This edition of the Freestyler’s Playlist comes from Hamza Bounouader, a co-founder of Chicago Freestyle, who describe themselves as USA’s number one freestyling group.
A native of Morocco, Bounouader has been freestyling since 2009. He has also organized the previous two U.S. National Freestyle Football Championships in Chicago.
Bounouader’s playlist brings a lot of energy with up-tempo hip-hop instrumentals, b-boy breaks, and trap bangers.
Check out the playlist below and our break down of each of the Chicago freestyler’s choice picks.
Funky Bijou, “Lhiba King Zoo”
Bounouader starts off his playlist with a fast-paced, intense, break beat from French duo Funky Bijou. With a crazy combination of drums and strings, this track is sure to get your freestyle session started on the right foot.
DJ Help, “Ziway”
Bounouader keeps things moving with another b-boy inspired break beat from DJ Help. Like “Lhiba King Zoo,” “Ziway” features up-tempo drums, this time over a smooth jazz sample.
Moderator, “Love So Strong”
Athens-based producer Moderator’s “Love So Strong” mixes (once again) a strong drum break, very reminiscent of the theme from the Jason Bourne movies. The soulful sample over the drums is a nice touch and fits in nicely with Bounouader’s overall theme for this set.
Kaaris, “Kadirov” (Instrumental)
Continuing with the instrumental theme, Bounouader adds a track from French rapper Kaaris minus the vocals. “Kadirov” has an ominous-sounding bass line over trap-style snare drums, and definitely sounds like something a heavyweight boxer would walk out to.
DJ Flow, “King Sh*t”
The first song on the playlist from an American, Bounouader recruits Oakland native DJ Flow for his next track. “King Sh*t” features a sample from “The Morning” off of Kanye West’s Cruel Summer album. DJ Flow chops up the main melody and adds a heavy bass line and old-school drums to create a banger that will get even the laziest days going.
GTA, “Red Lips (Zookeepers Remix)”
The Zookeepers capitalize on the rapidly growing trap music phenomenon and put their interpretation of GTA’s “Red Lips,” also famously remixed by Skrillex. With an epic drop, intense trap horns, and hypnotizing synths, there isn’t much to not love about this track.
Losco, a member of the incredibly dope label Soulection, brings the heat with “Scriptina,” a track containing a trunk-rattling bass line and multiple hip-hop samples from the likes of the Black Eyed Peas and Schoolboy Q. While it isn’t as up-tempo as the other tracks on this list, “Scriptina” still works well for freestyling.
The Beekeepers, “Queen Bee (ft. Mystro) (Dr. Rubberfunk Club Mix)”
Aptly-named Dr. Rubberfunk remixes the UK duo The Beekeeper’s track, “Queen Bee.” Rubberfunk strips down the track and complements its drum beat with added bells and whistles. A more dance-inspired track, “Queen Bee” adds variety to Bounouader’s playlist.
Eric B. & Rakim, “Don’t Sweat the Technique (DJ Help Mellow Remix)”
DJ Help returns to the playlist, this time with a remix of hip-hop legends Eric B. & Rakim’s legendary hit, “Don’t Sweat the Technique.” Help ditches the iconic bass line for an orchestral string pattern and adds a drum break similar to the ones on his previous tracks. While I prefer the original, this version also works well on its own.
JASIMprod, “Peaceful Musik”
Nice-based producer JASIMprod creates a simple track consisting of an upright bass, pizzicato violin, piano chords, and drums. Despite its simplicity, you will undoubtedly find yourself tapping your toe to the looped beat.
thefaded, “Boiling Blood”
Oxnard-native (shout-out to the 805) trap producer thefaded mixes eerie synths with booming bass and drums on his track “Boiling Blood.” I can’t freestyle for the life of me, but for some reason I can clearly picture myself freestyling to this track. It’s never too late to learn.
Emiljo A.C., “Iknowuloveme”
Seventeen-year-old Slovenian producer Emilio A.C. claims on his SoundCloud bio he got his first hip-hop album at 6 years old. The hip-hop influences are evident in “Iknowuloveme,” which contains a chipmunk-style sample popularized by Kanye West with a boom-bap beat that will get anyone with a pulse ready to go.
Onra, “Open the Door”
Bounouader selects French beat-maker Onra’s “Open the Door” for his next song. The track is off of Onra’s Chinoiseries, pt. 2 which contains samples from both Chinese and Vietnamese songs. At just one minute and 43 seconds long, it is a short-yet-sweet looped beat fit to freestyle to.
Oliver $ & Jimi Jules, “Pushing On (Tchami Remix)”
Bounouader switches things up and goes with a house track for his next selection. French house producer Tchami remixes Oliver $ and Jimi Jules’ hit “Pushing On,” and created a hit of his own, garnering over 7 million views on YouTube.
Double D, “Aman (ft. Zentire)”
Bounouader continues with the club-inspired music, this time from Double D. “Aman” contains both vocal and instrumental samples from Middle Eastern music as well.
Double D, Viotar Break
Bounouader goes back-to-back with the Double D tracks with “Viotar Break,” a track with a violin suite over a complex drum beat.
Patrick Zylka, “Spanish Underground Beat”
Patrick Zylka, founder of Zentire Music, drops a Spanish guitar-inspired song with “Spanish Underground Beat.” The melody of the guitar paired with the strong break beat makes suitable for any freestyle session.
Double D, “Guitar Boom”
Just in case you didn’t get enough Double D, Bounouader adds one more track from the break beat group. Double D’s signature complex drums are present in “Guitar Boom,” which plays true to its name with an intense guitar loop.
Guizmo, “Le Premier Chagrin du Jour”
The second rap instrumental on the playlist, Bounouader this time goes with French rapper Guizmo’s “Le Premier Chagrin du Jour.” The song itself features beautiful guitar and vocal samples, and sounds similar to a Nujabes or Ta-ku production.
Stooki Sound x Mr. Carmack, “UPPERS”
Moving from the relaxing “Le Premier Chagrin du Jour,” Stooki Sound and Mr. Carmack’s “UPPERS” is a trap banger similar to Hudson Mohawkes “Higher Ground.” The Mohawke-esque horns blare through your speakers and sound like they’d be in an adidas football commercial.
DJ Kungchilla, “Noreago Instrumental Loop”
I’m going to start off by saying DJ Kungchilla is probably my favorite DJ name of all time. Kungchilla’s “Noreago Instrumental Loop” is a b-boy inspired song with sleek drums and a solid instrumental loop.
DJ Kungchilla, “Petrified Speed Up and Edited”
Kungchilla returns (I know, sounds like a corny B-movie sequel) with another break beat loop, this one more upbeat then “Noreago.”
Bounouader concludes his playlist with the funk-inspired trap song “Dahlia” from London-based producer Oshi.