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How Do I Freestyle Rap?

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A lot of people think that there are tricks to freestyling, or some "god mode" technique that'll instantly make you better at coming up with a rap on the spot (otherwise known as off the top).

The reality is that freestyle rap is like any other skill - it requires consistent practice. But in this post I'm going to lay out all the skills you need to freestyle, then I'm going to show you resources to improve your freestyle rapping skills.

Rhymes

This is a no-brainer. Any rap needs to have rhymes.

Essentially you want to build an internal rhyming dictionary, so that whenever you say something you'll know what rhymes with it, almost instantly.

The real challenge when freestyling is actually thinking of the words in between your rhymes. A good freestyler already has a comprehensive internal rhyming dictionary so they're less concerned about what rhymes with what and more concerned about what they're going to say. They're thinking of clever wordplay, how to include a punchline, or how to keep a consistent message.

In order to improve your internal rhyming dictionary you just need to practice. Check the bottom of this post on how you can build that over time.

Rhythm

You have to know how to ride a beat. There's no question about it. This is one of those things that you can't explain over text. However, there are a few points that you need to understand.

  1. Your words are essentially drums over the instrumental. Keep that in mind.
  2. Maintain a pace, and try to have the same number of syllables per bar.
  3. It's better to go slow when starting otherwise you'll have to keep a fast pace.
  4. Wait a few seconds to listen to the beat and understand the structure of it before freestyling.

Relevance

You ever hear a freestyle rapper mention something that's actually happening while rapping? For example, let's say a rapper drops his hat during a freestyle, and happens to include that event in the rap.

People love these moments because they show that it really is a freestyle. It's relevant to the current moment. Whenever you're freestyling, take a look at your surroundings and try to include them into your rap. Sometimes it can make all the difference, even if the rhyme is mediocre. It's the content that shines.

Apps To Make You A Better Freestyler

The freestyle section on RapPad is pretty much the best tool you can use to practice. It has a freestyle word generator that's customizable, but it really shines because if you're just starting out it'll tell you what rhymes or what you can say while you rap.

As you continue using the tool you'll build out your vocabulary and internal rhyming dictionary, so you can rap about almost anything.

If you want a mobile version (which works a little better) then check out the Freestyle Rap Coach for Android.


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