How to Freestyle RapA step by step guide to getting better at freestyle rapping
Why Do I Love to Freestyle Rap?
Freestyle rapping allows me to express myself and de-stress. I tend to overthink and often have a lot on my mind. Freestyle rapping allows me to be in the moment and release these thoughts in a creative way. It’s a form of meditation that allows me to be in the present. I love it.
I remember my first freestyle rapping experience. I was in a Hyundai Tiburon parked in a McDonalds parking lot. I was with a few buddies that rapped and they started spitting over some instrumentals in the car. I don’t remember which instrumental I jumped on but I remember being nervous as hell when I had the opportunity to spit. It is safe to assume my flow and rhymes were garbage. Even though I sucked, it was a rush.
I remember when I first experienced the freestyle rapping flow state. I was in my college dorm. Coincidently the same friend mentioned above came to visit. Conveniently this friend lit a blunt, put on some instrumentals and started freestyle rapping. Naturally, I indulged in a hit or two and soon I was feeling the music. The vibe was dope as hell.
Eventually, I motioned to my friend for the chance to jump in and spit. My mind was blown when I started rapping. It felt like there were limitless words at my disposal and unlimited ways to combine them. I was able to pull these words effortlessly and connect them together while rhyming. Everything was in alignment. I was in the moment. I was in a flow state.
Many people have a similar experience when they smoke weed. It is an amazing feeling when your rhymes start flowing naturally and the lyrics are on point. You feel like the king of the world. A dope verse by the rapper Hakim in the song Mad Izm by Channel Live featuring KRS-ONE that describes it perfectly.
Wake up in the mornin got the yearnin for herb
Which loosens up the nouns, metaphors, and verbs
And adjectives, ain’t it magic kid what I’m kickin
Multi-flavored bags of sess, for the pickin
So listen to the izm as it talks non-stop
Hawaiian when I’m rhymin but so is the chocolate thai
Now the high, starts to settle
Kickin fat lyrics that rocks, like heavy metal
Keep in mind smoking weed is not required to get in the freestyle rap flow state. I rarely freestyle rap high and still am able to reach the flow state. However, if you want to smoke and freestyle do it up. But I do encourage you to develop this skill sober. Imagine how good you will be high if you improve your sober rapping capabilities. Who knows, maybe you will realize that you are actually a better freestyle rapper when you don’t smoke.
I hope this guide helps improve your freestyle rapping skill and allows you to experience the freestyle flow state.
Key Aspects to Focus On
In my opinion, you need to approach freestyle rapping with the right mentality. To me freestyle rapping is a way to let go and express oneself. I always freestyle my best when I let go and enjoy the moment, and I believe embracing the ideas below should help anyone trying to improve their skillset.
You Are Going to Suck
When learning a new skill my biggest challenge is remembering I am going to suck. It is very easy to have illusions of what you can accomplish before you have the skillset to make any of it actually happen. It is also easy to get frustrated when you suck. This happens to me all the time when learning new skills.
- Realize that almost everyone sucked when they started. There are always exceptions but it is likely you are not one of them. You need to take it day by day and not get too attached to the results.
- Realize that you won’t stop sucking until you get your reps in. We will talk practice more later on, but that’s the key.
- Realize that criticism and feedback are your best friends. Especially, when it comes from someone who has skills. Feedback and criticism is not a direct attack on you, it is data about your skill to make adjustments and get better. Embrace the criticism and grow.
Sometimes you will hit a plateau and it will seem like that you are getting no results. That’s when you need to keep pushing. When things seem like they are not improving that is ironically when you are about to make a breakthrough.
Also realize that:
Anyone who has the courage to freestyle rap is badass. You have the courage to put yourself out there and express yourself. That’s a very vulnerable thing to do and many people are going to respect that.
Give yourself props for having the courage to freestyle rap…but accepting you suck isn’t going to help you improve.
Don’t take this too seriously. You might become a dope freestyle rapper, you might suck your whole life. But who cares. I suggest removing all expectation from the process. Having fun will make the process of sucking way more fun.
Also, in my experience I usually freestyle better when I stop trying so hard, get in the moment and just enjoy when I am doing.
Practice Your Freestyle Rapping
In the past I tried to develop my rapping skills, but it was very difficult for me to stay consistent. It’s fun to freestyle rap in front of friends, but not nearly as fun when no one is looking. Additionally, I did not incorporate any form accountability and I had no way to measure my improvement in the past.
I never intended to use Periscope to improve my freestyle rapping skills, it just sort of happened. Once I started using it to freestyle rap, I became addicted and started rapping every day on the app. It is a rush when a bunch of random people watch you rap and give you props.
How Did Periscope Help Me Improve my Freestyle Rapping Skills?
Periscope is an awesome platform for freestyle rapping. It has a lot of similarities to real life. Periscope gave me a way to gain valuable feedback about my rapping and added a sense of accountability the more I rapped. For example, people would compliment me on dope lines. Additionally, the number of users watching your broadcasts is a great indicator of your improvement. If you can keep people entertained, you are doing your job.
Additionally, once my skills developed I started building an audience of users who wanted to see more rap more and would watch my broadcasts consistently. I don’t like disappointing fans, so I tried to make sure to show up as much as possible.
There is also friendly competition among freestyle rappers on Periscope. Cool dudes like The Real Fabe are both talented and inspiring. My goal is to spit on the same level as these guys so I have to keep my skills sharp. The other great thing about Periscope is that the freestyle rapping scene is very positive. I have nothing but love for anyone who spits and I think for the most part that is the mentality of most people who freestyle rap on the app.
My favorite thing in the world is to freestyle in front of a bunch of people in real life. Periscope is the next best thing and the perfect tool to hone your skills for the real world.
How I Typically Freestyle Rap on Periscope
My favorite thing to do on Periscope is to rap the users comments. Typically, I will have some beats ready that I want to freestyle rap too. This exercise really improves the quickness of your thinking. I also keep it positive and try not to say anything that I consider too negative. I skip over any words that I do not want to say or any over saturated comments. For example, the amount of Donald Trump comments gets old. So I will rarely even pay attention to those. The goal is to keep the positive vibes. Feel free to rap how you want to but I keep it clean. Especially, on an app like Periscope because you never really know who is watching. I try to keep the rhymes PG-13 as much as possible.
This exercise is very similar to the classic freestyle rap exercise of having someone say a random word and incorporate it in your rhymes. To me this is much more of a challenge because you have to also filter as much as possible, so you have a little bit of extra pressure. This might not necessarily be the first thing a new freestyle rapper may want to try. However, I think getting good at this is going to take you to the next level for sure.
What’s Your Periscope Setup?
My setup is nothing special. I am lucky enough to have a living situation where no one cares about how loud I am, so I broadcast from my room. If you have sound restraints I suggest utilizing your vehicle.
Typically, I will get a few instrumentals ready that I enjoy, and adjust on the fly.
How long should I freestyle rap on Periscope?
Periscope for 30 minutes a day. This is how I suggest one starts using Periscope to develop their skill. I treat it very similar to exercising my body and going to the gym. You are exercising your freestyle muscle.
Periscope is also addicting. It is cool to have people watch you rap, even though it may be virtually.
Rapping User Comments on Periscope
This was one of the best ways to improve my skills. Rapping user comments are both interesting to viewers and help you develop your freestyle rapping skills. When you rap comments the idea is to combine comments in a way that relates.
Here is an example of a freestyle rap on Periscope in which I rap the comments:
— TB Jones (@TBJonesTV) November 18, 2016