The neurological roots of improvisation versus memorization are becoming a bit clearer thanks to a few brave rappers who agreed to have their noggins scanned while rhyming. What the study’s researchers found matches up well with previous analysis of improvising jazz musicians.
These fMRI studies indicate that very specific brain regions, especially those involved in word recall and creative language processing, are firing more when rappers are freestyling than when reciting memorized passages. Not exactly surprising, but a cool scientific explanation for some particular musical creativity.
Neatorama put it best with this flow:
Oh my God, Becky
Look at his brain
It’s so big
He looks like one of those rap guys
Who understands those rap guys
They only rap like that because of improvisation-related correlations between medial prefrontal, cingulate motor, perisylvian cortices and amygdala
I mean his brain
It’s just so big
I can’t believe it’s so brainy
It’s just out there
I mean, it’s awesome