Hip-hop may seem like one of the easiest genres to produce. However, this first impression is false. Producing hip-hop beats requires skill and a great deal of knowledge. Your beats will be only as strong as your basis. This principle holds true for many things. First of all, you have to get your fundamentals straight. Our studio EKmixmaster happened to have produced a lot of hip-hop tracks, and we have a couple of handy tips to get you started.
Despite your particular style, there are fundamentals that you need to know. It doesn’t mean that you will use them in every track you produce, but knowing them is indeed necessary to make cool beats. We suggest you adopt them to your style and unique sound to integrate them smoothly into your music. So let’s start with essentials.
Keep the end goal in mind
The first thing you should always remember while producing is the final destination of your track. It will determine the overall direction of your work. Depending on the purpose of your track, you will have to focus on different elements. For example, if your beat will be played at a club, you should probably focus on the low-end and make it big and boomy. But if it is not meant for clubs, the biggest thing you should be concerned about is how to mix the hip-hop vocals and balance your track, so it sounds good in earphones as well as car speakers.
Play with the contrast and rhythm of your track
One of the essential concepts of music production is tension and release. The song builds up toward the chorus, and then the tension is released during the verse. It’s crucial to create a build-up through anticipation. You can also play with the rhythm to diversify the sound in the second verse, and keep the attention of your audience.
If you are a beginner, don’t use samples
You might be tempted to sample other songs in your track, but think twice before doing it. If you don’t work with a big label, you may get in legal trouble if you are not careful with sampling songs. If you still want to sample a song in your beat, use services that can check it and tell you whether it is safe to use it in your work or not.
Don’t disrupt the flow
In hip-hop rhythm is everything, so make sure to quantize your tracks. If you still want your song to have a little swing, you can adjust some of the notes manually. Some DAWs like Ableton even have quantize settings where you can set the percentage of quantization.
Diversify your track with unexpected sounds
Nowadays, many producers replace usual instruments (such as snares and kick drums) with recorded sounds. You can record anything (zippers and lighters do a great job), and with a little bit of processing, you can add to your track a unique sound that is impossible to replicate.
Don’t overcomplicate it
With the number of samples available online, it is very tempting to use them all in your track. However, if you listen to the best tracks of all time, you will notice that they are very simple. So we suggest that you choose quality over quantity. It’s not about what you use, but how you use it.
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