Eminem is hands-down one of the best rappers on the planet. He has impressed audiences around the world with his superior rap skills. His talent has many people wondering about one thing: can he freestyle as well as he can rap?
Of course Eminem can freestyle! When it comes to hip hop, Eminem is one of the world’s best—even when he’s put on the spot.
So how did Eminem get so good at freestyling? And how does this contribute to his rapping career? Well, it turns out that the two things go hand in hand.
Regardless of if you like Eminem or not, you’ll probably agree with the majority of the world who are impressed by his rapping skills.
Did you know that freestyling is how he finally found his first taste of fame? In 1997, Eminem appeared at the Rap Olympics and this appearance would end up being one of his most legendary battles ever.
His success in battles like this one helped him form a strong, but loyal, following in his hometown of Detroit, which later set the stage for him to expand onto a national audience.
His 1999 debut album featured the hit that is still being listened to around the world, “My Name Is.”
His success has a lot to do with how he’s able to freestyle—how he can “make up and bust out rhymes on the spot.”
Scientists have actually tried to work out how this is possible for freestyling rappers like Lil Wayne, Eminem, Supernatural, and Cassidy. It turns out that when rappers are freestyling, an area of the brain normally responsible for organization, motivation, and integration gets active. On the other hand, the brain areas responsible for control and self-monitoring are less active.
Essentially what this means is this: when a rapper is freestyling, the areas of the brain that might stop a creative flow get temporarily shut down.
While researchers haven’t officially discovered if the brain can be trained for this type of activity, that’s what evidence is pointing to. Certain areas of the brain responsible for emotion, attention, and motor skills are all active during a freestyle.
So, while someone may be born with certain creative skills, chances are they have to keep them up with regular practice.
Practice Makes Perfect
So exactly how does Eminem get so good at freestyling? Well, he works at it. All the time.
Eminem has been known to carry a notebook around with him. He’s an excellent writer and he writes down his thoughts constantly. Practice, for him, isn’t just something that happens a few hours a day or only while he’s recording, it happens 24/7.
If you pay close attention to freestyle rappers, you may notice that they have a few rhymes that they tend to repeat. You can think of these as a “backup,” as a way to fill the void when new rhymes don’t come quick enough.
Eminem has an excellent memory and is considered to be extremely intelligent. While it’s unlikely that he’s ever at a loss for words, he can rely on these rhymes when it happens.
Eminem may be a super talented writer and freestyler, but that doesn’t mean that he never gets in trouble for it. He’s one of the world’s best rappers—and he’s also one of the most controversial.
In 2018, he released an 11-minute freestyle that he recorded in Detroit, at a shelter that he used to refer to as his “stomping grounds.”
In the freestyle, there were several celebrities mentioned—including Christina Aguilera, Justin Bieber, Reese Witherspoon, and Ariana Grande.
It was the last on the list that put Eminem into hot water. He referenced the tragedy at an Ariana Grande concert, the bombing carried out by Salman Ramadan Abedi. He didn’t go into full detail of the event, but he did bring up several controversial subjects including rape, terrorism, and other forms of violence.
While Eminem himself didn’t go into details of the tragic event “for obvious reasons” it’s for those same obvious reasons that he received a lot of criticism for the freestyle rap.
He may have had several ups and downs throughout his 15+ year career, and he’s certainly received a lot of criticism along the way too. But one thing is for certain, and that is that Eminem is a very talented freestyler.