Today I’d like to share with you a very practical way of not only improving your rap freestyles but your songwriting as well using something called Rhyme lists.
As the name implies, Rhyme Lists are simply a list of rhymes.
If you’re freestyling off the dome your biggest struggle is going to be coming up with rhymes quickly before your bar runs out.
In fact, while you’re rapping one bar you should already be thinking of the word you’re going to rhyme with it on the next bar.
We’ve all heard that guy freestyling who keeps using the same words over and over again right? Perhaps that guy has been you at times. I know it has been me lol!
Well to prevent yourself from being that guy ever again simply start creating yourself lists of rhymes to memorize. That way the next time you go into battle you will have a larger arsenal of rhymes locked and loaded in your proverbial chamber.
If you struggle with memorizing things be sure to check out my article “Memorizing Lyrics”.
But make sure you’re careful about which rhymes you’re choosing to memorize. Take into account the audience that you’re likely rapping in front and pick words you would likely use in that situations.
This means that it may be helpful to create custom rhyme lists for a specific time and place. Remember winning a freestyle battle isn’t just about your opponent it’s also about winning the crowd over.
For example, if you’re rapping at your school create and memorize rhyme lists around things that are specific at your school. Check out this example which uses the school’s mascot.
School Mascot (Bobcats)
- The Bobcats
- Your Moms Fat
- your rhymes whack
- The Hard Hats
- I Rob Sacks
- bar tab
- Hobbit (stretch enunciation to make it rhyme)
- snot heads
- not sad or (not said)
- Stop it
Notice how some of the rhymes in this list only rhyme with Bob and others only with Cat and some rhyme with both? This is how you take your rhymes to the next level by using “close rhymes”. See my article “Rhyming Words Like A Boss” to learn more.
Here are some more ideas of things you could create rhyme lists around in this particular situation.
- Local or national current events that everyone knows about.
- School sporting events, athletes, rival schools.
- Popular students, teachers or school staff that everyone either loves, hates, or laughs at.
- Popular hangout spots at school or local restaurants etc..
- Objects that will likely be around you while rapping such as…
- Clothing items and accessories.
- jackets, jeans, sneakers/kicks, socks etc.. as well as name brands. (WHAT ARE THOSE!?!) LOL!
As you can see the list that I created above is using just one word! Just imagine all of the rhyme lists you can create that will connect with the crowds you will likely be rapping in front of!
In addition to this, I also recommend creating lists of punchlines as well that you can memorize and have ready to deploy at any time! Try to keep your punchlines general enough so you can use them on different people.
For example here’s one from Eminem I’ve heard him use in multiple occasions back in the day.
You more wack than the mother f***er you bit your style from… you couldn’t sell two copies of your CD even if you pressed a double album.
If you would like to dig deeper into wordplay be sure to check out my article “Creating Punchlines That Hit Hard!”
One more added benefit to creating rhyme lists as well as punchlines is that it better equips you for songwriting so that you don’t have to waste as much time with your eyes to ceiling waiting for a rhyme to drop down from one of the Rap Gods.
So before you step out on to the Rap Battle Field or begin writing your next song take a moment and begin creating your own rhyme lists to give yourself a much-needed advantage!
When it comes to freestyling there are a lot of misconceptions about what it actually is. Does it have to be off the top of your head or can it be written? Be sure to check out my article “What You Think Freestyle Rapping Is, May Actually Be Wrong” which will break all of this down for you.
Share Your Lists
I’d love to know in the comments section below if you’ve ever used rhyme lists before. Feel free to share a snippet of one of your lists. Or if this is your first time trying this technique go ahead and create your first Rhyme List and share it below!
I hope this was helpful!