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Battle Rap Tips & Freestyle Rap Advice



  In The Beginning There Was Freestyle Battle...



Let's begin by saying that freestyle rap and battling is not unique to hip hop. Freestyling is nothing more than a form of improvisation using rhyming words, and battles are as old as man himself.

Now, freestyle rap battles as we know them today are also not as new as some may think. Though modern hip hop freestyle battling's origins are obscure, there is evidence that shows the custom being practiced in tribes from Africa to South America.

The idea is the same as it is today; to outwit your opponent(s) through the use of clever and rhythmic wording.

Rap battles of today, however, have gotten a lot more sophisticated...

The practice has been around in various forms in earlier types of "black music" but as it pertains to hip hop, freestyle rap battles began to gain popularity almost simultaneously with the rise of hip hop itself.

Street corner battles are a corner stone of hip hop culture. The hunger, drive, and competitiveness of any emcee are exemplified by and maybe even rooted in this custom.

Hip hop battles remain important to the culture because unlike in other professions, fans are not satisfied in determining who is the better emcee by Soundscan figures or Billboard rankings, this is especially true for amateur rappers. If you want to see who the better emcee is...battle it out. And though this may not be the most effective way of determining who is better, it usually is the most turned to.

Never do more than a few months go by before another couple of rappers, either mainstream or underground, are throwing verbal punches at eachother.

And though in many inner-urban areas street corner ciphers and rap battles are still widely popular today, with the new millenium came the latest and greatest rise in popularity of freestyle rap battling.

The major success of the movie "8 Mile" starring rapper, Eminem, propelled the popularity of this art into the mainstream. And art it definitely is. There are a multitude of factors that play a role in what makes or breaks a good freestyle battle rapper.



Freestyle Rap Tips & Freestyle Battle Tips

Note: You should make sure that you're comfortable with each phase before moving on to the next. Also, this section is just a brief overview of how one could go about improving their battle rap skills. A further breakdown will be made available later. Check back often for more details.

PHASE 1:

FREESTYLE RAP TIP #1: Write down your freestyle rap practice sessions.

I was driving around the city last week and threw on a mix tape of instrumentals. I started messing around freestyling when I suddenly came up with something like "...that didn't rhyme cuz I'm in the frame of mind, to simply fuckin say a line..."

Now I thought that was kinda funny so I kept a mental note of that line. So that the next time I don't rhyme a line in a freestyle rap, I can throw in that bar or a variation of it. And that's where writing down your best lines during your practice sessions come in handy.

At first just stick to listening to an assortment of instrumentals, slow, fast, everything, and keeping a notepad to jot down dope lines you may accidentally come up with...then just quickly forget them and keep freestyling. Then repeat the cycle. Over time you will have a nice thick notebook, move on to your next one.

FREESTYLE RAP TIP #2: Be patient, there's no need for perfection.

Don't feel obligated to use every single one of the lines your write down in your notebook. Those lines are just for reference. You should review your notebook every now and then to keep those lines fresh in your head if you ever need them and they fit in during a freestyle rap battle.

PHASE 2:

FREESTYLE RAP TIP #3: Become a master at observing your surroundings.

In a real freestyle battle, you can't just throw out an endless barrage of writtens (sometimes that may be acceptable in a radio station freestyle, but not a battle).
I remember a particular 106 & Park Freestyle Friday where one contestant who was battling spit a line against his opponent that went something like this:

"My sound scorches suckers when it comes out the speakers/ Everybody moment of silence: (pause) look at her sneakers."

That line got a roar out of the crowd because of many reasons, one being the tension that built up during the quick pause, another being the battler's keen observation that his opponent had on a pair of very worn out sneakers...
 Freestyle Rap Tips Cont'd