Freestyling is, at least I think anyway, a kind of human phenomena. How the likes of J.U.I.C.E., Supernatural etc. can come up their words so quickly, put together the kinda metaphors and rhymes with quite wit that they do, I dunno it’s just an amazing skill. It’s not one lost to the world of science either. In fact, freestyle rapping represents one of the most clear demonstrations of spontaneous creativity, and so in the study of human creativity, which is poorly understood and misrepresented, it is important. Here, scientists use MRI scans to see where the brain is active and inactive. See the conclusion below, or read the article in full here (beware though, it’s a scientific journal and quite hard to decipher).
The neural correlates of creativity are poorly understood. Freestyle rap provides a unique opportunity to study spontaneous lyrical improvisation, a multidimensional form of creativity at the interface of music and language. Here we use functional magnetic resonance imaging to characterize this process. Task contrast analyses indicate that improvised performance is characterized by dissociated activity in medial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices, providing a context in which stimulus-independent behaviors may unfold in the absence of conscious monitoring and volitional control. Connectivity analyses reveal widespread improvisation-related correlations between medial prefrontal, cingulate motor, perisylvian cortices and amygdala, suggesting the emergence of a network linking motivation, language, affect and movement. Lyrical improvisation appears to be characterized by altered relationships between regions coupling intention and action, in which conventional executive control may be bypassed and motor control directed by cingulate motor mechanisms. These functional reorganizations may facilitate the initial improvisatory phase of creative behavior.