To really test an emcee’ s skill on the M – I – C, better have him spit out a couple of freestyle rap lyrics. See, there are 2 definitions of freestyle rap. The first one that the old school heads refer to is done basically free of form, written then memorized and of course usually brags about one’s self. The new generation though, when they do freestyle rap lyrics, they end up speaking what’s off the top of their heads, improvising on their flow so their rhymes make sense.
Surprising, I know but a movement as underground as this does have many remarkable aspects. This sudden change in definition of freestyle rapping is suggested to have taken place in the mid to late 1980’s. Kool Mode Dee, one of the first few Grammy award winning rappers claim that before the 1990 ’s, freestyle rap lyrics were all about the written word that exhibit one’s lyrical prowess.
Just like any art form, it is obvious that even freestyle rapping has gone through its own evolution. Some emcees like the ones in Freestyle Fellowship crew take pride in the newer more difficult way of freestyle rapping, even comparing it to an intricate jazz solo. But let’s not forget how most of the old school heads used to nod their heads in disagreement at the former, calling it a half- ass attempt to rapping.
With that said, more and more people still feel that the latest form of freestyle rapping is more hard core than the former. A true test of versatility and creativity, the best freestyle rap lyrics can be heard in freestyle rap battles and cyphers. Cyphers, by the way is when a group of people come together, just letting go until the words and movements flow from the mind, inspired by the music which is usually seen in rap battles, break dancing and beat boxing.
But just like any tradition, we should still give props to the early form of freestyle rapping as it paved the way for the freestyle rap lyrics we know of today. Even with the slight difference in preparation, the essence is still the same. Outdo your opponent and impress everyone with your lyrical expertise. That is how it basically started anyway, right? Showing everyone what you are made of. So, look to the past to understand the present to keep freestyle rap lyrics alive and real.