What is really a Freestyle in Hip Hop culture?

Hip hop is a culture, and when you’re talking about a culture, you should admit that there will be a variety of perspectives even when talking about the core of the culture.

In hip hop, that controversy is what is the definition of freestyle. Hold on, everything you think you know about freestyle may be wrong.

For most hip-hop fans, when they see the term “freestyle” they consider it as a rhyme that is (or at least seems to be) made up on the spot. But that hasn’t always been the case, and examining the changing meanings of the term is a three-decade story from the East Coast to the West and everywhere in between.

Even for Emcees, the definition of what is a freestyle is controversial, but most considerable hip hop artists agree that a rap freestyle is a coherent written rhyme with no particular direction. it is a style of improvisation that is prepared beforehand; I learned that ‘freestyling’ back in the days, really, was when you write a rhyme, and then you say it,” says LL Cool J, and ”of the head” is a form of freestyle that is not beforehand written. 

Freestyle is a style of improvisation that is prepared beforehand. Rappers do it to exercise their rhyming skills and prove their superiority over other rappers who can’t do it and to show how good you are, it is all about earning respect. DMX said once: “It’s just talkin’ mess, not talkin’ about any particular subject, just talkin’ about how good you are. That’s freestylin’ to me.” He adds, “Freestyle, to me, is a style—not speaking on any particular subject, just on how nice you are.”

Nowadays, rappers can’t do it off the top of the head, without prepared material, the internet changed a lot, and it is risky now to do a wack freestyle on camera because it lives forever. Rappers are avoiding doing this, Method Man said: “I don’t like somebody to come up to me and ask me to rhyme off the top in the street like that. I don’t care if there’s a camera in my face, [if I am] on radio, whatever. 

Even Eminem who has a long history of rap battling—with improvised disses coming with the territory—never aboveboard claimed the BET verse was off the top of his head, and the length, arc, and specificity of his tirade make it highly unlikely that it was spontaneous.

As hip hop continues to grow up and expand new generations add their legacy to the talisman of the culture it makes sense that once agreed upon covenants take on new meaning.

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