By Junious “Microwave” Smith III

I shouldn’t be surprising people with my free-styling ability.
Well, maybe I’m more modest than I should be. Or it’s because my friends are just as nasty if not better than me, which forces me to be strong on a regular basis. If someone would’ve recorded the countless hours of us going back and forth, we could’ve had our only television show at minimum.
Sometimes when I go out to Greenville, I’ll spark up a conversation with someone and music will come into the equation. I say something along the lines of “well, I can rap a little bit,” I get put on the spot and then stun everyone in the vicinity with my skills.

Is it really that easy though?
In this day and age, the focus has been directed toward putting together good music instead of solid wordplay. As long as it sounds aesthetically pleasing, there’s no need to really expand with the lyrics with the exception of a select few. We can have a debate for another day when it comes to the “real” hip-hop and the mainstream music.
(I will say this, both can easily co-exist. Music helps us in a myriad of ways, particularly when we look at certain moods. If I’m in a state of contemplation, I’ll throw on Nas, A Tribe Called Quest or Immortal Technique. If I’m on 5th Street, I need some Migos, 21 Savage or Future because I can’t turn up to J. Cole or Kendrick Lamar. Everything in moderation.)

So, what does this mean for the freestyle game?
More rappers are imitators instead of innovators. If you can get famous off of another person’s wave, some feel like it’s the best move. A couple of tweaks with a gimmick can equal success over actually honing the craft. I’ve worked with or conversed with plenty of rappers who can’t freestyle and I’ve got no problems with how they handle business (especially if they’re doing it properly), but the 90s vibe in me affects me internally.

Every once in a while, I’ll find someone on my level and it’s a great thing. For a moment, it takes me back to the grassroots and the organic feel of hip-hop. Maybe I need to get with the times, but I’m stubborn. For now, I’ll continue doing what I can to bring back the old feeling. Or at least make a new fan in the process. Or at minimum, make somebody’s night.

The old school still exists.