Thanks to Power 96 in the '80s, every Camaro and Trans Am blared freestyle's syncopated drum machines and vocoder vocals. It was the heyday of Afrika Bambaatas "Planet Rock," which melded the tweaks of Kraftwerk with the soul of George Clinton.
As the genre morphed, freestyle became synonymous with dance music coming out of the Hispanic communities in Miami and NYC. It was based in hip-hop beats, but the melodies went all pop, and the vocals were sung and not rapped. Think Lisa Lisa's "Head to Toe," Stevie B's "Spring Love," and Exposé's "Point of No Return."
Those mid-'80s big shots will all play the Freestyle Extravaganza 2 this Saturday at 8 p.m. at the American Airlines Arena (601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami). Sharing the bill will be old-school rapper Biz Markie, perhaps considered freestyle-worthy for his sung chorus of "Just a Friend."
Sat., June 26, 8 p.m., 2010