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How to Freestyle Rap

This page is a simple to use guide on "How to Freestyle Rap". Because there are a number of ways to learn the skill, we will discuss several methods that may assist the artistic release. Understanding the fundamentals of rhyme scheme may give you an advantage, however, it is not required to learn the art. More than anything you will learn on this page, it is "practise" that will sharpen your freestyle abilities, HipHopLifted simply provides steps to un-complicate the process of understanding the exercise.

Pre-Freestyle Techniques

Instrumental or Acapella  

Beginning the Freestyle

Things to Keep in Mind

Pre-Freestyle Techniques

Before beginning, there are a number of preparations that can be considered, firstly:

  • An important part of "Freestyle Rap" is having an open mind, varying from person to person, having a ritual to clear and/or gather thoughts may be a good idea. Here are several suggestions that can be useful (these techniques are strictly suggestions and may not apply to everyone).
  • Reading before hand (It does not have to be a of a particular subject, the goal of reading is to "wake the brain up")
  • Meditation (This calms the mind and allows one to focus in on thought without distraction).
  • Engaging in mentally stimulating conversation beforehand can also provide easy access to thoughts.
  • Deep Breathing (this allows a better flow of oxygen to the brain and will simply make thinking easy).
  • Listening to music and/or instrumentals.

Instrumental or Acapella

After exercising your pre-freestyle warm up, you are ready to move forward. Depending on if one has a history writing lyrics or none at all, freestyling may come more natural. With that said, some people have a natural ability to improvise and this is an advantage. if beginning the practise for the first time, this may appear difficult at first, but it will flow easier if one applies the following.

  • As noted on the "Freestyle Raps" Page, the art can be performed acapella (without a beat) or over an instrumental. It is recommended to freestyle acapella if practising for the first time, this will create less pressure to stay on beat.
  • If an instrumental is too distracting, you can begin with a simple 70 bpm (beats per minute) drum pattern, that will your freestyle flowing. 

Check out this simple looped drum pattern

Pre-Freestyle Techniques

Instrumental or Acapella  

Beginning the Freestyle

Things to Keep in Mind

Beginning the Freestyle

To begin learning how to freestyle rap, there are a couple ways to approach it. 

  • Firstly, do not worry too much about staying on tempo/beat, just allow ones self to freely speak  thoughts (Even talking can be a good way to start off). The subject matter is not what is important, it is key to develop a continuous flow of speech.
  • It may prove to be helpful to write down random subjects on to a sheet, simply to provide a topic that can increase creativity.
  • If the above techniques do not work out, there are tools available online such as rhyming dictionaries to help learn how to freestyle rap. These can be used to provide a boost if no words are coming to mind.

Rhyming Dictionary

  • If attempting to practise Freestyling in a group, try the cypher approach. It is not too vital to stand in a circle and spit, however, it does create an energized Hip Hop atmosphere that can be fun too.
  • In a cypher crowd, one member can start off the cypher by dropping his/her rhymes until they choke or stumble their words, then the next member can continue where the previous member ended. The second member can either start off with the last word the first member ended on -or- they can  continue with similar content as the first member -or- they can completely go off of the top and do their own freestyle.
  • A technique that may be easy to use in learning how to freestyle rap, is: story telling. begin this technique by either improvising a fabricated story or use a personal/objective experience. Remember, the goal is to develop a continuous flow of speech, that does not necessarily have to rhyme or have rhythm, just try to master the ability to keep a consistent movement of words.
  • One popular game some emcees exercise when freestyling is, throwing words at one an other when rapping, check out this video below, where "Sway" from Sway in the Morning throws words at Wayne Brady on the Five Fingers of Death.

If ready to incorporate a rhyme scheme, here are some typical patterns to use:

  • AABB - A typical rhyme scheme that is most common among rappers today. Example below:

A - Everybody wants to learn how to rap,

- Rhyme on a beat with words and a clap,

- But It's okay if you can't do it first,

B - In time you will find you can write a verse.

  • ABAB -  Another classic rhyme scheme, common in 70s and 80s Hip Hop and probably the easiest to improvise.

A - Rapping is fun and anyone can do it,

B - All you have to do is try and get down,

A - Pick up the microphone and make your music,

B - Now you have made your very own sound.

  • AAAA - This rhyme scheme is common in Hip Hop but is rarely used for entire verses due to the difficulty of keeping the listeners entertained with the same rhyming sounds.

A - It's time to get funky, and go off the top,

A - I cant choke up, and I don't want to flop,

A - Make the crowd jump, when I flow with a hop,

A - I move and I groove, so my head's going to bop,

These 3 rhyme schemes above are the most popular in Hip Hop and are the easiest to apply when teaching yourself how to freestyle rap.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • If at anytime during the freestyle it is becoming frustrating, take a breather or concentrate on something different for a couple of minutes. 
  • It is a must to be patient, this skill is not expected to develop overnight. In fact; a large portion of famous rappers do not posses the skill of freestyling, so if it is isn't coming easy, then it is nothing to fret over.
  • Developing improvisational lyrical abilities and learning the basics on how to freestyle rap can improve writing stances and give one an advantage when composing music, because it allows one to fit in words easily, creatively and quickly.

Thank you for viewing our How to Freestyle Rap page and feel free to browse through our website and learn more about the Hip Hop World.