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At every on the Real interview shoot, we ask the artist being interviewed to “freestyle,” as we use this footage to frame the interview. The term freestyle has meant many things over the years, from rhyming about nothing in particular, to improvising off the top, to spitting a verse you wrote in your Blackberry to a beat selected by a radio host. As self-proclaimed Hip-Hop purists, the ‘improvising off the top’ definition is the one we adhere to in our hearts, but understand that most artists today will not (generally, because they cannot) improvise off the top, and so we never expect such a “freestyle.”

At our interview with Redrum (IG), an emcee/beatboxer/graff writer from Staten Island, NYC, we asked, as we always do, for a freestyle. He agreed, and a few seconds later, much to our surprise, he was improvising rhymes off the top of his head. It was like watching a unicorn cross the street, and it speaks to the way Redrum is more accurately described as a Hip-Hoppper, not simply a rapper.

Press play above to hear about Redrum’s engagement with beatboxing, emceeing, and graffiti, as well as his fight to overcome a life-threatening health scare, and the importance of prioritizing meaning over sheer technique in your music.

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