FREE DAPS is a group of freestyle rappers and improvisers who use hip-hop to create a thrilling, one-of-a-kind musical comedy show every time they perform. Erin Topolsky, Youth Programs Coordinator, recently got to know a little bit more about the group and its founders, Jordon Keyes and Isaac Folch, who will be performing at the library as part of our Summer Reading Program.
Erin Topolsky: What’s the origin of the group’s name?
FREE DAPS: A dap is a slang term for a handshake or fist bump. Inspired by the FREE HUGS campaign years back, this was our way to be friendly and inclusive, while also current. Our first album dealt with our tough transition from hobbyists to professionals, and FREE DAPS is the reminder that, no matter how things are handled on the business side, everyone gets a free handshake and welcome with us.
ET: How did you all meet?
FD: We first met on a neighborhood basketball court, then again at a church youth group. We found shared interests and bonded through a rap battle at a party. The rest of the team came aboard through a variety of journeys.
ET: How do you rehearse for freestyle rapping?
FD: We workshop the skill and our formats a lot. We’ve also taught classes on freestyle rap. Basically, we work the brain muscles, but can’t predict the suggestions we’ll get in any show. Now that we perform so often, our shows serve as practice and our workshops often consist of the new performers learning our games and all of us creating new ones.
ET: Tell me more about Isaac and Jordan’s Guinness World Record!
FD: It was a cool and exhausting experience! A group of five freestylers took turns doing full hour solo sets, with group hours in between. We took live online suggestions, played a bunch of games, all of it was broadcast live and we couldn’t let three seconds go by without someone freestyling. We even used two locations—with a rapping transition from one to another! We ended up going about an hour further than the previous record. We stopped at 12 hours and three minutes. Then we all slept for two days straight.
ET: What’s one of the hardest words you’ve had to fit into a rhyme?
FD: The two hardest words have been “hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia” (the fear of long words) and “month.”
ET: What’s next for FREE DAPS?
FD: Oooooh, so much! Some of it we can’t talk about yet, but, basically, we’ve expanded our team to about 10 performers and we’re getting them all working college events, theme park contracts, private parties, etc. while creating brand new content for digital platforms. We are figuring out the best way to make freestyle rap translate to video without losing the incredible energy of being there in person. We’re also recording more scripted music and videos to go with the freestyles.