Freestyling

"Tips on Freestyling"




"Growing up in the hip-hop world, I found it fascinating that some people could freestyle.  I remember one time walking through Time Square with my sister and these two guys came up to us freestyling.  They just picked things out of the air, such as they rhymed about our cloths and the square.  On our way back to the train, at Grand Central, I thought to myself: how could they flow like that?  And that's what intrigued me to get serious about my flow."

(By Some Broad, 5/15/03)



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The art of freestyling is one of hip-hop's most identifying and most respected aspects to its craft.  Freestyling is honestly one of the toughest feats to master in becoming a MC.  There are a lot of MCs out there that can write lyrics and deliver, but what separates MCs in the eyes of the hip-hop world the most is whether or not an MC can freestyle.  This is why it is extremely important for an MC to freestyle if he/she is to make it in the music business.  Not only is freestyling a must, this art can help an MC in more ways then one, for example, it can help with writing songs.  It can also help an MC with his/her flow and finding out a style that works for them.  Besides, it can also be a thing to do to waste time or to do with friends.  So if you are an up and coming hip-hop MC try some of these suggestions, they might help you better yourself:




Tips

Tip I. -- State of Mind

Tip II. -- Developing a Rhyming Vocabulary

Tip III. -- Attempt / Go with it

Tip IV. -- Rhyme with Another Person

Tip V. -- Making Sense

Tip VI. -- Elimination Tongue Twist

Tip VII. -- Pausing / Commas

Tip VIII. -- The Speed of the Rhyme

Tip IX. -- Voice Variances

Tip X. -- Rhyming Two Words that don't Rhyme

Tip XI. -- Doubling

Tip XII. -- Twice Saying

Tip XIII. -- Use Metaphors & Analogies & Simalies




Tip I. -- State of Mind


In order to rhyme on the fly (freestyle), one must relax.  Understand that freestyling is not easy and that for many it can take years to learn.  Also recognize that not everyone will pick it up as fast as others.  Freestyling for the most part has to be practice over and over again, this may mean rhyming day and night to get proficient at it.  But keep this in mind, it will come.


Tip II. -- Developing a Rhyming Vocabulary


Some of the best ways to improve your rhyming vocabulary is to read poetry and other rappers lyrics.  The idea here is to get familiar with what rhymes with what.  Make mental notes.  Or write down the stuff that interest you on a note pad.


Continually read these stories over and over.


What's great about reading these stories is that it sublimely helps you develop your own style and teaches you how to write and say rhymes that are graceful and have meaning.


Another way to develop a rhyming vocabulary is by writing songs.  By writing your own songs you have to think of what rhymes with what, thereby this gets you thinking about how to rhyme.  But here's the trick, write at least ten songs without using any of the same rhymes, i.e., once you use a word in a rhyme in one song, don't use it again in any of your songs.  To help you think of rhymes when you write these ten or so songs, buy a rhyming dictionary.  A rhyming dictionary can help resolve brain blocks that may hinder you from writing.  This is important because if you get a brain block this could get you frustrated and make you lose your motivation.


The next part to this is to memorize these songs (the ones you wrote).  By memorizing these songs you get the rhymes logged in your head, in other words, the next time you rhyme or write a rhyme, when you think of one word you can automatically know another word that rhymes with it.  


Tip III. -- Attempt / Go with it


Typically when most people start freestyling they have problems with coming up with the next bar (sentence).  So what does one do in this case?  The answer is simple, just say whatever comes into your mind.  Sometimes the next bar just doesn't happen.  So go with it, attempt; just make sure that you go slow at first.  As you practice you will begin to start rhyming.  (Food for thought, even the best can't always make ever sentence rhyme.) 


When first starting out, say a sentence.  Stop.  Identify the last word you said.  Now think of a word that rhymes with that last word, and then put it into a sentence.  In time, speed this method up slowly until it seems normal.


Tip IV. -- Rhyme with Another Person


One of the best ways to practice how to freestyle is to flow back & forth with another person.  Flowing back & forth with someone can be fun and enjoyable, and that's what freestyling is mainly about.  Plus rhyming with another person is a confidence booster, for it allows you to get comfortable to rhyme around people.  At the beginning it's wise to rhyme just with one person who is a good friend of yours, who basically will not make you feel stupid if you mess-up.  As one gets better then he/she can then start freestyling back & forth with more people in the flow.


The idea here to flow back & forth with another person is like a game.  What happens is that you have to start paying more attention to what words are being used.  This game acts as an awareness tool in mastering how to freestyle.


First, start with one person saying a sentence.  When that person is done saying that sentence the other person takes the last word of that sentence and tries to rhyme it with another sentence / word.  Once the second person is done with his/her sentence then the first person goes again.  Let this go for a few rounds, and then switch.


Instead of using one sentence, use two sentences per person.  Once that's mastered, go to three per person.  And so on.


For groups, the rhyme goes around in circle in the same type of fashion, but the rhyming word could change at different a person.  To make it a little more challenging for the group, one person can say a few bars and then pass it in the rhyme to another person, e.g., where a the rhymer in his rhyme says who will be next. 


Tip V. -- Making Sense


Making sense is probably the hardest part about freestyling.  Although there is no real good way to teach someone how to make sense when they rhyme, but there are a few things a person can do to help them.  One thing you can try to help yourself is to pick a topic or subject to rhyme about.  Another thing that tends to be beneficial is to rhyme about something you know about.  Other options are, tell a story or give a testament.  No matter what works for you take your rhyme slow and describe the option in detail.


Tip VI. -- Eliminating Tongue Twist


Sometimes when people try to rhyme they tend to start to stumbling on words as they say them.  Try this.  Before you start rhyming, begin with some tongue twisters.  Tough Twister have been proven to help people with their pronunciation.  Because rap is not sung, pronunciation is extremely important.  Here are some tough twisters to try:

For some tradition tongue twisters visit http://www.fun-with-words.com/tongue_twisters.html.


Practicing these tough twisters will get you thinking about exactly what you are saying, and that's the point.


Another type of drill can be done to help eliminate tongue twist and that is speed rhyming.  This is a drill that you can do prior to freestyling to help you again with pronunciations.  This drill is were you take an already written rhyme and time yourself on how fast you can rhyme it.  When your done rhyming take note to how long it took you to say that rhyme.  Now try to do the same rhyme over again, but this time try to do it faster.  Do this about five times, see how fast you can get.  The theory is that you will get your brain and mouth working together and fast.  By getting the two working together you should notice a difference when you freestyle.


Tip VII. -- Pausing / Commas


Because freestyling requires a lot of thinking very quickly many people have problems with trying to figure out what their next bar should be.  If you are one, you may want to try this.  It's a trick called pausing.  Pausing is where the rapper uses sentences that have, if they were written down on paper, commas in them, for example an 'if - then' sentence.  What this does is lets a rapper to say more and to allow the rapper another second to think about how he/she wants to rhyme it.  Some other advantages of using commas are to keep sentences from getting too long winded and on beat.


What's interesting about pausing, is that many of the great freestylers who naturally flow use this technique without even knowing it.  So the next time you pick up one of those old mix-tapes on Fordam Road listen to how they flow.


Tip VIII. -- The Speed of the Rhyme


As one learns how to freestyle, it is important to establish that the rhyme keeps the same tempo.  This is why back in the day that most freestylers would rhyme over a break beat (drum beat).  Today, freestylers use loops.  But lets keep it simple in the beginning, use a break beat.  If you can't find a good break beat buy a metronome.  These are avalible at any good music store.  Also today's computers' sound boards have them built in.  Again, another source of a metronome or a break beat is a keyboard (on effects models).


Practice rhyming with the beat (start out with a 4/4).  Try ending you rhyme on the crash (block, clap, or symble) or if you are using a metronome, when in clicks (the nice thing about metronomes is that you can watch them, so your not only using your ears but also your eyes, and this is good for beginners).


When one get good they can change the pitch control on the record player or the tempo on the metronome to get some variances.


Tip IX. -- Voice Variances


In the mist of this all, a great freestyle is really the MC that can vary his/her voice.  There's nothing worst then hearing a MC that is mono-toned.  So here's some things that you can try to vary your voice.


The first thing that you can try is try rhyme words that are similar, but don't exactly rhyme.  For example:

If your are having problem with trying to rhyme these words together, what you might try to do is change your accent of how you say the words.  Another technique you can try is to drown out the last letter or last half of the word to get them to rhyme.  Meaning that you use a slight mumble, or fade it out with your voice's volume.


Another way to get one's voice from sounding mono-tone, is to try enfisizing different word (or different sylimbols in your words) throughout the bar.


A different effect that you can try is to vary you voice in octive.  Most people can speak in three voices.  There normal speaking voice; a mid range voice.  A high voice, such as a voice used in laughter.  And a lower voice, this voice is typically used when speaking formally.  Using these three one can get there rap having some melody.  Practice rhyming this way without a beat, and then to a beat.  You'll notice once you go to a beat you'll flow with the variance of the beat.


Buy singles that have intrumentals.  Uses these beats to practice with.  The great thing about CD singles is that if you are having problems with knowing how to flow to the melody you can listen to how the orginal artist attack it.


Although there are lots of ways to vary your voice, its really up to you to determine if you sound mono-toned or not.  So grab a microphone and record yourself.  Record it two ways.  One recording with just your voice, and the other with you and the melody or beat.  Then play it back and ask yourself would you buy that.  If so then play it for a friend.


Tip X. -- Rhyming Two Words that don't Rhyme


Because there are some word in the English language that don't have another word that rhymes with it, you can try changing parts of the word without losing its meaning or what you mean.  You can also apply this to even words that do have another word that rhymes with it.  So the object here is to change either word one or both words to make them rhyme together.  Try to rhyme these words together:

To also help with making these rhyme together you can use some of the techinques listed in Tip IX.  After you see how to do this, you will start to be able to take some of those bars that didn't rhyme together (like the one discussed in Tip III.) and make them rhyme together.


Tip XI. -- Doubling


Sometimes when freestylers find themselves in a situation where they can't think of a rhyming word they will resort to using the rhyme word again in the next sentence.  Although this is not wise to do too often, but it can help you maintain your flow and keep you focused.


Tip XII. -- Twice Saying


A simple method used to make a flow sound as if it rhyme is saying the last word twice, this method is called "twice saying."  An example of twice saying is "Playah yeah, yeah."  Twice saying can also apply to small phases or sentences, such as "Girl I wish you loved me, girl I wished you loved me."  But if you choose to use this method, use it sparingly, unless you want to sound like a broken record. 


Tip XIII. -- Use Metaphors & Analogies & Similies


Freestlyes should be creative.  Include in your freestyles metaphors, analogies, and similies.  People want to relate.  The more people can relate to you the more you can capture their attention, and that's what you got to do if you want to be heard as an artist.


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After you have tried some of these tips, tell me if they worked. 


killacold2001@hotmail.com


©By The Devil's Advocate - Behanzin Sykes ™