DesiHipHop’s Music 101: Freestyle VS Off-The-Dome aims to push forward the Hip-Hop culture in South Asia. For this, it is very crucial to make the artists aware of the general things every musician who aspires to sell his or her music should be aware of. In fact, DesiHipHop’s Music 101 aims at doing just that! In other words, this series will give our readers information about how the music industry works. Without further ado, let’s begin!

DesiHipHop's Music 101: Origin And Significance Of Delay

There are a lot of debates which creates confusion between the terms ‘Freestyle’ and ‘Off-The-Dome’. These two terms of spitting rap verses has been the centre of dilemma from a very long time now. A few people suggest that these two are the same while a lot of others suggest otherwise. To clear things out, we’re here to take a closer look at the difference between these two.

What is Freestyle?

Freestyle is considered as a form of spitting lyrics without a particular format. The idea is to not bound your lyrics around a particular topic. As a result, this helps in improvising the skills and flow on a track. This is majorly used in the tracks where punchlines are vital more than anything else. Creating punchlines with references is one of the most used patterns for quotations and showing off in a rap battle. A rapper can switch between various topics from talking about a car to shifting on to marriage issues just on the next bar.

They’re not bound to be precise and a rapper can use pre-written verses while exercising this format. Big Daddy Kane once said, “In the ’80s when we said we wrote a freestyle rap, that meant that it was a rhyme that you wrote that was free of style… it’s basically a rhyme just bragging about yourself.” Kool Moe Dee once tried to clarify the difference between freestyle and off-the-dome. He said, “There are two types of freestyle. There’s an old-school freestyle that’s basically rhymes that you’ve written that may not have anything to do with any subject or that goes all over the place. Then there’s freestyle where you come off the top of the head.”

What is Off-The-Dome?

Technically, its an extension of freestyle rap. Hip-hop megastars say that the prime difference between off-the-dome and freestyle was the writing part. Freestyle was a type of rap where pre-written content was allowed but off-the-dome has to be spontaneous. The definition of “the real old-school freestyle” has changed in the modern era. Artists are not open about the idea of spitting already-written rap verses under the title “freestyle” now. Radio Jockeys like Sway who hosts Sway in the Morning allows artists to do the old-school style of freestyle on his show. Unfortunately, that is a rare thing to see.

5 fingers of Death is another unpopular style of challenging a rapper. The repetitive change in the beats while the rapper spits on it is a charm to watch. This usually requires a blend of freestyle and off-the-dome to win the challenge. Just because its challenging, people are not widely using it.

Below is the challenge that Logic took a while ago. You can listen to him admitting that he is switching between freestyles and off-the-dome. The confusion is not hard to wash away.

Watch Logic taking the 5 Fingers of Death challenge on Sway in the Morning here –