Huge props to George Rahi (MC Mahee Rahee) and Robyn (MC Robbin Banks) for hosting the weekly jams every monday night since the summer. as the new summer approaches we are getting ready to freestyle outdoors! and at some festivals if we are lucky.
Also this year we have been making friends and performing with the insanely creative Inspirelz Crew. Here is some evidence below. Big shout outs to MC Crystel Clear + MC Fight Girl aka. Sweat Pea.
There’s lots of hangups and handicaps that can prevent someone from reaching their freestyle potential. This is a list of some common ones with some helpful exercises that you will find later in the book.
Shy: some people are mic shy and afraid to say anything on the mic, even just their name. These people can be hard to work with because the more they are encouraged, the more shy they get. Different tactics work with different people: gentle encouragement, forceful insistence, mockery, pleading, bribery, breakout sessions (no mic or one-on-one). Exercises to help include “What’s my name” (p7), and “Repeat after me” (p11).
Nothing to Say: Some people are comfortable on the mic but experience content block so they “have nothing to say”. They can be given topics to help them out, or encouraged to scat with no words at all. Good exercises include “Points”
(p12) and “repeat” (p8).
No rhythm: These people are very hard to deal with. They seem to freestyle with no apparent awareness of the beat and rhythm. They should be encouraged to listen, start simply and break it down to music fundamentals. Most of all, listen to the beat. Work with simple beats, get them to rhyme with a metronome, one word per tick. Then add two words per tick, three, etc, varying placing words on the tick, and between ticks. Exercise: “metronome” (p14). Bad projection: Some people are comfortable on the mic and have lots to say, but don’t say it well. This can be bad mic technique or bad vocal technique. They should be taught and encouraged to pay attention to how they hold the mic: pointed at their mouth with a consistent distance from their mouth. Be aware of how voice volume level, the distance, and the sound of their voice from the system are related. The people with bad projection are harder to deal with – sometimes it is a bad style, sometimes a bad volume. Good exercises include “mix up style” (p14), “Tone up and tone downs” (p26), “whisper style” (p20), “shout style” (p19).
Vib Rib with Prawns and Mahi Rahi doing some technical stuff
It’s been a furious freestyle winter season so far at our current monday night residency. MC Vib Rib and Mahi Rahi’s flat AKA the Souper Thunderdome on Venables at Woodland in East Vancouver. We’ve had a lot of great MCs drop by, and we’ve seen a lot of fresh people surprise themselves with some great MC action. The studio comes equipped with a drumkit, bike gamelan, and kazoo (my personal favourite) among other instruments so it’s a fantastic place for a freestyle jam. Come join us some monday. As always, bring snacks.
Nutmeg, MahiRahi,Vib Rib, Blue Mountain, Snackula passing the mics around
Basscoast blew my mind this year! We were camped out at the Joyscout beach party where we had some great freestyles by the river. Freestyling every afternoon in the sunshine, our speedos were even more appropriate than usual. DJs KTel, Woodhead, Dunks, Soo and others provided great tracks for some epic mic work for us and all our special guests. Then on Sunday we set up at the Bigger Brain MegaDome. We had some technical difficulties but with our new friends with BassBus Sound and Dj Bruno from Calgary, we had, I think, probably the most epic FFG session ever. The sound setup was perfect, Bruno was awesome, the Dome was epic (waterfall in front of the DJ? For realsies), we had great turnout and support, and our freestylers were so sweet. FFG alumni Fight Girl and Crystal Clear surpassed even themselves, our new FFG BFF MC Workshop backed us up, and we got to hear some great and courageous mic work from our many FFG participants, including some international and multilingual MC styles. So amazing I was almost at a loss for words when we wrapped up. I want to do BassCoast again every week!
I’ve heard there’s some great new locations for our workshops coming up this fall. Oh really?
We’ve been off the streets for awhile but this monday we borrowed Sawmon’s Kickstand bike sound system for some mobile FFG. MacLeans’ Park, Strathcona Park, Hogan’s alley, the skatepark and the Scienceworld Pagoda hosted Professor Prawns, Count Snackula, MC NewDitty and other special guests. So nice to be back outside! Amy Walker managed to capture a moment http://instagram.com/p/cYN0_kpxru/
Big Joyscout FFG session for FOR up in the squamish woods this year, thanks to the crew for holding it down while we were in town! Come see us at the Bigger Brain at Basscoast this year as well as at the JoyScout soundstage. It’s gonna be hot and you know we love being onstage in speedoes
Eastvan freestyle is crazy right now! The monday night FFG drop-ins are going off bigtime at the Hammock Residency. There’s a whole new crew including H-Negs, and the Cruze Bros. Last week Ambrosia and Fightgirl were in, it was so busy we barely had time for pyro!
We had an awesome time with BusyB and the Honeycomb Kids at the Backstage Lounge last month. I love that place and BusyB is amazing!!!
There’s a super-secret FFG facebook group, if you’re into that FB stuff hit us up.
There’s also a new freestyle session on the Drive at Eternal Abundance called Raw Organic Beets, it’s every second Tuesday. I haven’t been yet but I hear it’s dope.
Our awesome freestyle book is even more available now. If you haven’t seen us in person and you want a copy, we uploaded it to lulu so you can now order it right off the website.
Super stoked about freestylin the summer, getting back on the bike and out to some festivals. Apparently our fave Diversity isn’t on but we’ll be somewhere coastal for sure!
MC Fly Choppa works his medial prefrontal cortex at 45 West studios, 17 Jan 2011
FFG alumni MC Fly Choppa pointed out this article on how scientific brain scan studies on freestyle MCs show that while improvising, rappers enter a “flow” state that is similar to athletes being “in the zone.” Well, we knew that.
What this means is that freestylers enter a “flow” state, which researchers described as a “complete immersion in creative activity, typified by focused self-motivation, positive emotional valence and loss of self-consciousness.” Their creative gate is wide open.
“It’s the absence of attention,” said Braun. “When the attention system is partially offline, you can just let things fly and let things come without critiquing, monitoring or judging them.”
“It’s almost like you’re able to think faster,” said Rizik-Baer, who was also credited as co-author of the study. “You’re able to incorporate multiple perspectives without thinking about it.”
Hey so now that it’s raining I’ve got some time to dig through all the FFG recordings from this summer. I just posted some Snackula highlights from FFG day 1 at Funkoree 2012. There’s a few Prawns in there but it’s mostly me, 6 tracks & 13 minutes worth. whoops. Day 2 coming up.
Did we mention the first edition of our book is available? Would you like to continue to develop what you started at a FFG workshop? Can’t make it to an FFG workshop but can’t wait to get started on your freestyle technique? Then our new book “Learn to Freestyle with FFG” is what you need! This first edition (summer 2012) is 66 pages filled with practice exercises and ideas to help you improve your freestyle skills and flow. Illustrated by Professor Prawns.
Right now you can get a copy by contacting Snackula or Prawns. Prawns always has a few in his bag so if you can get one if you see him at his secret cafe offices or at the Liquid Swords teahouse. <a href=”http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/learn-to-freestyle-with-the-freestyle-focus-group/13739320″>You can also order one directly online</a>. We’re going to be posting <a href=”/wp/category/freestyle”>content from the learn to freestyle with FFG book</a> on the website.
We had an amazing time hosting the FFG workshop in the Brain dome at Basscoast this year, thanks to everyone who came out to join us! Sarah Ferguson came out with photographer Thom Hamilton to write an article about it:
Enter the world of Freestyle Focus Group: a first-person lyrical escapade through the minds of all who pick up their mic. Workshop settings range from summer festivals to travelling bike missions through Vancouver with maybe 100 people and a custom-built bike sound system.
The product of the fresh and flexible imaginations of East Vancouverites Professor Prawns and Count Snacky, the duo approaches freestyling like a spiritual rebuilding of your mental processes. “We realized that taking away layers of inhibition would reveal these less travelled pathways in your mind, and really interesting things would come out,” said Prof. Prawns. “So rather than inventing what to say, the idea is to reveal what is there already, because there is already a lot there.”