Freestyles aren’t known for being bastions of vulnerability. Traditionally, the form is a mixture of technical skill, improvisation, showmanship, and hyperbolic boasts. In July, Tyler, The Creator’s “Butt Sex” freestyle for Funk Flex broke the form wide open with a mix of trolling and fleeting moments of sincerity. In a world where freestyles have increasingly become obsolete — if some of the most successful rap songs in the world are stream of consciousness bars over Fruity Loops beats, what is a freestyle? — it was a rare spectacle. Almost two months later, Young M.A has accomplished the same feat.
Over the beat for Casanova and Fabolous’ “So Brooklyn,” M.A leans heavily on adept wordplay. Clever boasts (“I said the queen of Brooklyn, nigga, let’s get it / That’s queen with a “k” cause I’m a king too”) charge up against witty double entendres (“You can’t Flex on my city, No they gon’ Envy that”). At no point does M.A raise her voice or slip into a melodic cadence. Every word and syllable is delivered with an icy, hypnotic calm.
But it’s the second freestyle she delivered on the radio show that arguably showed more skill. For 30 seconds, M.A goes through the trials and tribulations that likely inspired the three-year gap between her 2016 hit “Ooouuu” and her debut album coming out on September 27th. As an impressed Flex looked on, M.A. raps:
“I been laying low lately, Yeah I did some shows lately
Can’t lie shit been moving slower like an old lady
But I ain’t broke baby, I just came to get my mind right
Get back on my bully when the time right, Get back in that limelight
Had to feed the streets like I just walked out of Shoprite
Falling was not right, my apologies, I was in a time of need
I needed some privacy, I needed a prophesy
Couldn’t let my momma see me at my lowest point, but I guess that’s just the pride in me”
Young M.A might have lost some momentum since her breakout summer, but her skills are still just as sharp.