The meaning of the colloquial term ‘freestyle’ has often been debated. Many insist it means rapping verses on the spot that are not pre-written, while others claim that it means spitting pre-written rhymes but in a free-flowing way that is devoid of structure.
However, in a 2009 interview that went on to be transcribed for the book How to Rap: The Art and Science of the Hip-Hop MC by Paul Edwards, legendary Brooklyn rapper Big Daddy Kane stated that “In the eighties, when we said we wanna freestyle rap, that meant it was a rhyme that you wrote that was free of style.”
He continued, “Meaning there’s not a subject matter, it’s not about a woman, it’s not a story about poverty, it’s basically a rhyme just bragging about yourself, free of style”.
He continued to address the ‘not pre-written’ school of thought, revealing, “Off the top of the head, we just called that off the dome, when you don’t write it and just say whatever comes to mind.” So in a statement declared that “really a freestyle is a rhyme that you write.”
Freestyles are an integral part of hip-hop culture. However, some rappers are next level. In 2020, American rapper Watsky performed a 35-hour freestyle. However, an Irish emcee named Liam Reeves then went for more than 36 hours. However, now there is a new record holder.
Officially a UK teacher who performed under his musical alias DAlcon has the record for the world’s longest freestyle. The rhymer (real name Daniel Alcon) skipped two nights of sleep during the challenge and rapped for 39 hours and 37 minutes to break the world record.
In an interview with Sky News, Alcon disclosed, “I just survived on kiwis, grapes and tea. Before the challenge, I was nervous, but once the challenge started, I was a bit like a machine, I just thought get on with it.” After completing it, Mr Alcon said he felt “very proud” and “relief”.