Freestyle Rap & Battle: Freestyle Rap Tips
Needless to say, these are the things that put a battle rap emcee over the top.
Your observations should pay attention to a persons most prominent features, clothing, movements, actions, etc. (try to stray from disses that are in bad taste such as those based on race, they will likely backfire).
In a Braggin' Rites battle Tonedeff came up with a line something along the lines of:
"And I shouldn't battle pansies/ You're style's flimsier than the dress Jennifer Lopez wore to the Grammy's"
Now that would probably be a mediocre rhyme at best nowadays, but at the time (just a few months after Jennifer Lopez wore her revealing green dress to the Grammy's) that line had the crowd going crazy. Not including delivery, here are a few things that made that line hot at the time:
A) It had just happened, the J. Lo event was fresh in people's minds. = Recency.
B) The event brought with it an accompanying visual. = Visual connection.
C) Everyone knew what he was talking about (but no one would ever be thinking about J. Lo's Grammy dress during a freestyle battle) = An unexpectance/surprise.
That's where the importance of knowing your public lies. You should keep in mind recent events without applying overused subject matter. The goal is to shoot for using material broad enough so that a large portion (if not all) of your audience understands it, but with specific details that make your audience feel unique about understanding it.
(i.e. "What you sound like on the mic?/ There was only one 2pac, your whole style's just one Big Syke" -Eminem)
Nevertheless, Eminem, again at the Rap Olympics of '97, did once say something like "Tell your boys you're about to suffer a team loss/ When you go into a coma longer than Vladamir Konstantinov."
Predictably this got no response from the crowd. In a room full of hockey fans, however, it would likely have been a different story.
Again, KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE! Take advantage of shared knowledge you and your public may have and use it in your rhymes.
Much like in a written battle, (for example, "2nd Round K.O.") in a freestyle rap battle you need to have an outline. The only difference is you have less time to structure it.
By this point, you should have enough freestyling under your belt, enough rhymes in your head and sharp enough observation skills...the last thing you need to work on is THINKING FAST.
Look at your opponent. Think! Quickly! What can you say about him or her?
What does he or she appear like?...how can you attack him in that angle without it being a cheapshot?
What did he say in a previous battle that was stupid or contradictory?...how can you use that against them?
What is his or her body language like? How can you attack this...or what can you conclude from their body language that you can attack?
What will their response to your disses likely be? How can you defend yourselves from these before they go after you with them? Etc...
Now...remember depending on the battle you may only have a minute or less to answer questions like these in your head (by no means should you try to answer specific questions, these are just guidelines, you will know what to ask yourself the more battles you watch or attend). Therefore, try and gather as much information as you can about your competitor(s) before you start the battle.
Once you have 2-4 ideas floating around in your head, organize them...again, QUICKLY.
What is a smooth introduction? (maybe something that follows up their verse or something that involves the crowd?) Which rhyme should you end it with? (usually the strongest rhyme.) What must you establish in this battle? (That you CAN take this opponent, that you are NOT what he may have called you out to be, etc.)
Finally think of the best order for these disses. Usually just think of what to start out with and how to end it and the rest can fill itself in.
In between the 2-4 or so disses you have outlined, just kick a freestyle trying to find ways to match your coming words with words that can smoothly rhyme with the content of your planned attacks.
That's it. In less than a minute or so you would have delivered an impressive and seemingly off the cuff, freestyle diss...