There Were Some Incredible Freestyles In 2018. Here Are The Year’s Best (Video)
For all the chatter about Mumble Rap taking over, there have been a number of MCs who put on incredible lyrical displays in 2018. Artists like Royce 5’9, Styles P, Pusha-T, Evidence, Benny The Butcher, Jay Rock, Logic and J. Cole released projects packed with punchlines and substantive verses, and several others like Rapsody, Kendrick Lamar and JAY-Z unleashed features that had Hip-Hop abuzz. And, a number of artists flexed freestyles with chips on their shoulders.
Typically, blockbuster artists have fallen back from freestyling, leaving the forum for underground rappers and up and coming MCs, but 2018 saw some of the biggest names in Hip-Hop stepping into the booth too. Will Smith showed the world that he’s still fresh on the mic, Eminem returned to his Battle Rap roots, and even Drake dusted off his headphones. Up and comers like Tierra Whack and ANoyd also showed and proved. Here’s a look at some the year’s best, in chronological order.
Tory Lanez Rips The 5 Fingers Of Death
Tory Lanez has been at the center of a lot of controversy over the last several weeks, taking shots at everyone from Joyner Lucas to Royce 5’9, but he also has been absolutely fearless in backing up his words with rhymes. He got the year started in February with a fiery 5 Fingers Of Death Freestyle.
Nick Grant Freestyles Over Classic Erykah Badu
2018 was a relatively quiet year for Nick Grant, but he used an LA Leakers freestyle as an opportunity to remind folks that he is one of the most gifted MCs of his generation.
ANoyd Rules The World Like Lauryn & Nas On A Regal Freestyle
ANoyd might not be a household name yet, but he proved he could hang with Rap royalty, as he tore down Nas’ “If I Ruled The World (Imagine That).”
“Let me remind everybody who Will Smith is.”
Will Smith has absolutely nothing left to prove. He is a Grammy-winning artist, was the lead character on one of TV’s most iconic shows, and is one of the biggest movie stars to ever walk the planet. But, every once in a while, he likes to remind people of how he got his start, as a rapper. In May, he stepped in the booth, and flexed, just because.
Big Daddy Kane Freestyles Raw, Uncut & With A Chip On His Legendary Shoulders
Big Daddy Kane has never gone away, but he was more visible in 2018 than he has been in recent years, likely in celebration of the 30th anniversary of his debut album, Long Live The Kane. He kicked things off in February with a Tiny Desk performance, and then heated up again in June with a Funkmaster Flex freestyle.
Drake Shows He’s Still Got That Fire In The Booth
Drake is the biggest artist in Hip-Hop, and possibly all of music right now…He has nothing to gain from freestyling and everything to lose, but he still took the time to step in the booth in July. In a year where he also battled Pusha-T and Kanye West, Drake showed his critics that he is a true MC.
Mysonne Has A Message In His Music
Since he re-appeared on the music scene after serving a prison sentence, Mysonne has been a man on a mission. Not satisfied with just out-rapping other MCs, he has filled his rhymes with powerful content designed to enlighten and educate others. His freestyle with Fat Joe was no different, as he stole the show.
Mickey Factz Serves Up A Next Level Freestyle Over 1 Of DJ Premier’s Best Beats
Mickey Factz has been criminally slept-on. His verses require multiple rewinds, as literally every line counts. He stacks double entendre upon double entendre. He absolutely abuses a classic DJ Premier track in this incredible freestyle.
Young M.A. Puts Her Skills Where All Can See As She Busts Rhymes On A Hard Freestyle
Young M.A. rapped slowly and deliberately on her breakout hit, “Ooouuu.” It caused some to believe that she was not very lyrical. They were wrong. She put her skill on full display over one of Busta Rhyme’s biggest hits.
Logic Freestyles Over Method Man’s Beat & Brings Even More Pain
2017 was a breakout year for Logic, as he had a crossover hit with “1-800-273-8255.” But, the Maryland MC was born from Boom Bap and he went back to his roots in 2018. As has become tradition, he rocked Method Man’s “Bring The Pain” with another blistering freestyle.
Mistah F.A.B. May Be The Greatest Off The Top Freestyler In Hip-Hop
Mistah F.A.B. is a force. He is part of the elite club of MCs who are gifted with the ability to rap off the top of the head about anything, and he does so effortlessly. He goes off in this Sway In The Morning freestyle.
Jay Rock’s Freestyle Shows What A Migos Beat Sounds Like With Some G-Funk
2018 was a much deserved victory lap for Jay Rock. The TDE OG had his biggest album ever, commanded his first sold out show, and opened the BET Awards. While in the UK, he used a Migos beat to show he’s still got freestyle skills too.
Artist Anderson .Paak Is A Bad Boy On This Biggie Freestyle
Anderson .Paak is one of the most soulful singers of his generation, but he focused on his MC skills in 2018. His Oxnard album was Hip-Hop heavy, and he used a Biggie beat on this freestyle to show he’s a bad boy on the mic.
Tierra Whack Claims She’s Andre-Meets-The Beatles In An Incredible Freestyle
Tierra Whack won over critics and fans alike this year, with her high art video album, Whack World. Make no mistake, though, she’s also more than capable of rolling up her sleeves and becoming a microphone menace. She proclaims herself a combination of Andre 3000 and The Beatles on this short but potent freestyle.
Eminem Returns To His Battle Rap Roots
In a year when Eminem seemingly went after everybody on his Kamikaze album, it makes perfect sense that he would return to his Battle Rap roots. Earlier this month, he dropped a 10-minute a cappella freestyle filled with nothing but BARS.
Vic Mensa Says Biggie & Tupac Live On Through Him
Vic Mensa has become a perennial presence on these best freestyle of the year lists. The Chicago MC dazzles over and over again. It’s no surprise that he closed out 2018 with another one of the year’s best lyrical displays.