The Telegraph reports that an American Professor is claiming rap music, specifically freestyle battles, actually originated in Scotland centuries ago. The Scottish tradition of flyting is, as Professor Ferenc Szasz claims, a battle of “verbal jousting” that was done in verse.
Szasz claims that Scottish slaveowners brought the practice over to the US and that slaves there adopted it and it lead to, ultimately, the birth of hip hop.
Frankly, I think that’s a bit of a stretch. There are some similiarities between rap and flyting, mainly that both consist of a verbal tussle where individuals take turns and marks are given for the most clever lyrics and disses. Even with these similiarities, I think rap had a way different progression to get where it is now.
Still, it’s an interesting little analysis by a little-known academic, and a connection I had never heard of. So it is entirely possible there is at least some Scottish influence on the contemporary freestyle.