The summer is just about over. With school starting again and the days of August dwindling, it’s time to reflect on the best moments of Summer ’19, including the best freestyles. There were a range of memorable lyrical exercises this summer, from Freddie Gibbs rattling off doubletime bars with his baby in his hand to Tyler The Creator trolling Funkmaster Flex on Hot 97. Here’s a list of the best freestyles from June 1 on, ranked:
11. Marlon Craft — XXL Freestyle
New York MC Marlon Craft wasn’t selected for this year’s XXL Freshman list, but he still took advantage of the outlet’s Youtube channel to show off his skills. Craft cleverly fit the names of the Freshman in his bars through wordplay though he hilariously admitted, “even I don’t have wordplay for Comethazine.” But the name-dropping wasn’t the only draw of the verse. He used the Freshman as a foil to speak on the obstacles he and other upcoming rappers are facing, before quelling any sensitive retorts by noting, “I root for everyone to win.”
10. Megan Thee Stallion — XXL Freshman Freestyle
Megan Thee Stallion is one of many exciting rappers putting rap’s sexism to bed one bar at a time. The Fever rapper showed the breadth of her skills with her XXL Freshman verse, where she unleashed a vicious rapid-fire flow affirming her superiority and letting us know “your n—a in my DM and he writin’ love letters.” Meghan shows that there’s really no such thing as “female rappers.” Either you can rap, or you can’t.
9. Juice WRLD — Funkmaster Flex Freestyle
Juice WRLD’s freestyle ability is well known. He showed off his skills with a long, off-the-dome freestyle for Hot 97. Though Juice didn’t drop as many sensational one-liners as others on this list, his ability to spit bars out of thin air for over 10 minutes deserves commendation. And it’s also nice to see Flex reaching out to the young generation of MCs.
8. DaBaby — XXL Freshman Freestyle
DaBaby showed off his sense of humor and charisma on a XXL Freshman freestyle that stood at the top of the heap for this year. He let us know “they ain’t f*ckin with Jonathan mama,” then delved into his trademark melodic flow with tough talk and one-liners like “who you know get the fade once a week and ain’t tryna get waves fuck a ‘muf*ckin wave cap.” Only DaBaby.
7. Tierra Whack — “07/14/19 Freestyle”
Tierra Whack makes rapping look too easy, as she showed with her airtight bars over Jay-Z’s “Jigga What” classic. Viewers may have thought that the wacky rhymer was trolling them by sniffing a bottle of water at the outset of the bars – but then she used the moment to open up her verse by rhyming, “I was gonna take a sip, but I ain’t even thirsty / It’s summertime and my own sun/son tried to burn me.” Whack is different.
6. Tyler The Creator — Hot 97 Freestyle
Tyler The Creator’s recent appearance on Hot 97 wasn’t his finest freestyle moment, but that doesn’t matter. It’s easy for people to publicly express acceptance of the LGBTQ community, but those words can be exposed as mere lip service when they actually encounter openly gay people. Tyler put Flex to the test with a freestyle where he repeatedly flirted with Flex, who awkwardly laughed throughout the off-the-top proceedings. But while Tyler’s verse was a progressive moment, it’s time to stop R. Kelly–teen wordplay like the line he used.
5. Game — LA Leakers Freestyle
Game has been relatively quiet this year, but maybe that’s because he’s in the dungeon cookin’ up bars like the ones he recently unleashed on LA Leakers. He noted that he was drunk multiple times, but still got the job done with a ferocious freestyle where he delved into a clever scheme using “Lil” rapper names, switched up his flow multiple times, did an impromptu G-mix of “Old Town Road” then went off the top to unveil the hilarious fun fact that “I be on NikeID bored as f*ck putting red strings in all the Kds.”
4. Griselda & BSF — LA Lakers Freestyle
When it comes to that raw, gritty, face-scrunching sound, few acts are competing with the Buffalo, New York-bred Griselda camp. Even Jay-Z took notice and signed Benny The Butcher and Westside Gunn to Roc Nation management. While Westside didn’t pop up on the crew’s recent LA Leakers freestyle, rapper/producer Rick Hyde took over for him and held his own before Benny and Conway ripped into rewind-worthy bars like “clothesline a brick like I’m Diamond Dallas Page.”
3. Deetranada — Freestyle
Deetranada is done with the double standards for women who rap, and she let those qualms go over a classic Missy beat repopularized by Ski Mask The Slump God. The Baltimore rhymer not only showed off her mastery of flow, she dropped some gems like, “n—s hidin’ behind designer ’cause their mindset plain,” and bemoaning that, “it’s exciting when a man do it, but when a girl do it she gotta have a catch to it.” With more undeniably talented MCs like Deetranada, hopefully such contradictions will be left in the past.
2. YBN Cordae — Hot 97 Freestyle
YBN Cordae is as complete an MC as there is at his age. He showed off his lyricism and wisdom in a wide-ranging freestyle where he chastised “rappin fast but what the f*ck did you say ass n—-s” switched up his flow over beats ranging from DaBaby’s “Suge” to Lupe Fiasco’s “Kick, Push,” and surmised that, “the difference between me and you? Multiply your self worth by 5 trillion / your high ceilin’ still couldn’t equal to a fraction of my worst sh*t.”
1. Freddie Gibbs — LA Leakers Freestyle
Freddie Gibbs raised eyebrows when he declared himself the best rapper alive earlier this year. But after releasing Bandana to rave reviews and dropping one of the dopest freestyles of the year, it’s hard to say he doesn’t have a case. Even with his son in his arm, Gibbs didn’t waste a second while masterfully melting Dom Kennedy’s “My Type Of Party” instrumental. He showed off a level of breath control that’s astounding – if you aren’t already used to Gibbs’ melodic, rapid-fire trap musings.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.