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Freestyle Rap: The science, the aspiration, the new releases

These were the scenes that really put freestyle on the map back in the day, and arguably, what brought it into mainstream consciousness.  Sure it was scripted, but so many couldn’t have understood the real depth to this on-the-spot improvisation and the real power it wielded in one’s personal arsenal that some of the best freestylers employ.

Researchers in voice, speech, and language studied the brain activity of freestyling rappers using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRIs). They found that when a person spontaneously creates rhyming lyrics, the brain turns up certain regions while turning down others.  As the brain activity shifts, the results showed that a unique neural network activates, suggesting that there are distinct pathways for improvisational creativity.   Furthermore it was the peer reviewed validation by Siyuan Liu, Allen Braun, and a team of neuroscientists affiliated with the the National Institutes of Health (NIH) who published their research after studying brain activity of freestyle rappers using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI scans).  The findings showed that freestyling changes activity in the prefrontal cortex, the brain region associated with language and decision-making.  The improvisation increases activity in the area responsible for thought and action but decreases it in the parts that control and suppress. The findings suggest that the flowing, freestyling brain can relax its neural constraints to allow freer oral expression of words and ideas.

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