
- Slick Rick
- KRS One
- Busta Rhymes
- Kid n Play
- Jay Z
- Notorious B.I.G
- Little Wayne
Unlike sports, freestyle has its place in popular culture only without the physical aspect of competition. Like motocross or pro skate hip-hop has its place in competitive freestyle dancing aka break dancing or b-boying but that is not the case for the art of the rap battle. Rap battles are held all over the world in big stadium venues with prizes for mostly bragging rights but includes money and sometimes even an exclusive record contract with popular A&R’s or record labels. Most of the effects Hip Hop & Rap has had on modern society can be seen through the way younger kids are dressing, in snap back hats, fitted caps, skinny jeans, G Shock watches and gold chains. My point is you can’t help but notice someone involved in the hip hop or rap scene without walking down the street as a casual pass me by. The argument of most people have is hip hop is here to stay and not a popular fad that is here today and gone tomorrow like most trends which started in the 80’s.
If you are interested I learning how to freestyle flow, you should begin practicing on your own time around your friends or in party situations. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice on your own because most of your practice should come from personal practice in a musical setting. To further take your skills to the next level here are a few tips to begin:
- Buy a couple of hip-hop instrumental CD’s or MP3’s on iTunes or Amazon.
These are probably the most important tools in your arsenal. Freestyle raps are performed over musical arrangements or beats. Beats, more popularly known are how rapping is done and will not only aid in the mastery of your skills but will help developing that flow we were talking about earlier. A flow is the attempt to try to match your rap to the rhythm of the beat. The more you continue to do so, the better you will become and ultimately create your own style, voice pitch, etc.
- Buy yourself 2-3 black notebooks for 1.00 dollar or whatever price and quality you choose, just as long as you keep this notebook only for writing rap lines and punch lines aka bars. With these notebooks you will begin to write simple rhymes that come from your own creativity and style, keep these rhymes simple in the beginning. You may develop a more grammatical style in the future but that is totally up to you. The more simple you keep them the easier it is to remember them, thus making it easier to create a freestyle stemming from that one liner or punch line. Next thing you want to know are probably the most important next to the music to choose to perform with is learning how to count a bar. A ‘’bar’’ in musical context is the time or space it takes to fill in a line in the song. This is turn is used and is always used in writing your raps or songs. Keep in mind that this is the foundation to learning to how to write, and do raps. Just count to 8. It’s that simple, do your rap and look at a stop watch and count to 8 seconds, once you reach 8 seconds you’ve reached one bar aka one rap lyric line.
- Get a microphone to use with a stereo that you can use to practice performing your rap over instrumental hip hop music I explained earlier. You may also benefit further from getting a recording software like “Garage Band” or something similar for recording rap sessions over the computer with your microphone and hip hop beats. Further more get into practicing with friends at parties if they happen to have a mic and some beats ask him for 5-10 minutes of spotlight. This will probably be your best tool and advantage at mastering your skills because performing in front of people not only stimulates your rapping growth but also helps rid you of the fear of speaking in front of large crowds of people and will ultimately boost your confidence.
Remember there isn’t any right or wrong approach to how to develop your rap style. But as the tutorial mentioned above, confidence is key to developing a great style or profile. The best way to continue to grow a rapper is by practicing and gaining more confidence as you do so. The best thing you can do for yourself as a rap enthusiast or MC is to get a hold of the top 3 tips I mentioned above. The last bit of advice I want to leave you with is this secret tip: Understand that there are generally two ways to developing your rap skills. 1. Freestyle without any premeditated lyrics in mind, which ultimately is what freestyle rapping, is all about. 2. You want to write as much as you freestyle, meaning getting into writing lyrics in your notebooks mentioned above. Like I said before there are no rules or golden means of mastering your style, except confidence and you’ll do better than most people. Lastly, if you become a serious rapper choose a name for yourself that makes you confident and don’t be afraid to ask others for ideas. After all, rapping is all about creativity.