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Freestyle Raps - The original definition of "Rap Freestyle" is to Rap free of style, meaning an emcee has no set poetic rhyme scheme and is unbounded to a subject of specific context. A freestyle can be performed over a beat or acapella.
Depending on who you ask, the term "Freestyle Raps" can be defined in several different ways.
The new age and most respected definition of "Freestyle Rap" is:
- To come up with an improvised rap lyric "on the spot", "coming off the top of the head" "off the dome" or as you go along, with subject matter of either a specific or random context. Although this form of freestyle was originally known as "Off the dome" in the 80's, later generations have adapted the meaning.
- The lyric can be performed over an instrumental or acapella.
- The lyric does not necessarily have to follow a specific rhyme scheme or bar structure, however; in freestyle battling, a rising action usually builds up to a comical, disrespectful or clever punchline that acts as a mid rhyme finale (which keeps the audience entertained and on the edge of their seats).
- Freestyle raps were introduced to the Hip Hop culture as part of "ciphers/cyphers", where members of the Hip Hop community would gather to demonstrate their lyrical abilities. With an audience to add to the intense live atmosphere, this ritual would evolve into the battle culture, that we see now on much larger platforms like "KOTD" or "Don't Flop Entertainment".
- In the cipher, it is common to have an instrumental or a beat boxer providing a rhythm to keep the circle at a constant movement, so when one emcee chokes or finishes his bars, another will begin and continue the pace. As part of the cypher mentality, this activity is how one gains their rep as an emcee; If you can lay down a rhyme that members of the cypher and audience can respect and dig, you gain greater credentials as an artist and climb up the communal Hip Hop ladder.
- It is also part of the cypher energy for members of the cypher and audience to react to an artists clever or lame rhyme by responding by cheering, laughing, booing, adlibing, chanting, interupting and reloading (where the punchline is so highly admired by the people, that the beat will stop and force the emcee to restart the rhyme).
The second and less regarded form of "Freestyle Rap" is:
- A rap lyric that has been written prior to performance, yet contains some elements of the original freestyle method.
- This form of Freestyle allows the artist to write with or without a deliberate topic or subject of focus. Usually performed over an instrumental, the track does not have to follow a particular rhyme format. This Freestyle can be performed without a chorus and hook and nowadays freestyle tracks of this respect tend to serve for promotional purposes; for mixtapes and albums.
- This form of Freestyle does not usually follow the traditional 16 bar rhyme scheme and the song can be composed of one lengthy verse.
- This form can be performed live, on the spot, where the emcee may combine several verses together in order to continue the flow.
Popular Freestyle Raps
Watch Kendrick Lamar drop an incredible freestyle over Sways "Five Fingers of Death".
Watch Biggie Smalls spit a freestyle in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, New York, at the age of 17.
Watch Mos Def, DMX, John Forte, Mic Geronimo, Big Pun and Canibus Freestyling in a cypher, while drinking together at a restaurant.
Watch 50 Cent, Consequence, Noreaga and more in this NYC cypher.
Check out Big L's '98 Freestyle.
Watch and listen Rakim drop a written freestyle.
Lupe Fiasco drops a hard freestyle for Funkmaster Flex, over the classic Instrumental "Wrong Side of the Tracks" by Artifacts.
Watch Childish Gambino drop some wicked bars on Hot 97 in 2014.
Watch Warren G, Richie Rich, 2pac and Big Skye spit a studio freestyle.
Watch Eminem drop several legendary freestyles.
Watch Busta Ryhmes and Old Dirty Bastard rock the microphone with a raw, off the top freestyle.
Watch Tyler the Creator spit off the dome, while being given 4 topics to spit about.
We hope you enjoyed our Freestyle Raps page, Please check out our other freestyle pages.