Guiness World Record Holder Green Arrow: The Art of Freestyling

DJ Green Arrow is currently the Guinness Record holder for a Rap Marathon, by rapping for 9 hours and 57 minutes, tripling his own record set in 2007. The record-setting marathon session placed Green Arrow in the company of legendary freestylers like Supernatural, Ruffstylz, D.O. M-80 and Twista, all of whom have held the record at one point or another. sat down to talk to Green Arrow about his upbringing, influences and how one “trains” to freestyle for dozens of hours. Check out this interesting piece. Where did you get the idea to attempt a world record? Have you tried before?Green Arrow: The first time I ever heard of anyone getting a Guinness record was when I heard that Twista (then known as Tung Twista) had broken the record for the fastest rap. Incidentally, he has long since been defeated, and this year I am attempting to break the current record, which is 921 syllables in one minute (I’m training for 1300). I have long believed that if you want to be good at music, you have to do it for 9 hours a day.I found that there was a gentleman named Ruffstylz out of the U.K. who had rapped for 10 Hours and 30-something minutes, and he was claiming to be the world champ. I began breaking down my resistances until I was able to rap for 14 hours, in October 2007. I researched about 250 subjects intensely and this was I had lots of confidence that I could freestyle about anything. I have a non-profit organization called the True School in the Jungle Groove Foundation, and I figured winning the record would put some spotlight on it. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that you have to register with Guinness World Records before hand, you can’t just submit a tape. Knowing this changed my mindset a little. Here I was, with the knowledge and evidence to prove that I can rap for 14 hours, and no possible way of really being recognized. I meditated on this deeply and realized that getting a Guinness World Records™award is like getting approval to drive a car, like getting a driver’s license. And that if Supernat didn’t get the award, it still doesn’t mean that he wasn’t great, and if Ruffstylz didn’t get the award, it didn’t mean that HE wasn’t great, you know what I’m saying? So the fact that I rapped for longer than the Guinness World Records put me in the company of at least two other people who I respected, Supernat and Ruffstylz. I realized that having a Guinness World Records™for rap is like having a driver’s license to rap. And I didn’t need to have official approval that I can rap, since rap is talking over music and freedom of speech is a Human Right. So I consciously decided to suggest to people that having any kind of recognition by an outside body (such as Guinness World Records™) is ultimately only important as you make it. I decided that the reason why I would pursue breaking the Guinness is to give attention to my non-profit work.I purposefully held back on getting major media to recognize this, and this may be the first time you’ve heard about this. I’m a performance artist, and one of the things I hope to show is that there is a LOT of stuff that is true that is not reported in the media, this record attempt being one of them. As Gandhi said “Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self-sustained.” Thus, from my Hiphop perspective, it doesn’t matter if you’ve never heard of me… it doesn’t make it any less true what I did, and when you know it, it doesn’t make it any more What is the official title of the record?Green Arrow: Again, there is an official record, and there is a record that is recorded by Guinness World Records which usually people see as being the final arbiter of what is what.Guinness actually has two titles. They call the record the “World Record for Rap” on their internal documentation available to applicants, and then when you read their requirements it is called “Longest Rapping Marathon”.I have a book which I’ve been writing that answers all the questions that people have been asking me about how I train and about how they can apply what I’ve learned to their life. The book is called “Freestyle to Death”. I’m going to suggest in this book that there are two records to beat, my Guinness (9 Hours and 57 minutes) and the real record (52 hours), and in the book I’m writing rules and regulations that I would want people to use if they wished to break my record. What are the official rules to break the record? Green Arrow: The rules are complicated. First off, the Guinness record is for marathon rapping, NOT marathon freestyling. Guinness says that they have no way of knowing if something is freestyled. You can literally take an iPod full of your favorite rap songs and rap along with it if you wanted, provided you follow the other rules, and rap along with the iPod for a long time and you can get a record for that. The tradition has always been to freestyle though, so I never considered this option. I decided I would do the entire thing freestyled.The rap must be rhythmical, and it must have a storytelling element to it. It must make sense. For every hour that you rap, you earn a 5 minute break. You may only take bathroom breaks during these breaks that you’ve earned. For every two minutes that you rap, you can pause for 30 seconds. If it’s a Guinness attempt, you have to have it videotaped and you have to have witnesses, as well as you have to have people from the medical profession there to witness the attempt. This is because Guinness doesn’t want to get sued if you pass out and go into a coma. There are lots of other little details that are somewhat labyrinthine but make sense. Guinness is a brand, and in order to get recognition from their brand you have to jump through their hoops. Who previously held the record?Green Arrow: Again, there are two records. The only person who has ever held the Guinness, according to Guinness themselves, is Duane Gibson, aka “D.O.”, who rapped for 8 Hours and 45 minutes. First, D.O., who actually broke the record and then sent it to Guinness, who then created the record, and then to the best of my knowledge there have only been 3 people who built on the record: Supernat, Ruffstylz, and me. Supernat rapped for an incredible 9 Hours and 15 minutes in 2006. Ruffstylez did 10 Hours and 30 minutes, then I did 14 in 2007, and then I did 14 again in 2009, and then in October Ruffstylz did 17 Hours. And then, of course, completed 52 Hours this month. I’m also pleased to announce that I will break my 52 Hour record when I will rap for 60 hours, September 9th-11th, 2010.I hope Supernat will be able to celebrate another Zulu Nation Anniversary in November with me, we haven’t met yet. Much respect, if you’re reading this, Supernat, I watch “Freestyle: the Art of Rhyme” all the time! How was your experience rhyming for so long?Green Arrow: Unique. I had trained to rap for 52 Hours for 2 years, and I learned a lot about myself. I can honestly say that no human being to the best of my knowledge, has ever done what I’ve done, and only when you do that can you experience what I feel now. One part of training is training yourself to resist taking the 5 minute breaks, so if you need to, you can take an hour to nap or whatever. And so, I found while training that if I sensed that I had to go to the bathroom, I could ‘hold it’ for 2 hours. During the latest attempt, after about an hour and a half into the rap, I realized I had to go to the bathroom. God bless whoever developed the Kegel exercises, because I was able to ‘hold it’ for a full 12+ hours! Do you remember any wild stuff that happened while you were rhyming?Green Arrow: There was plenty of wild stuff that happened.  hmmm, the first night I spotted a woman who looked like Cindy Crawford and it tuned out to be her Try approaching Cindy Crawford in rhyme, holding a handheld mic, and explaining to her that you’re breaking a world record. I dare you. She probably thought I was crazy. I have this all on film.In Harlem at an ATM this one brother started filming me with his iPhone and challenging me on Black history and how I felt about Malcolm X. He thought he was speaking to someone without a deep understanding of Malcolm and so eventually he admitted I was pretty cool and chill after I converted his friend into a fan. I made new fans out of everyone in line at that ATM, and I’ve got it all on Who is m80 and does he have a valid claim to the record?Green Arrow: I don’t know M-80 personally. As far as who he is, if you Google him, you know about as much as I do. I broke the Guinness in Sept 09 with 9 Hours and 57 minutes, and then about 6 weeks after I did that, as I’m putting together the paperwork to send to Guinness, I read an article online that says he’s going to break the record. He wrote in his press release that he was aware of me, and that I, along with Supernat and Ruffstylez had broken the 8 hours and 45 minutes set by D.O. and that he was doing this to raise funds for a charity.As soon as I heard he was attempting this, I held off on doing any of the paperwork, because he might break my record, and then it would be foolish of me to turn in the paperwork. Then I found out he was only going to attempt 9 Hours and 15 minutes. I hoped that he would stick to that, and I didn’t understand why he wouldn’t continue on and add another 45 minutes to his attempt, since then he would be breaking what I had just set.This cannot be true, since according to Guinness, they have not named him as such.As to whether he has a valid claim to the record, if you’re talking about the Guinness Record, then I believe that’s up to Guinness. As far as I can tell, and from the evidence that I have, he hasn’t sent in his paperwork yet, or Guinness hasn’t approved it.

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