Improving Rap Freestyles

How To Improve Your Rap Freestyles With Rhyme Lists

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.

The Struggle

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.

That Guy

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”.

Selective Rhymes

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
  • Carfax
  • bar tab
  • combat
  • Hobbit (stretch enunciation to make it rhyme)
  • potheads
  • snot heads
  • nauseous
  • not sad or (not said)
  • Pocket
  • Stop it

Close Rhymes

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.

Local References

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!”

Extra Benefits

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!

  • with all do respect memorizing rhymes to freestyle isn’t freestyling, it’s reciting. my method is to say a topic,start rhyming about it, and repeat until you either start running out of breath or until your audience is satisfied with your performance. it’s like the lyric lab app that gives you topics to rhyme about over a beat for 15 seconds. but unlike lyric lab, you are choosing the topic and rapping about it on the fly. lastly, an emcee must be an avid reader. the more you read the more you know and the more you know the more material you have to rap about. that’s just my two cents. thanks for the article and god bless.

    • Memorizing rhymes is still freestyling as long as you aren’t memorizing lines. It just makes it easier when you need to freestyle if you already know what rhymes with what.
      Same thing you learn in grade school except instead of “cat rhymes with bat” ,it’s more complex.

      • I agree with you about memorizing rhymes. How can you use any words at all to speak if you hadn’t already memorized them? However there is a big misconception about what freestyling actually is which I’m going to break down in my article next week so stay tuned 🙂 – Cole Mize

    • hey alex coleman, i think this article is hugely helpful, if you have a better way of doing yours then that’s fine. KEEP IT TO YOURSELF. Nobody wanna hear about what you think is the right way to freestyle. Thank you!

    • Hey Alex, you can only use words to speak that you’ve already memorized at some point in your life. If you don’t know a word you can’t use it, simple as that. Stay tuned because next week I’m going to explain what freestyling actually is because there are a lot of people who have misconceptions about it. Thanks for all the love and support Alex! I really do appreciate it bro! God bless you and yours as well! 🙂 – Cole Mize

  • Its a great topic that you lecturing Cole, and I want to be best when free-styling and not only free-styling but to be both (Heat maker and a battle rapper). I think it will help me when I’m being challenged then I will call a rapper in ring. Because most rappers can drop a nice diss track but I feel like face to face is the best way to identify who’s best.

    • There you go Trigga! I’m glad to hear that this article was helpful to you bro! That’s what it’s all about right there! Keep up the good work and I’ll do the same! 🙂 – Cole Mize

  • mannn unless you scared of creating more competition or helping others, there’s no need to keep your input to yourself. I don’t write rhymes to memorize unless I plan on performing them live for a song set at a later date. I memorize words,topics, and facts. not rhymes for freestyling. when I do freestyle, I just go off the dome. everyone isn’t trying to go down as the greatest. but I am. and because rivals make you better, the more competition j can create through knowledge sharing, the better emcee I will become. the good keep their wisdom to themselves. the great freely share their knowledge with others. lastly, sorry for the late reply. I don’t have email notifications for comments turned on.

  • I feel you. but I said rhymes, not words. you memorize words,topics and facts through reading and utilize the memorized knowledge in an off the dome rhyme. I don’t memorize rhymes unless I plan to perform them at a show. but when someone asks me to spit something, I just go. when you tell someone that you’re a rapper, 9 times out of ten, they will ask you to spit something,right then and there. so you are correct. you must memorize words to freestyle. but writing rhymes to spit in an off the dome situation is reciting. my point? memorize songs for shows and off the dome rhyme for on demand freestyle requests.

  • My petty rhyme list÷

    Hello Cole
    How you do
    Rap this good
    That sounds Cool
    Mad at you
    Don’t be fooled

  • Another strategy I learned is while freestyling use the last word of your rhyme to give you a picture of the next line to use, for example:
    1.) “These words are grand slams out the “PARK”
    2.) A nice place to romance my girl afterdark

    You could use the second rhyme line with anything related to a park. Its difficult while on beat, but with practice it gets easier ?

  • Alex your trynna tell people what’s right and wrong about freestyling. You probably don’t know how to freestyle or rap. So please keep your negative comments to yourself.

  • Gr8 info..I normally practice several times a week improving my freestyle skills by flowing to specific/random beats solo or with select friends/associates. I feed off other pplz energy or build off my own.

  • Thank you for this email and all of the extreme details and very helpful knowledge. I appreciate your time and support from you and I will have to look this over a few times. So I don’t miss any this is very helpful.

  • This tutorial was fire it wired my brain to maintain the game of rap but i stay sane they stay lame.yeah you know I’m tryna portray the fact i can rhyme today i don’t need to delay to convey my ideas and thoughts about thots and bout prop and ill stop when my clock runs out don’t pout know you know what I’m all about I’m out.

    I can freestyle now 😎

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