SOHH Whatcha Think: Is The Art Of The True Freestyle Gone Forever? [Click Here & Speak]
Friday, Oct 21, 2011 12:04AM
As Hip Hop music enters a new decade, it continues to be a one of the most popular forms of music despite an economic slump, Auto-Tune and skinny jeans. Yes, although it has changed alot since its inception, rap is still alive and well. And once of its most fundamental features: The freestyle, continues to be popular among fans and artists alike.
Freestyling used to be a way that MC's and wannabe MC's showcased their skills outside the studio. You didn't need a muli-million dollar producer, a studio audience or even a high profile award show to let n*ggas know you had skills. All it took was a few cats, a beat (and even that was optional) and a little breathing room to style on n*ggas.
Cats with no aspiration whatsoever to become the next big rap dude freestyled. N*ggas at a house party with no record deal would huddle up in a circle and cypher. It was fun. It was rap. It was part of our culture. But as rap continued to grow, and the stakes increased, the definition of the freestyle changed. The high profile artists that had careers to protect could no longer risk stumbling over bars or dropping weak metaphors because it would definitely make its way online and live forever on YouTube. So what happened? Freestyles became more polished.
Sure, radio, television and internet freestyles can have a gully setting, a raw feel and an image of being off the top of the dome. But when was the last time you heard a popular MC spitting something that truly sounds like it was made up on the spot?
There's something very personal about hearing the raw thoughts of a true rap poet delivered fresh and direct. Admittedly, while I still enjoy the radio and Web cyphers that air nowadays, I often wonder: Is the art of the true freestyle a thing of the past?
Check out this *coughs* freestyle by Wale over the classic Jay-Z track "What More Can I Say."
[Editor's Note: The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of SOHH]