Friday, November 6, 2009

You Don't Write Freestyles!!!

I'm a Hip-Hop purist. I love this Community/Culture. I cheer for the strides that we make, and I boo when we fuck up. I firmly believe that there are four original Elements in Hip-Hop... Rap, DJ, Graffiti and Breakdance. Just because one Element of Hip-Hop is more prominent than another Element does not mean that the less exposed (exploited?) Element should be phased out.

You should've seen my big ol' Kool-Aid smile when I saw the B.E.T. 2009 Hip-Hop Awards live a few weeks ago. I was flipping through the channels trying to find something good to watch and I clicked on B.E.T. just to see if anyone, by chance, was having a Kanye/Hennessey moment. After all, there's been quite a few moments in these award shows already this year. As luck would have it, I ended up catching the tail-end of the first part of what soon became known as the 2009 B.E.T. Cipher.

It was beautiful! It was written and rehearsed in some cases, but still beautiful! I would post a clip of all three cipher sessions, but B.E.T. is currently passing out Cease and Desist demands across YouTube.

This was a good show. It made the entire awards show. It was almost like being back at The Hip-Hop Shop in '94 all over again.


I don't mean to nitpick and all, but that beautiful cipher session would've been legendary if it was live onstage like the rest of the forgettable show.

There are no retakes in a real cipher. If you fuck up, so what? That's part of the game. All real Emcees stumble over lyrics every now and then. The trick is to recover and keep it moving. If you can do that you actually gain points by proving to the audience that some of your rhymes aren't rehashed, rehearsed and recited.

Freestyles aren't written...EVER! Freestyles are off the top of tha dome, as they say. There's nothing wrong with spitting rhymes that you wrote. Nothing at all. Go'head and spit that heat rock, hot 16, verse, dart, game, real talk, rap or whatever.

Just don't call it a freestyle.