Freestyle – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Musical Genres Glossary

I. What is Freestyle music?

Freestyle music is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in the early 1980s. It is characterized by its fast tempo, synthesizer-driven beats, and catchy melodies. Freestyle music often features emotionally charged lyrics about love, heartbreak, and relationships. The genre is known for its energetic and upbeat sound, making it a popular choice for dance clubs and parties.

II. Origins and history of Freestyle

Freestyle music originated in the Latino communities of New York City in the early 1980s. It was heavily influenced by other electronic music genres such as disco, electro, and hip-hop. The genre quickly gained popularity in urban areas and eventually spread to mainstream audiences across the United States.

One of the key figures in the development of Freestyle music was producer and DJ Jellybean Benitez, who helped popularize the genre through his work with artists like Madonna and the Latin Rascals. Other influential artists in the early days of Freestyle music include Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, Stevie B, and Exposé.

III. Characteristics of Freestyle music

Freestyle music is characterized by its distinctive sound, which combines elements of electronic dance music with pop and R&B influences. The genre typically features fast-paced beats, synthesizer melodies, and catchy hooks. The lyrics of Freestyle songs often focus on themes of love, heartbreak, and relationships, making them relatable to a wide audience.

One of the defining features of Freestyle music is its use of vocal improvisation, or “freestyling,” which gives the genre its name. Artists often incorporate ad-libs, vocal runs, and melodic embellishments into their performances, adding a sense of spontaneity and creativity to the music.

IV. Influences on Freestyle music

Freestyle music was heavily influenced by a variety of other music genres, including disco, electro, and hip-hop. The genre’s fast-paced beats and electronic sound were inspired by the dance music of the 1970s and 1980s, while its emotional lyrics and vocal improvisation drew from the traditions of R&B and soul music.

In addition to its musical influences, Freestyle music was also shaped by the cultural and social context of the time. The genre emerged during the height of the AIDS crisis and the crack epidemic in urban areas, providing a form of escapism and self-expression for marginalized communities.

V. Popular artists and songs in Freestyle music

Some of the most popular artists in the Freestyle music genre include Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, Stevie B, Exposé, and TKA. These artists achieved commercial success in the 1980s and 1990s with hits like “Head to Toe,” “Spring Love,” “Point of No Return,” and “Maria.”

Other notable songs in the Freestyle genre include “Let the Music Play” by Shannon, “Show Me” by The Cover Girls, and “Fantasy Girl” by Johnny O. These songs are considered classics of the genre and continue to be popular choices for dance clubs and radio stations.

VI. Evolution and current status of Freestyle music

Over the years, Freestyle music has evolved and adapted to changing musical trends and tastes. In the 2000s and 2010s, the genre experienced a resurgence in popularity, with new artists like Cynthia, Lisette Melendez, and Coro emerging on the scene.

Today, Freestyle music continues to have a dedicated fan base and remains a popular choice for dance parties and events. The genre has also influenced other music styles, such as EDM and pop, with artists like Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez incorporating elements of Freestyle into their music.

Overall, Freestyle music remains an important and influential genre in the electronic dance music scene, with its catchy melodies, energetic beats, and emotional lyrics continuing to resonate with audiences around the world.