Freestyling Over Famous Beats: HTR Answers
In today’s article we’re going to do an in-depth breakdown of “freestyling over famous beats” as a promotion tactic.
This article was inspired by a question asked by one of our viewers on our YouTube channel How To Rap, which you should definitely subscribe to with notifications if you’d like video breakdowns of all of our articles.
While the technical definition of “freestyling” is a point of contention, for the purposes of this video we’re going to assume that the person who asked the question was referring to a “pre-written freestyle”…
Which usually means a long rap with no chorus that was pre-written before it was delivered, commonly unheard in any other setting such as an album.
Let’s first give you the question verbatim, and then go in-depth with our thoughts on this commonly discussed issue for young rappers trying to get their name out there when free styling over famous beats.
A viewer asked:
“What’s up g, quick question. I recently got over my hump and have started back writing. I am going to drop a freestyle over [Rick] Ross’s “Mafia Music”. I am doing this to warm up before starting to write/record a song every week. I am wondering if I should write until my ink runs out or should I chop that 4 minute beat in half? I am capable of both and as of right now I am at the half way mark. I am aware how short the attenton span is today and also its not my beat. Let me know your opinion.”
Before we begin, let me just remind you that on this blog site we have a comment section at the end of every page…
And we are happy to make videos / articles answering your questions…
Assuming that they are either a unique issue or something we find particularly interesting.
We probably won’t answer it directly because we literally have 100s of videos describing that.
BUT if it’s something like this where we either haven’t answered it, or it’s a uniquely posed question, we will DEFINITELY make a point to discuss it for you.
Anyway, within this question I see three main topics:
1. Should I write a freestyle over a famous beat for the length of the beat or just stop about half way through?
2. Is the modern attention span too short to listen to a full 4 minutes of pre-written freestyling over a famous beats?
3. Am I in any danger “releasing” something over a beat that’s not mine?
Let’s take these in order.
Should I be freestyling over famous beats for the length of the beat or just stop about half way through?
I see no problem writing all the way through the beat, especially if you’re writing fairly quickly.
After more than 15 years of rapping myself, it would probably take me about 30-45 minutes to write three-four minutes of bars over a famous beats, with no chorus or song structure to worry about.
If you can write at that speed, then why not give the public more than what they asked for?
Additionally, if you are just using these as warm-up sessions essentially, then it is definitely helpful to have more ink on the page to keep warming up before your official “songwriting” starts.
Is the modern attention span too short to listen to a full 4 minutes of pre-written freestyling over a famous beats?
Something like this I wouldn’t put too much thought into.
Look, somebody knows whether or not they’re going to mess with your bars, style, energy within the first 30 seconds of hearing you.
Cutting off your track two minutes prior isn’t going to make much of a difference either way.
Now NOTE… this is in reference to doing a “freestyle over famous beats”. I would have a different answer if it was a single you were trying to push and put money into.
But because this is essentially just a warm-up verse meant to shake the dust off and you’ll just release it as a loosie…
I see no point in trying to pay the “attention span game” with your audience. If they like the first two minutes, they’ll like the second two minutes.
If they don’t like the first two minutes, they ain’t gonna keep playing it anyway.
Am I in any danger “releasing” something over a beat that’s not mine?
The short answer is yes, absolutely… IF YOU PLAN TO SELL IT.
So don’t sell it. It kind of goes without saying that you shouldn’t be trying to “sell” freestyles over famous beats.
Not only could you potentially get screwed financially and legally, but it’s just a pathetic promotion scheme.
Also you will likely get flagged from certain services for even TRYING to. Total waste of time.
Last point: don’t invest too much attention in “freestyling over famous beats” in any case. It’s just a way to show people you have bars and get them to pay a bit more attention to you.
I know that Wayne and 50 did it in the past to great success but that was a totally different era and at this point that resource is kind of tapped.
As a rap coach I see rappers with the new “(insert popping beat) freestyle” everyday and I rarely click it.
I don’t even care how well someone raps over a famous beat unless it’s on 5 fingers of death or something…
And even then if it’s dope I just go listen to their song… and if their SONGS suck, it doesn’t matter anyway.
A really good example of this is King Los.
Now I mean NO disrespect because I LOVE LOVE King Los as a rapper and I think he’s TOTALLY underrated, but…
He has many, many videos absolutely tearing apart famous beats OFF THE TOP no less…
And yet his SONGS haven’t made a huge impact.
I don’t quite know why because I’ve heard his original albums and they were dope…
But overall because his SONGS haven’t made an impact, his career has been treading water a bit.
At the end of the day, you can’t sell a freestyle over a famous beat. And if you can’t sell your music, you don’t have a music career.
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