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    By Alex Geisel

    If YouTube comment sections are any indication of our society's collective knowledge, then it's safe to say we have no idea what the hell a freestyle is.

    The discussions on any freestyle video invariably devolve into the same disagreement. "This isn't a freestyle!" frustrated users exclaim, feeling cheated and deceived. Without fail, another user responds: "Umm... yeah it is. Idiot." Insults and threats ensue.

    Before we go any further, let's qualify our definition:

    When a rapper improvises a verse on the spot, it's a freestyle.

    When a rapper spits a pre-written verse live over a beat they've never heard before, it's also a freestyle.

    This central dialectic seems impossible to grasp for many rap fans, but it need not be so complicated; as long as we don't mistake type A for type B or vice versa, we may be able, at long last, to have a civilized discussion about freestyles.

    Here are 16 of 2016's best, brightest, most fun, and most impressive freestyles. They are all essential viewing.

    Related: 15 Freestyles from 2015 You Need to Watch