20 Super Uncommon Tips On How To Freestyle Rap
Freestyle in your car if you have one
If you have a car then load up some Spotify instrumentals and you will have all the freedom in the world to sound as stupid as you want. No neighbours, parents, roommates can you hear you rapping in your bedroom. You can be loud, goofy and mess up on purpose. Which is the best way to practice freestyling.
This is honestly how I got solid at kicking free’s. I would rap on my way to work and on my way home almost everyday. I would rap about the things that I was passing by and throw them into the rap. License plates, types of cars, stores, signs and everything in between. Also it allows for you to multitask while you’re driving as well.
2. Try thinking of the second rhyme first
One of the hardest habits to develop is to have a rhyme in mind for your second bar WHILE you are spitting the first bar. The best way to do this is to practice and train your mind. This is not as fun as just spitting random freestyles and saying whatever comes to your mind. BUT this will allow you to start shaping your mind to think ahead. It will be frustrating at first.
A really great way to do this is to use a random word generator off of Google. Generate a bunch of them. Use those words as the rhyme in your second bar. And try not to stop even if you get caught up in a mess of terribleness. Sometimes what you say won’t make sense, or won’t even be a word. But after doing this for a couple days at 10 minutes a pop, you will become much better at thinking ahead.
The benefit to this is that you can rap about topics, or things around you. Which is the best way to get people around you involved. Also it proves that you are freestyling. Nowadays people are skeptical because everyone and their mother labels their stuff “Freestyle” but it’s just a written verse.
3. Record yourself
Probably one of the hardest things to actually commit to doing. It seems easy but listening back to your freestyles off your phone is a humbling experience. But you’ll start to pick up on the spots where you get stuck. It will tell you if your off beat all the time. It will also key you into all the placeholder sayings you might use at the start of a new bar.
Many rappers/freestyle heads have placeholder bars that they revert too while they are trying to think of a rhyme. Like “I grab the mic and start spitting” or mine is “aiyyo I wanna rap though”. Lol don’t ask me why, it just starts to happen. And everyones will be different. These are great crutches at first and will develop naturally. But attempt to stray away from these as you progress because they can be bland and you might end up saying them every other bar like me. Which doesn’t sound good.
4. Use wide varieties of beats
There is something to be said for having certain types of beats that you freestyle better on. Ones that just get your blood pumping and emotions going. You might be leaning towards a specific tempo consistently which is great for starting out. But as you advance start to take on different tempo beats and different styles. This is a great way to manufacture your flow for any type of beat you might encounter in a group setting or even just rapping acapella. It again, trains your brain to come up with different types of flows and patterns.
This will add a ton to your style when kicking free’s and really separates the wannabe’s from the top talent.
5. Write rhymes
Yeah okay, this one is kind of a gimme. But I kind of have a different take on it. After you record your raps, go back and listen. Listen for all the generic phrases you lean on when your brain is empty but you still need to say something. It’s usually a variation of the same type of thing. Like “aiyyo i spit raps”.
Now write as many rhymes as you can for “spit raps”. And do this for all the other common phrases you use as well. Now you have expanded your arsenal for when you can’t think of anything to bring you out of that empty brain funk.
Also writing JUST RHYMES down will help you grow your repertoir of rhyme options. Even if you don’t memorize them, they will pop into your head sooner or later, trust. This is not cheating. This is how you develop your rhyme reserves. I would literally sit down and write as many rhymes as possible for random words I thought sounded cool. You notice a ton of repetition and ways of stringing these together in more unique ways when your freestyling. OR incorporating them into the things around you.
6. Freestyle about topics
Probably one of the hardest things to do when freestyling is to rap about a topic and stick to it without diverting too much. I personally think the best way to do this is to open up a related words list. Pick a topic like ‘travel’ and go through the list and rap about those topics with the words that are supplied. You can deviate obviously and even if you mess up for a bar, just hop right back in. This will help you learn to think ahead while spitting which is the key to freestyle rap in the long run.
7. Count out 1-2-3-4 beats to different instrumentals
This might be one of the most helpful things to practice for a beginner. IF you are advanced or already have a grasp on bars, then you could easily skip this tip. But honestly I noticed that after believing I was on beat, I wasn’t. Really.
So I sat down and put on different instrumentals and counted out 1-2-3-4 to each bar. One thing to note is that the 1 and 3 beats are kick drums and the 2 and 4 beats are snares. Most of the time the rhyme falls on the 2 and 4 beats to keep that hip hop structure.
If you need help counting beats then you can refer to my guide on counting beats in a bar here.
Scatting is saying gibberish over a beat just to get the rhythm and flow down. As well as the melody of the beat. This is what rapping is, except there is actual content in the words. If you can scat or mumble over a beat and it sounds pretty good, then you are one step closer to being able to freestyle different types of patterns or flows.
This is also a great way to get the creative juices flowing for when you are about to write a rap to a specific beat you have picked out. This is a pretty common trend among alot of how-to rap blogs. Because everyone who raps, does it. But we do it get a pattern or flow, and then we pop real words in there as we go.
9. Just spit one syllable rhymes on the 2 and 4 beats. Don't say anything in between.
A great way to practice staying on beat is to open up www.Rhymezone.com and put in a word like “cat”. Filter by ‘near rhymes’. And you will have a huge list of rhymes to use for now. Now put on a beat and count out 1-2-3-4 for each bar. On the 2nd and 4th beats put the rhyme there.
So it would be like one-cat-three-lap-one-back-three-crack. Do this for a while until you feel comfortable where the rhymes and emphasis should be going.
10. How does the beat make you feel?
Rapping with emotion is by far the best way to captivate an audience. Translate those feelings into words. Rap about how the beat is making you feel. Answer that question over and over again and it will give you some good content with a ton of passion in it. It kind of sounds stupid, but honestly think Happy, sad, mad, frustrated, inspired blah blah.
11. Make use of the pause
So I have talked about counting 1-2-3-4 on beats is an important skill for being able to freestyle well. Using a pause here and there will add a ton of cadence to your flow and chop it up so it’s not so monotonous. I mentioned that rhymes fall on the 2 and 4 beats of bars for the most part.
Try rapping on the first 2 beats. Like “I rap for the art” then pause for the 3rd and 4th beats and kick back in the next bar as normal. It’s a great way to catch your breath and it also allows you think ahead easier. But it also adds to your delivery as long as you can pick back up on the 1 beat of the next bar with ease. I use this all the time.
12. Rhyme the first word of the next bar with the last word or syllable of the one before it
I was talking about how we have crutches we tend to lean on when we enter into a new bar because we are busy trying to think of the rhyme. If you notice yourself start to use these WAY too much, then a really cool way to overcome is to rhyme the start of the bar with the rhyme from the previous bar right away.
So If i said “Yo i rap for the art and let the words take shape” - I would start the next bar with a rhyme for shape right away. “Yo i rap for the art and let the words take shape/ make all the bars in the verse sound great”. Then lead off with the same for the next bar but change the rhymeschme. “Make all the bars in the verse sound great/ hate all these rappers trying to compare” and so on and so on.
This has helped me break the habit of constantly using the same phrases over and over again in my second bar.
13. Overemphasize voice inflection/pitch
For practice, usually when by yourself haha. Overemphasize using a low voice all the way to a super high pitch voice over the beat in different spots. I’ve always had the problem of trying to spit so hard that my voice was the same pitch all the way through the freestyle. It makes it super hard to listen too for more than a minute to be honest.
You might feel or sound incredibly ridiculous at first. But do this. Do this and record. I’m telling you I had no idea I was never using any different pitches in my freestyles. And when I felt like I was overemphasized and sounding stupid, it was actually just normal when I played it back. Super interesting tactic to use.
14. If you can't think about what to say. Say you can't think about what to say. No filter.
This one seems pretty obvious. But for beginners the biggest problem they have is filtering out what they are going to say. 100% biggest issue there. Always worried they might say something stupid or that doesn’t make sense.
Try rapping about the apprehension that you feel. Like if you had a stupid rhyme just say. “Yeah, that was stupid rhyme/ But ima bring it back and im lost in my human mind” or whatever. Like, “I feel weird about rapping though”, or “I can’t think of what to say”.
It’s a really great way to get some words out of your mouth and get rid of that rap filter.
15. Think of your first bar ahead of time.
Oftentimes we find ourselves starting a freestyle session. Regardless if you’re at home or with friends. When you put on the beat you have a couple seconds to let it kick in. Or if you’re in a cipher then you need to wait for your buddy to pass it off.
While this is all going down. Think of your first bar. Its not cheating, but it’s a solid way to get you started on the right foot. When you’re first bar is good, then everything after it becomes a little easier to play off of.
16. Play with melodies
Try chopping up different patterns in your freestyle game. If you’re anything like me you tend to gravitate toward one style of flow when you freestyle because it’s where you feel most comfortable. Try throwing in pauses here and there. And different pitches. Like first part of the bar high pitched, then pause, end of the bar low pitched and match it in the next bar. This is a cool experiment that will help grow your freestyle game.
17. Switch rhyme schemes every 2 bars
This is a fun one. I tend to get stuck in a rhyme scheme for multiple bars and then I start squeezing out rhymes that sound bad. But also the content gets lost because i’m only concerned with the rhymes instead of what i’m actually saying. If you purposefully switch up the rhyme scheme every 2 bars then the content will become better. AND the flow will be more interesting because different rhyme schemes create different types of pattern and flow automatically.
18. “I'm SO..(insert adjective)” for easy wordplay
People want to hear wordplay in rap. It’s just the case. And one of the easiest ways to throw in some metaphor while you’re freestyling (which is super hard to do naturally as i’m sure you’re aware). One easy technique I use is saying “I’m so (blank)”. But filling the blank with an adjective. Like ‘I’m so dope.. I couldnt get across the border” or “I’m so fresh, I’m lettuce at the corner store”.
An adjective is basically any type of descriptive word like short, fat, long, fresh, sick, boring and so on.
19. Freestyle about things around you
This is the best way to keep the people listening involved and to get the crowd roaring. Supernat does this while on stage and tells the audience to hand him stuff on the stage while he’s rapping and he will rap about that particular object.
It’s not easy to do. But I found the key is to not actually rhyme the object itself. So if you’re looking at a couch and you want to say something about it. Think of descriptions of the couch quickly. “Take a look at the flow ima spit up on/ i leave your ears stained like the couch that we sittin on/
It’s very hard to do in the heat of the moment. But with practice thinking ahead and thinking of your second bar before you spit your first bar. It will be dope.
20. Freestyle about images and pictures
We are beings who love images and pictures. They say a pictures worth a thousand words. The reason they say that is because when we look at an image our mind starts to wander and think. Pull up some images on google search and freestyle about the pictures. It’s a great way to grow your creativity and include some imagery in your freestyle raps.