Silence. My cousin and I are making a long drive, and the radio is busted. “We should freestyle” he suggests. He dabbles in rap. I immediately cringe at the thought, but agree nonetheless, quickly finding a youtube instrumental beat on my phone. He spits a few bars, and then waits for me to hop in. I freeze – it’s like the first time I approached a girl. I’m nervous. Hell, frightened.

Some of the worst rap known to man is delivered over the next two hours. But I was hooked. The few times I strung together a smooth combination of words were exhilarating — like the first time you hold a fun conversation with a cute stranger at the bar.

The same way I had become addicted to game, thoughts of freestyle began to dominate my conscience mind. After several weeks of freestyling on my hour-long commute home from work, I finally hit the inflection point — I could comfortably carry on for minutes at a time. The more I freestyle, the more parallels and connections I make between freestyling and game. And probably of more interest to you — the more my game has improved. The following list highlights some of the main contributions freestyle rap can add to your game, and more specifically — the ability to effortlessly banter.

1. Get loose.

You simply cannot freestyle when tense or nervous. By the same token, your game sucks under these conditions. I guarantee if you become confident freestyling in front of family and friends — talking to a girl, or anyone for that matter, will be a breeze. Even now, every time I freestyle in front of someone new, I get knots in my stomach as I begin. It sets the social confidence bar higher, making game seem relatively less strenuous.

Roosh recommends an episode of Seinfeld before gaming. I like that, but I have found a quick freestyle session to be twice as effective. And this extends beyond game — a few weeks ago I freestyled on my way to an interview. Needless to say, I killed it.

2. Shut your brain off.

Most people suck at freestyle when they start, because their mind is racing to come up with words and rhymes. Of course, all of this thinking ultimately inhibits them and leads to the familiar freeze reaction where nothing is said. The same phenomenon occurs in game. You only start to flow when you trust your subconscious mind to do all the work. One study of rappers’ brains while freestyling showed a reduction of activity in the prefrontal cortex — leading to lowered inhibitions.

3. Forget mistakes.

Another obstacle in learning to freestyle is continuing to spit after making a mistake. This one took me a while. I would complete a couple rhymes and then mumble some words, miss a rhyme, or lose my rhythm and stop dead in my tracks. When you are able to forget the mistake and instinctively supply a new line, your rate of improvement skyrockets. The same goes for bantering with some cutie. Say something stupid? Who gives a fuck.

4. Change subjects with ease.

Freestyling for more than a few seconds generally requires a change in topic. Making this switch without missing a beat is crucial. Once you have the ability to connect different thoughts and ideas while continuing to rhyme AND stay in rhythm — simple bantering starts to seem like a joke.

Clearly learning to freestyle can yield tangible improvements for your game. I promise it has done so for myself. It offers the ability to effortlessly get into a groove, and unconsciously flow. At the very least, it has given me a useful technique to get loose, and an entertaining skill that never fails to impress.

If you want to give it a try, there are a lot of youtube videos that offer practical instruction. Also, I find that the Pandora Instrumental Hip-Hop station offers a good selection of beats to get started.

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