News: Big Boi Defines Freestyle, "The New Style Is Just Reciting Some Sh*t You Wrote"

Monday, May 24, 2010 11:00AM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

OutKast's Big Boi recently shared his thoughts on the new wave of artists who pass off pre-written raps as freestyles.

From Boi's perspective, the essence of what made a true freestyle has disappeared.

"Let me say one thing about free-styling. There's a new school definition of free-styling and then it's a real definition of free-styling. The definition of free-styling is raps or thoughts off the top of your head, not written down, your homeboy can't say your backgrounds behind you while you say it. It's strictly like for me to just go off the top of my head and even talk about the paper that you got. Or you can talk about the skirt with flowers (kicks a freestyle) See what I mean? You can go off into a tangent if you want to...?Like, the new style free-styling is just reciting some s**t you wrote. No, but that's what the f**k they doin'. Nah'm sayin? You can do that all day long." (All Hip Hop)

DJ Green Lantern recently discussed his approval of pre-written freestyles.

Not at all. To me, I don't care. As long as what you're saying is hot; why would I care if what you're saying is written or not? Unless it's a segment purely designated for that like Supernatural or one of these guys that do observational freestyles, I don't care if you look at your Blackberry or write something down. That infamous Eminem freestyle on Tim Westwood's show, where he did that freestyle over the Mobb Deep 'Got it Twisted' beat. He had it in his mind but he took a minute to write it down because it was so complex. I wouldn't trip if anybody was to write something down." (XXL Mag)

The Clipse's Pusha T said he would easily leave traditional non-written raps to artists like Jay-Z and Lil Wayne last January.

"I have the coolest little writing journal. I love to just blackout in it, and I can't wait! It's like everything. I'm just taking on all beats and all types of sh*t and just spilling," Pusha said about his pen game. "To me, not too many people are good at freestyling. Everyone always talks about how they freestyle lyrics. Freestyling lyrics with no depth is stupid to me. That's corny. I can do that. I've done it, and it's never as detailed as it could be. Someone like Jay-Z that does that has mastered it. People try to mimic, but they don't understand, you can mimic the process but you have to master it to have that type of effect. I freestyle melodies. I'll find a melody by just vibing with a record, but not actual lyrics. That's a puzzle." (Artist Direct)

Drake recently spoke on avoiding unwritten raps.

"I'll never forget how nervous I was," Drake explained in an interview when he freestyled from his BlackBerry phone. "It was such a rookie hip-hop moment -- and, obviously, the controversy of me pulling out my phone and rapping off my phone because I just wasn't prepared. A lot of people don't know the difference between freestyle or off the top and coming to a radio show knowing you got to go there, so you got verses cued up in your head, whether they be off your upcoming album or verses just that you have laying around. A lot of artists get that preparation time...I'm a writer, man. I appreciate the elements of hip-hop. I appreciate a guy like Common who goes city to city and just spits at the crowd for 10 minutes about everything he sees. I admire talent like that, because that's just not my creative process." (MTV)

Check out a past Eminem freestyle below:

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