Since rap first started to emerge out of funk in the late ’70s, rap battles have been there making sure that MCs stay at the top of their game. While hip-hop was born from block parties where everyone cooperated with each other, the rap battle was instrumental in making sure that rappers developed their lyrical chops to the best of their ability.
Rap has little in common with funk anymore, but the culture of the freestyle rap battle is still alive. Whether it’s at an informal battle with the local rhyme wizards, or on some of the more popular rap battle channels on YouTube, there are some basics everyone can learn to improve.
This article will all you through everything you need to know to rise the ranks of battle rap.
Learn to Rhyme
First things first, you have to learn how to rhyme off the top of your head. You can have the best flow in the world and be a fantastic wordsmith, but it won’t mean a thing if you can’t put it all into a rhyme.
The first step of this is to develop your vocabulary.
Head over to sites like Rhymezone.com and become familiar with some of the most common rhymes. You can fall back on these when inspiration fails. Technique beats luck every time.
Study your favorite rappers — how do they organize rhymes? Rappers like MF Doom are famous for using internal rhymes and shifting up their rhyme structure. Check out videos like this to learn exactly what these rappers are doing.
The goal of this step is to make sure that your rhymes flow out of you as if they were nothing.
A key part of winning rap battles is staying loose, staying funny, and taking everything in your stride. However, you’re not going to be able to do this if you don’t practice.
Practice your freestyle rapping so much that rhyming becomes automatic, subconscious. Practice over beats, so that you can imagine the beat in your head as your freestyle rap. Check out this site we found which provides free rap beats.
First, focus on getting all of your rhymes down. Rhymes are the basis for rap.
After that, practice getting your rhymes into your particular flow and articulation. Rhymes sound best when they’re properly delivered.
Then, start to work on wordplay, humor, insults, double-meanings, and internal rhymes. This is where the true art of rap comes in. Try to work in bits of pop culture and current events into your rhymes; this will come in handy at rap battles and help you practice responding to your opponent’s raps.
A great thing to do is to listen to a battle-rap verse, pause it, and then respond to it in your rhymes. This will teach you how to incorporate your opponent’s words against them, like the best karate masters.
Win Your Next Rap Battle
At the end of the day, a rap battle is all about helping rappers get better. Even if you go on to pursue a career of written rhymes, the best ones out there have a distinct “off-the-cuff” feel to them. For more articles like this, check out our “lifestyle” section.