How to Freestyle Rap

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Freestyle rap is the face of poetry in contemporary society. It brings verse to nooks and crannies of society where one might not expect to find couplets and sonnets, yet there they are. It's also a dynamic and engaging form of self expression which can be used to entertain, resolve disputes or vent emotion. Follow these steps to freestyle rap.

Things You'll Need

  • Pen and paper
  • Beat
  • Learn the basics. You don't have to be a child prodigy to learn to freestyle rap. You can use Web sites like the Rap Dictionary and Flocabulary to help you become the next Young MC (see Resources). You can learn rap lingo, freestyle style and figurative language with the click of a mouse.

  • Just start flowing. Flowing is slang for when a freestyle rapper just starts speaking along to the music. Get some words out and see where you are.

  • Write down some good rhymes ahead of time. Freestyle rap is not always 100 percent freestyle. Most performers have a few staple rhymes to build a rap around before they start flowing.

  • Work on your wordplay. A truly clever freestyle rap (like good poetry) makes use of many literary devices. Use puns, double entendre and ambiguous meaning to give layers to your rap.

  • Practice at home in your spare time. You'll be a more confident performer if you've rapped over a beat or used your staple rhymes many times in front of the mirror or in the shower.

  • Have a rap battle. Part of the genesis of freestyle rap is its beginnings in rap battles. 2 freestylers face off trading insults and measuring their abilities against one another.

  • Rap what you know. This old adage applies just as much to freestyle rap as it does to any other kind of writing. If you try to imitate other's style or content, it will be clearly disingenuous.

Tips & Warnings

  • Carry a pen and notebook with you to jot down any good lines that might pop into your head throughout the day.
  • Rap battles can be stressful, but the force of competition can drive a freestyle rapper to a new level in their rhymes that they might not otherwise reach.
  • Don't be ashamed if you aren't a professional at first. Nobody is. The most important thing is to continue rapping in the face of the music.
  • Many freestyle rappers resort to shock tactics and explicit lyrics to make their raps stand out, though this is certainly not necessary to be successful.

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