Your freestyle skills and style can change dramatically when you are under the influence. Under the influence of what? Who you are with, where you are, what city you are in, the place you are standing, if you’re standing or sitting down, what you are wearing, how you feel, what different substances are effecting you, how comfortable you are, who is listening, who you think is listening, who you are trying to impress, what kind of beats or music you are freestyling over, what style you are using, what you’ve been reading or watching that day, whether you are being recorded, photographed or on video. Some people are good under some influences, and great under others.

It’s important to practice your skills under all sorts of influences — particularly if you frequently freestyle under the same influences again and again. You should diversify the influences under which you have practised and are familiar with, because you never know when you might be called upon to freestyle. Improving your skills in one area will help you and inspire you in others. Putting yourself outside your comfort zone will expand your skills, and no matter what the situation or condition, you will always be ready to freestyle!

Places: your bedroom, your shower, your car or bike, a studio, a club, a house party, a stage, a street, a hallway, a park, a forest, a cold place, a hot place.

Audience: An audience that is pumped! An audience that doesn’t care. An audience that’s bored. An audience that loves you. An audience that doesn’t like you. People that know you, people that don’t. A small group, a large group, a single stranger, someone you care about. A house party, a busy street. Young kids, your own age group, and your elders.

Substances and mental states: Straightedge sober. Coffee, tea, alcohol, cannabis, other substances. Hungry, well-fed, tired, awake. Physically comfortable or uncomfortable. Nervous or relaxed.

Music: hip-hop, Top 40, jazz, lounge music, Afrobeat, dancehall reggae, folk, classical, opera, rock, house, breakbeats, dubstep, trance, meditation records, talk radio, white noise. Instrumentals and songs with lyrics.