The 3 Most Common Freestyle Rapping Mistakes (And How to Fix Them)
In today’s article we’re going to breakdown the three most common freestyle rapping mistakes and how to fix them.
If one of your goals as you learn how to rap is to learn freestyle rapping and be able to spontaneously make great raps on the spot, this will be a great article for you.
In addition to the information provided in this article be sure to check out two great resources to improve your freestyle rapping ability:
1) Subscribe to our “How To Rap” YouTube channel where we give weekly tips and visual advice on freestyle rapping, written raps, and much more (go there by clicking HERE)
2) Consider copping our “How To Master The Art of Freestyle Rap In 2 Weeks” course that we now have available where we will give you daily instructions, drills, and lessons in freestyle rap over the course of a two week program (you can get more info on that by clicking HERE)
Freestyle Rapping Mistake #1 – Not Memorizing Rhyme Schemes
This is probably the most common mistake I see with people trying to learn freestyle rapping.
When I first learned freestyle rapping, I had been rapping for a couple of years before so I already had experience with constructing rhyme schemes (or long chains of rhymes for a particular word) in the past.
When it came time to spontaneously think of raps on the spot, the fact that I had years of rhymes already up in my brain helped A LOT.
In other words, if I am freestyle rapping and I land on the word… “spitting” (as in, “I’m spitting”) I already have many, many words in my head pretty much on autopilot that I could rhyme with…
“Spitting, victim, system, listen, hit him”, etc.
In many beginning freestyle rapper’s case, they may not have taken a year or two to get used to memorizing common rhyme schemes in their head, and so when they start freestyling, they go blank partially because they don’t have rhyme schemes on autopilot.
Memorizing Is NOT Cheating
We should also note that some people may initially think that this is “cheating” or that the best freestylers haven’t memorized rhymes in advance… but that’s simply not true.
The art of freestyling is a mixture of coming up with new rhymes on the spot (I remember one time I thought of “sake bomb” and “hockey mom” literally in the middle of a freestyle) but ALSO the art of combining common rhyme schemes into a new sequence of ideas.
So if you feel like one of your main problems is that your mind is going blank often when freestyle rapping… it may be because you haven’t memorized in advance.
Three Ways To Fix Freestyle Rapping Mistake #1
Let’s give you three ways to fix this problem:
A) Write Out 20 “Rhyme Chains” A Day
One good way to get used to thinking of rhyme schemes is to force yourself to sit down and create them yourself.
By writing them out consistently you will begin to move your mind towards a series of rhymes you COULD use in your next freestyle and as you build the “create rhyme chains” habit… it will become automatic.
So, on Monday, you might think of 20 rhymes with “rapping”, Tuesday 20 rhymes with “killing it”, Wednesday 20 rhymes, “my life”, and so on.
B) Record Your Freestyles, Listen Back, and Think Of Other Rhymes
Another trick I’ve done is record my current freestyles, listen to what rhymes I DID choose, and then think of other rhymes I COULD’VE chosen for the next time. Think of it like rewriting an essay.
So, for example… if I was listening to a freestyle where I said, “I got TONS OF VIEWS / Battle me you’re GONNA LOSE”…
And then moved on to another rhyme scheme… I could pause the recording and think of other rhymes for “TONS OF VIEWS / GONNA LOSE”… such as FUNDS AND DUES / SUNS AND MOONS / RUN THE JEWELS and so on.
C) Use Rhymes From Some of Your Favorite Rappers
This doesn’t mean literally STEAL the BARS or LINES OF RAP from your favorite rappers… but for example if you hear Eminem rhyme “Violence / Eyelids / Life Is” in “My Name Is”…
You can write those down in a notes app or handwritten rhyme chain, add some of your own rhymes to that scheme (like “fly crib / fly fit / I’m sick”) and then use those in a later freestyle.
Is Memorizing From The Rhyming Dictionary Cheating?
If you’re wondering on this tip if using a rhyming dictionary to memorize is cheating, let’s answer that quickly:
This is a matter of personal opinion and some other rap education channels have said that rhyming dictionaries are good…
So there’s no right or wrong answer…
But I highly suggest AGAINST using rhyming dictionaries because it is training you to use it as a crutch…
…AND part of the true test of a rap artist (at least one who actually WRITES their own rhymes) is how they choice which rhymes to use and how they adjust words to fit a rhyme scheme.
Eminem has talked extensively about how a LOT of the fun he gets out of rapping is the way he can find different words ON HIS OWN to try to morph into a way they can rhyme.
Whether it’s Eminem or Kendrick Lamar or any other GOAT-level rapper you can think of, they don’t use a rhyming dictionary so why should you? Challenge yourself.
Freestyle Rapping Mistake #2 – Not Practicing At Full Volume
What I mean by this is that I’ve seen many a person come through our How To Rap classes saying “I can think of a lot of dope rhymes in my head, but when I try to say them outloud, they suck or I trip up”.
This is because you are not practicing freestyle rapping at full volume… meaning the art of freestyle rapping requires you to get better at rapping OUT LOUD the things in your head…
…Not just thinking of things in your head without saying them…
That’s just called “thinking”.
So if you want to get good at freestyle rapping, commit to yourself that you are going to start practicing your freestyles FULL VOLUME OUT LOUD.
Three Ways To Fix Freestyle Rapping Mistake #2
A) Freestyle With Other People (Cyphers)
The easiest way to force yourself to be louder in freestyles is be around other people because you are NOT going to want to mumble and murmur when someone is in front of you trying to listen to you…
Especially if they’re rapping out loud themselves.
For those of you watching this who are nervous to start freestyling in public because you’re brand new that’s totally fine and natural…
…But eventually you will have to get over that because you’re NOT going to be a good freestyler if you don’t freestyle in front of other people… period.
You won’t be a good basketball player if you only play by yourself on the court…
You won’t be a good guitarist if you can’t keep in rhythm with a band of other people…
…And you won’t be a good freestyler if you can’t do it in front of other people.
An easy way to get good BEFORE doing it in public is…
B) Practice In The Shower / And Or Bedroom
Freestyle rapping by yourself is one of the few things in rap you can get good at without needing others around.
Whereas in order to rock a stage you need stage time…
…Or to promote your music you have to put it out to the public…
…You can get good at freestyling on your own and improve your skills to a point that you won’t embarrass yourself when you finally do it in front of others.
C) Drill Yourself
Now this is the only shameless plug in this video of our freestyle course, but truthfully it’s the easiest way to make sure you have good drills for free styling for yourself.
In our course where we teach you how to master freestyle rap in 2 weeks flat, we provide you with a drill each day for you to practice out loud on rhyming words, staying on beat and so on.
For more info on the course, click HERE.
Even if you don’t use THAT course, figure out some drills for yourself that require you to freestyle rap OUT LOUD and drill yourself until it becomes second nature.
Freestyle Rapping Mistake #3 – Practicing On Beats The WRONG Way
This is kind of a combination of many issues that come up with people learning how to freestyle on beats so rather than go to in-depth to the problem, let’s rock straight into the three ways to fix any issues you have with free styling on beat:
Three Ways To Fix Freestyle Rapping Mistake #3
A) Start Freestyle Rapping Within The First 15 Seconds of Hearing The Beat
It’s almost a running joke that people that suck at freestyle rapping hear a beat and then spend like 30-45 seconds just being like, “Yo… check it… unh… yo… check” without actually RAPPING.
This is because they are trying to think of a dope line rather than just STARTING and forcing their mind to adjust to the beat and get better at being spontaneous.
Not only is this a bad habit to develop, it is also EXTREMELY obvious to anyone familiar with freestyle rapping that this is what you’re trying to do.
So just start rapping immediately, adjust on the fly, on over time you will get better.
B) Practice Freestyle Rapping On Many Styles of Beats
There’s nothing worse than THINKING you’re good at freestyle rapping and then someone being like, “RAP TO THIS BEAT!” And it’s a tempo you have no idea how to handle.
Be prepared in advance for many different styles of beats and you won’t get tripped up.
I suggest making a personal playlist of instrumentals from different eras of rap, putting it on shuffle, and just going. This well help you learn how to handle any beat thrown at you.
C) Freestyle Until The End of The Beat
You will know you have truly grown as a freestyle rapper when you can rap for the entire 3-4 minute length of an instrumental without stopping or going blank.
This can take a while, and definitely videos like this or our course can help, but regardless… you need to make this your goal.
Even if you’re continuously going blank at first and there are gaps, just keep starting over again until the beat is done and eventually you WILL string together everything for 3-4 minutes straight TRUST ME.
Let’s review the freestyle rapping mistakes we discussed today and how to fix them:
Mistake #1: Not Memorizing Rhyme Schemes
Three Ways To Fix it: Write Out 20 “Rhyme Chains” A Day, Record Your Freestyles, Listen Back, and Think Of Other Rhymes, Use Rhymes From Some of Your Favorite Rappers
Mistake #2: Not Practicing At Full Volume
Three Ways To Fix It: Freestyle With Other People (Cyphers), Practice In The Shower / And Or Bedroom, Drill Yourself
Mistake #3: Practicing On Beats The WRONG Way
Three Ways To Fix It: Start Freestyle Rapping Within The First 15 Seconds of Hearing The Beat, Practice Freestyle Rapping On Many Styles of Beats, Freestyle Until The End of The Beat
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