How To Win In A Freestyle Battle Rap?
As many times I've battle rap an opponent on stage, in the street, or even at a park, I don't think not one emcee wants to show up and get defeated. There are many talented freestyle battle rappers in the world and every single one of them have that "I can't lose" mentality. The 4 main reasons why emcees lose in a battle is because:
- Lack of Confidence
- Not Creative
- Not Original
Let these 4 main points sink in your head. If you fall into one of these category you will NOT win. The main question that we all have is "How do I win in a freestyle rap battle?" Well, you are in luck because I have 5 simple steps that will help you win in a freestyle rap battle. You won't win overnight but if you habitually practice these steps you will began to win more rap battles than ever before.
1. Be Confident
- The first step in winning in a freestyle rap battle is being confident.
If you think you're going to lose against a certain opponent then you will. Because of your negative thinking you've already told your opponent that I am a human punching bag. Before the battle began you came in the ring with a white flag to surrender without even putting up a fight.
You must have that "I CAN'T LOSE" mentality. I don't care if you're about to battle Eminem, Immortal Technique, Jin, Eyedea, etc. If you believe that you can win then you will win. Your belief system of winning has to be the same belief as you can tie your shoe. If you know and believe you can tie your shoe then you must know that you can also WIN!
If you are afraid of performing in front of a lot of people then I highly recommend that you freestyle at a cypher or to a group of your friends so you can get comfortable in freestyle rapping in front of people. Doing this with friends that are already a pro in freestyle rapping will not only increase your confidence but it will motivate you to become even better. I also recommend performing at an open mic night event or any other event where there are hundreds of people there. Keep doing this till you are comfortable and confident in yourself.
2. Be Prepared
Before you show up to a rap battle you do not know who your opponent is until your opponent shows up on stage at the time of event. You don't know what he or she looks like, what clothes he or she going to wear, how he or she smells, how tall he or she is etc. You're going to have to diss your opponent on the spot and you won't have time to think of what next line to diss him or her with. How do an emcee prepare for that?
- The second step you need to do is start dissing random people you've never seen before.
I'm not telling you to go up to a random person and start dissing them in front of their face. That might get you severely hurt. What I'm saying to you is, you can go to any public place; such as a book store, park, restaurant, or just a place in your neighborhood and just observe anybody that walks pass you. Observe their clothes, sneakers, hair, weight, teeth, the way they talk, walk etc. Once you observe this start dissing them to yourself. The more strangers you can observe and diss on the spot, the more easier it will become to diss an emcee on the spot. It is imperative that you habitually practice this step over and over again til you diss them in such a creative way.
Reminder: Comedians such as Richard Pryer, Kevin Hart and Mike Epps are great at dissing people because they've been observant all their life. Mainly because they need more material for their audience.
3. Be Creative
- The third step is being creative.
When you rap battle your opponent the audience want to hear something different but they also want to see something spontaneous. This goes back to step 2. You need to be observant. Everything you see around you, use it to your advantage. For example, I remember my friend Jason recording me having a rap battle with one of his friend. We were in Lindenwold, NJ outside of Jason friend apartment (The person I battled). Remind you I was only there for a cook out, but Jason put me on a spot to battle this guy he knew. There were like 20 dudes there. Some were drinking Hennessy. The dude I had to battle was eating a cheesecake. There was 3 women with us but the one in particular I saw was brown skin and was very fat. I also saw the apartment next to me that had the number 39 on it but the first 2 numbers were too faded to even see. The last thing that caught my eye was a dude who had a picture of MC Hammer on his shirt. I told Jason friend,
"I'm from Philly but I'm at your state having cookout at your place//
(I am from Philly, and Jason friend is born and raised in New Jersey and I am at a cookout)
I'm a boss that can have Monique Parker rob you for your cheesecake//.
(Notice I saw that particular woman that was fat and eating a cheesecake. Besides, she look just like Monique Parker.)
If you want bars I got the recipe, you can't get the best of me//
(Judging from the video, after the phrase "If you want bars" I paused for like 3 seconds and started going till I saw somebody recipe book on the table. I don't why but I just picked that one word one and ran with it).
If you want a shot, it won't be Hennessy but you can catch 39 like the apartment next to me//
(I notice some dudes drinking Hennessy and the number 39 on the apartment building)
This is an example of using everything around you. Obviously, everybody knew I was freestyling because I incorporated what was around me and said it in a creative way and it was straight forward. I won the crowd over and I won the battle.
To practice creativity, you need to learn how to freestyle what you see and use it against your opponent. I recommend you have one person shout out an object. You and your opponent will have 30 seconds to diss each other using the object that was given to you. For example,
somebody can shout out "Knife". I will freestyle, "I got a black handle with a sharp edge, you won't last. I'll cut through you so fast, it'll sound like a gun blast. I'm sharp enough to cut through any joints. And my bars like my knife I get straight to the point." Once 30 seconds is over then your opponent diss you with the same object for 30 seconds. Keep switching objects after every round. Keep practicing this habitually then your creativity will blossom.
- The fourth step is rebuttals (counter attack).
When it comes to rebuttals, you need to observe what your opponent is saying and use it against him. Most emcees that can counter attack their opponent punches are usually the ones that win. Here is an example of a rebuttal:
Emcee #1: If you come to battle me you don't have a chance//.
Why come on stage with the Banana in Pajamas pants//.
Emcee #2: I don't need a gun to start creeping on you//.
And yes I wore pajamas pants because I knew I would be sleeping on you//.
Notice how Emcee #2 use the pajamas pant against his opponent. When you rebuttal make sure it's straight to the point and it makes sense. Rebuttals can save your life in a battle so be observant and listen to what your opponent is saying to you.
I highly recommend your partner start dissing you about anything and you coming up with a rebuttal for it. Keep doing this till your rebuttals becomes proficient.
5. Be Original
- The fifth step is be original.
The one thing you can NOT do in a rap battle is try to copy someone else style or bite another emcee line. You will not be respected and everyone will know that you are a copy cat. You truly need to find your own identity and a style that works for you. You will be more respected as an emcee for being yourself. If you are a nerd who can't play sports but love playing chess, then that's who you are so stick with it. You'll be surprise how many nerds I've seen beat popular freestyle battle rappers. All this is to say that rap has no gender, skin color, nor blood type. If you have the talent or if you really work hard at it you will succeed. That is a promise.
Practice Being Original
If you want to know your own identity, the best way I can tell you to do this is write. Write about your life, what's around you, or anything that comes to your mind. The more you write the more you will find out who you really are as a person. Nobody can tell you who you are except for YOU! Be truthful to yourself and truthful about your art. Once you find your identity you then to need to base your lyrics on to yourself. For example, a person shouldn't rap about the streets if he's never experience hard times in the streets. That will only make him a pretender and the audience can see right through you. A gangster shouldn't rap about being a nerd if he never was a nerd. With that being said, you shouldn't rap about anything you've never experienced.
The 5 steps I've written before you will help you improve dramatically in a rap battle if you habitually practice. Even professional freestyle battle rappers still practice and try to master their craft. I can not stress this enough. Practice makes perfect. If you are an amateur I encourage to go into a rap battle and get your feet wet. Even if you lose you can still evaluate what you need to do to get better. In order to get better you have to lose. Even Eminem lost in a battle. He lost to Juice at the Scribble Jam 3 times. Even though he lost Eminem practice practice and practice and he mastered his craft. He is now one of the most well respected freestyle battle rappers at this time. Take my steps to heart and good luck on your journey to the battle rap world.
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