SOHH Whatcha Think: What's The Friggin' Big Deal W/ Pre-Written Freestyles? [Click Here & Speak]

Friday, Jul 1, 2011 12:05AM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Can't we all just get along? Pre-written, off-the-dome, it does not matter to me anymore when it comes to these freestyles. Personally, and I have vastly grown since my high school years in the early 2000's, I have come to accept the idea of "classic" back-in-the-day format freestyles are all but gone in 2011.

[Editor's Note: The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of SOHH.com]

Thinking back to 2004, I recall hearing one of Lloyd Banks' "Time Westwood TV" freestyles which I instantly knew came from one of his mixtapes or albums. Now back then, I was overly anal when it came to freestyles. Even if it was the repetition of a certain phrase or line getting snuck into a freestyle, I automatically downgraded it. I was a real hard head when it came to what makes up a freestyle. The idea of artists rapping off their phones these days would have made the early 2000's Cyrus sick.

As much as I co-sign pre-written freestyles today, I cannot help but ponder, "What would the old Cyrus think?" The old Cyrus would look at the clip of Drake rapping from his BlackBerry and shake his head. There is a lack of skill, in the old Cyrus' opinion, when you have the lines in front of you. Can you imagine a freestyle battle where two emcees came to the table with their best stuff ready to get scrolled downward? Remember the classic stand-off with Cassidy/Freeway from the early 2000's?.

Those are certified moments in hip-hop, along with Jin winning BET 106 & Park's Freestyle Fridays competition. But even today, you have to wonder how many pre-written, or rather pre-thought out, bars were already embedded in a battle rapper's head, right? Living in times where the industry continues to evolve and still push the format of a one-hit single rather than artist development, key components like having an extensive vocabulary and witty wordplay gets flushed down the toilet. Just ask somebody like Waka Flocka Flame if he would rather cash up on a catchy hit single or invest time in complex, lyrically-witty raps.

So while the debate becomes a bit fuzzy, the bottom line is in 2011, what's the big deal with pre-written freestyles? I really believe we have reached a point in hip-hop where there is a sense of understanding. You will always have your Supernatural's and eLZhi's known for keeping the true essence of freestyle alive but just like you can find an MC Hammer and KRS-One album both in the "HIP-HOP" section of your everyday Barnes & Noble music department, certain exceptions should be made for those pre-written bars.

SOHH Whatcha Think?

[Editor's Note: The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of SOHH]

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