The Best Freestyles of 2015 Left Heads Spinning and Microphones Smoking (Video)
In Hip-Hop, there are few things more exciting than watching an MC get on the mic and spit a freestyle. The definition of the word “freestyle” has been fluid over the years. Originally, the term was used to denote any rhyme, written or off the top, that was not about any particular subject, i.e., “free of style.” In the 90s, however, it came to mean an impromptu rhyme made on the spot, or “off the top of the head,” though, as history has revealed, many of the so-called freestyles, even from that era, were actually pre-written rhymes that had not yet been laid to wax by the MC.
Today, the word is used more all-inclusively again, as MCs commonly release pre-written verses over recycled tracks, recite rhymes from forthcoming albums on radio shows, and, occasionally, go off the top, all in the name of “freestyling.” In any case, the ability to step to the mic, when the whole world is listening, and crush a verse is a sight to behold, and today we celebrate the best of 2015.
Here are our choices for the freestyles of the year (in chronological order):
Action Bronson hit the Funkmaster Flex Show and rhymed so hard his headphones fell off.
For anyone who believes MCs from the South aren’t lyrical, Jarren Benton responded with an emphatic finger.
Over All-Star weekend, the Portland Trailblazers’ Damian Lillard showed he was the best rapper in the NBA, hands down.
Logic had a number of stellar freestyles in 2015. When he stopped by L.A.’s Power 106, he kicked some heavy Breakfast Bars, going off the top as hosts held up topics about which he rhymed.
Wayne Brady may not be a traditional MC, but he’s a supreme entertainer, and his ability to kick substantive and entertaining rhymes on the spot is nearly peerless.
Fashawn was laid-back in physical posture, but his rhyme was anything but that, as he attacked a Souls of Mischief classic beat with aggression.
Kendrick Lamar visited Big Boy’s show on March 9th and put on a lyrical clinic, all over Biggie classics. Many of his verses would surface a week later on To Pimp A Butterfly and others were from outtakes like his song, “Brutal,” which did not make the album.
After being counted down and out, Charles Hamilton returned with a vengeance in 2015. He kicked a fearless off the top rhyme for Sway, only gaining strength as he went along.
Yazz The Greatest made a lot of noise as Empire‘s Hakeem Lyon, but can he really kick it? Yes, he can!
Rapsody didn’t even drop an album in 2015…and still had one of the best years of any MC. These were the types of verses most did not want to follow.
Tish Hyman had a breakout year, becoming the first woman rapper to tackle Sway’s “5 Fingers of Death” challenge…and she did it off the top.
Some mistook the comedy in Lil Dicky’s bars for novelty, but he showed he could rap circles around most MCs.
King Los has shown time and again that he is the rare breed of MC capable of putting together couplets, on the spot, better than the written verses of most others. He took topics from Sway, as part of the “5 Fingers of Death,” and mastered them like a Jedi. And, when the beat stopped, he kept going, and got savage.
Every year Locksmith spits a freestyle, he will be on this list.
Eminem dropped by his Shade 45 radio channel and ripped a six-minute a cappella verse, taking out Caitlyn Jenner, Bill Cosby and more in his wake.
2015 was the year when Oddissee put himself in the discussion as one of the all-time great double-threat MC/producers. He dug deep in the crates for these verses, but they were mesmerizing just the same.
Cyhi The Prynce showed he’s already a king when it comes to freestyles.
Nick Grant made a name for himself in 2015 after kicking two of the best verses of the year, excluding nobody.
While battling a fan in concert who was dressed like the ’80s versions of MC Shan and LL Cool J, KRS-One dissed LL Cool J in the heat of the moment. Less than a week later, he apologized to LL, in an off the top freestyle, calling the Queens MC “the greatest.”
Chris Rivers owned 2015 in every possible way, from creative videos to takeovers of throwback tracks. His star shone brightest, however, when he was simply destroying mics.
Remy Ma and Papoose brought the Bonnie & Clyde show to HOT 97, as they sprayed lyrical bullets over Redman & Method Man’s “How High.”
Your Old Droog’s rhymes are deceptively clever. Rewind-worthy double entendres abounded as he showed off for Statik Selektah.
What is your opinion for the best freestyle of 2015?