How to Freestyle Rap: 5 Easy Tips for Beginners

How to Freestyle Rap: 5 Easy Tips for Beginners

Freestyling is an art, much like the culture of Hip-Hop itself. This essential skill set is one that every rapper should have in his arsenal. For those just starting out I’ve created these quick tips for any beginners out there that want to become a reputable wordsmith (that’s a word…look it up).

#1 – Be Cool

B-Real 2006 | HowToMakeHip-Hop.com
B-Real
First thing you gotta do is take as much pressure off yourself as you possibly can. There’s no crowd watching, there’s no money on the line (yet), and you’ve probably got no reputation to wager. So relax, because bringing unnecessary tension into your body will only cause a block in your mind. When you first start out trying to freestyle don’t even use a beat. Spend as much time as you can going a cappella.

You’ll find more creative space when you’re not trying to rhyme to a clock and get the next line out before the last bar ends. Not having any time constraints will definitely make easy practise. Also, try to stick to an easy rhyming pattern (more words rhyme with “blue” than “bridge” if you know what I mean). When you’re not trying hard to sound cool, the words will line up and flow easier.

 

#2 – Pens Still Count

Now don’t go throwing your rhyme book away thinking that there’s no credibility in good ol’ fashioned writing just because you heard Kanye West got up in the studio and bust a fat 16 bars Writing Cartoonoff the top of the dome! That bad boy is going to be with you as long you still call yourself a rapper. I know we live in a digital age but books are still legit (I myself have three so far). You need to be flexing your rhyming muscle on the daily, so get that guy familiar with a more rhythmic vocabulary by continuing with the written (why not even read a book).

The more you develop your flow through your written bars, the more confident you’ll be behind the mic. Like riding a bike, I mean, you don’t still look down at the handlebars do you? So make rhyming as natural to you as one plus two and every other thing you do (yeah, I’m a regular Dr. Seuss!).

 

#3 – Make Mistakes

Now that you’re relaxed writing on the reg, the main thing now is to keep your flow going. There may be someone out there that started out at a great level but absolutely no-one begins a master. The fact is: you’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to stutter or (worst case) you’re gonna straight up freeze, but that’s perfectly okay.

Remember, no-ones watching when you’re still building the car, only when you’re racing (…metaphor-ce!), so don’t be afraid to say all the stupid things your brain comes up with. Laugh at yourself too if what you said was that bad-funny, it’ll make you enjoy the process of learning. Keep going as long as you can and eventually length won’t even be a concern. You’ll just get lost in the fun, caught up in the joy of being able to express yourself

 

#4 – Free Your Mind

Joey the Jerk | HowToMakeHip-Hop.com
Joey the Jerk
Think freely. Inspiration is all around you, in everything you see, hear and touch, so use it. Let your mind make the connections that it wants and go with it, you’ll probably end up surprising yourself with the words you’re able to pair together. You may have read it somewhere (like I said, why not even read a book) or you may have used the combo in a previous verse you wrote when you took my advice and kept using your rhyme book.

Even if it sounds ridiculous at first, remember, you gotta keep the flow going (like I said before you know). The worst thing you can do is second guess yourself as you go about doin’ ya thang. If just one word is switched out mid-thought you’ll just end up clogging the system and letting nothing out. Just say it.

 

#5 – Practise, Practise, Practise

Your teachers, your parents, your everybody has said this and I’m going to say it again: PRACTISE. MAKES. PERFECT. So dammit, just make sure you do it. Rap while you’re getting dressed in the morning, while you knit or while doing any other random thing you can think of. With your motor functions pre-occupied it should free up some creative space. You will eventually want to get out of your bedroom of course. Make friends with other rappers (if they aren’t your friends already. If not, stop lone-wolfing out here).

Have friendly cyphers together, even just two of you is fine. When you’re not in front of strangers there’s a lot less pressure and they probably won’t be as quick to hate on you for messing up. But even when you’re alone you can get some solo practise time in by setting up a mic and facing the speakers towards you so you can hear yourself. Or make a voice recording of yourself and play it back to be your own audience. That’s a bit awkward at first but you’ll get the hang of it.

 

Gino Clavuot | HowToMakeHip-Hop.com
Gino Clavuot

Hopefully these tips will be able to help any aspiring artists out there. Got tips you wanna share? Having trouble with your rhymes? Feel free to share your thoughts and comments below.

Peace.

Ryan C. Voller, Recording Artist – Producer – Lead Contributor for HowToMakeHip-Hop.com

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24 thoughts on “How to Freestyle Rap: 5 Easy Tips for Beginners

  1. Hassan

    I love your website! The design and everything. You gave me some ideas since ideas since I’m a rapper homie damn! I just bookmarked your site.

    1. Ryan

      Thanks a lot bro. Just trying to share my experiences in the game to help other artists and I’m glad to see I might just accomplish that. Thanks for the support! 😀

  2. Jacob

    Hi Ryan,
    I have tried rapping simple lines but find it difficult to pronounce words when I go a little faster. What should I do about this issue?
    I think out of all your points, making mistakes is the best way to really learn rapping as the more mistakes you make, the more you can actually learn more!
    How do you get started in this hobby?
    Jacob

    1. Ryan

      Whadup Jacob. First off I got into this through a classmate of mine in high school that was already making his own tracks. The best advice I can give you is to slow it down a bit more. Practise without time pressure and give your brain time to think and your mouth time to speak. A lot of time I find myself using rhyme schemes that I’m familiar with and that I’ve practised after writing and recording and getting it locked into my memory. Almost like I use the same rhyme but I change the words leading up to it. Even I still aim to get it to the point where getting the right words out becomes second nature.

  3. Jeremy Hood

    These are some great tips, I can remember attempting this in middle school when we had nothing to do and staying up late with my friends.

    It was not good! I like your idea of writing things down. Do you think people who write a lot will use some of that in their freestyles just because they have it fresh in their memories?

    1. Ryan

      Yo Jeremy, you so on the money! I find myself often using patterns that I’m familiar with through my writing although I will completely alter the words that lead up to the rhyme. That’s when it gets really second nature

  4. Pitin

    Thanks a lot for the tips! I know it is always easier said than done but it only takes one thing in my opinion. PRACTICE. You just have to keep on doing it. Do it whatever you are doing – cooking, taking a shower, washing your car, etc.. The more you do it, the more it will come naturally to you and the more you will get better. And if all else fails, you can “FAITH IT, ’til you make it.” 🙂

    1. Ryan

      Hahah, “Faith it?” I like that I’m gonna do it!

      Thanks for your comment

  5. Jackie

    My son-in-law messes with beats and would love to rap… Cant wait to share your site with him.

    Question… How does one become more ‘cool’ … especially if you’re a geek? lol Is it something one either has or doesn’t have?

    btw, one of your images is missing. Just thought you’d want to know. Also under #4 first word is a typo. 🙂 (thin)

    1. Ryan

      Hey Jackie.

      One thing I can tell you is that cool comes from within. If he’s a geek then he should own it, Straight up. What’s cool is confidence.

      Will be sure to address the typos. lol.

      Thanks for leaving your comment and sharing.

  6. Steve & Kris

    I truly believe that rappers are some of the most talented musicians out there. I can’t rhyme or hold a beat to save my life. But I love listening to those beats!

    Your five steps are very appropriate, not just for freestyle rap, but for so many things in life. Relax, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and practice, practice practice.

    1. Ryan

      I’m glad you found this informative and why not adapt these tools to some aspects of daily life, seems like a legit plan. 😀

      Thanks for leaving your comment.

  7. shrey

    I must admit that I wanted to learn how to rap but this is an art where if you fail in doing it correctly you end up making a fool of yourself. While looking online your site was the online one where I could find some useful tips and I usually do not leave a comment but thanks for helping me out.

    1. Ryan

      That’s exactly why I wanted to create my site, to help all beginners get in smoothly without making the mistakes that could deter them from the art.

      Thanks for leaving your comment Shrey.

  8. Paulo

    This is really interesting Ryan. Though I find a lot of mainstream hip hop to be problematic as it seems to promote promiscuity, greed and violence, there are a lot of rappers who inject positivity into their music. A bunch of these guys started out freestyling in the streets (they’re gaining popularity in my country)

    Loved your article. Also, I’m sure that the first tip will help a lot of aspiring performing artists out. It’s applicable to practically every art.

    1. Ryan

      True that. I hope my words can help share the culture and preserve the future.

      Thanks for leaving your comment.

  9. Steve

    Wow Ryan, you’ve really got some great tips there. My 10 year old students love to rap so I got them doing it in our poetry class. They loved it last year but I think I will use a lot of what you said here when writing my lesson plan for this year. What advice would you give to a kid who has got a rap tune stuck in her head, I mean how can she clear her mind and not use an old riff? Thanks, Steve

    1. Ryan

      Hi Steve, thanks or coming by.

      I often say to my friends “Sometimes if feels I just rap because, if I don’t get these lyrics out of my head, I’m going to go crazy!”

      It takes time before you get into the studio but they’re starting at a great age. They should definitely just try rapping to beats that they hear from their favourite artists so they can develop their own styles based on their own musical influences. It’s a common practice for even some well known artist to use familiar beats when making a mixtape strictly for promotional purposes.

      Let me know if this helps and how your students progress too.

      Thanks for leaving your comment most of all.

  10. Farhan

    I must say, this is a great guide for beginners. Every single tip you propose seems to be carefully crafted in order to be relatable to the total beginner. As a musician myself, I find most of them to be relevant.

    There is one thing that I think people get bothered by when it comes to rap, which is the tone of the voice. I mean words are one thing, but I guess you still need to have a great voice in order for the rap to have an impact.

    Can this be developed through practice? Or is it a natural attribute that some people just have, and others don’t?

    Thanks and great article!

    1. Ryan

      Nice to see you again Farhan.

      Just like singing, every rappers voice is unique and it’s all about finding the tone and energy that sounds as natural as your speaking voice. It should never be an act and feel as authentic as possible.

      Hope this helps and thanks again for leaving your comment

  11. Nico Rocha

    Learning how to rap has always been a childhood ambition of mine because my classmates used to look at me in awe when I would memorize a whole verse of a rap song that I would hear in the radio without losing air. It’s nice that you made an article like this because beginners would be able to write rap songs of their own, provided their passionate enough to write or learn the craft, then someday they might make it big because they have their foundations set which also requires a lot of PRACTICE. Without practice, then you wont reach far with your goals and you just gotta keep doing the basics.

    1. Ryan

      Nice to see you again, Nico.

      What made you stop? I don’t think it’s ever too late to pick up the mic and having that much breath control is a solid thing to have up your sleeve.

      Thanks again for leaving your comment.

  12. You have some great tips for learning how to rap. I love how you pointed out that making mistakes and even freezing up is perfectly normal. For me, that’s the scariest part, but I think I can overcome it.

    1. Ryan

      Whaddup, Ridley.
      I’m glad you enjoyed this article. Keep working at it, man. Eventually, the fear becomes non-existent.
      Like riding a bike. Eventually, all those silly fears went away and you just enjoyed the ride.
      Thanks again for leaving your comment

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