Rhymefest on freestyling

BigKBigK 97 Posts
edited August 2010 in Strut Central
Dope video with Rhymefest talking about freestyling, also has a small article under it -

If public speaking is a fear for some, try doing it under a spotlight on stage, in rhyming couplets, with cogent ideas and narrative, and the threat of being booed off the stage if you're not spontaneous and in rhythm.

This is the reality of Battle Freestyling, an art form with a basis in hip-hop, where competitors improvise rap lyrics on the spot. If you've seen the Eminem movie "8 Mile," you realize that few performance arts seem more difficult ??? think Charlie Parker if his saxophone notes were replaced with rhyming words.

"I'm always in awe when I see a top-level freestyler flawlessly come up with lyrics on the spot," said Paul Edwards, author of "How to Rap: The Art and Science of the Hip-Hop MC" (Chicago Review Press).

"To be able to do that off the top of the head is a fascinating and hard-earned skill. It's as difficult as writing a great verse or writing a coherent song, and I think it's a very different skill to those things as well."

Rene Duquesnoy teaches a freestyling course at ComedySportz called "Mad Skillz" and stars in "Beatbox," a show at iO where improvisers break into rhyme and verse.

"It can be very intimidating," Duquesnoy said. "People's experience with freestyling is listening to hip-hop and watching ???8 Mile' and thinking that's very scary, something they're never going to do. But it's like learning any skill."

We wanted to interview an expert on freestyling, someone we can dive into the brain with and attempt to break down the creative and technical process of battle-rapping. We found that person in Rhymefest, Chicago native, community activist and Grammy-winning hip-hop artist. Rather than articulate it in print, we collaborated with Rhymefest in a short film called "The Art of Freestyling" (above).

Three tips to better freestyling from iO's Rene Duquesnoy

1. One-syllable words ending with strong vowels sounds are easier to rhyme than ones that end in a consonant. "Bay" is easier to rhyme than "catastrophic."

2. When you freestyle about a certain topic, you free-associate words. Say it's skydiving and you think of the word "plane." Don't use it immediately ??? save the money word for the second line of the couplet.

3. If you have nothing to rhyme or you're stuck, you can fake it with energy. Make some sort of big declaration and the audience will think you're fearless.


  • BreezBreez 1,706 Posts
    I always liked Rhymefest. He's just not too marketable, IMO.
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