Beginner’s Guide to Making Your Own Hip Hop Beats
Hip hop music has become one of the most popular genres around the world for its creative rhythms, infectious energy, and meaningful messages.
Now, thanks to advances in technology, anyone can make their own hip hop beats from the comfort of their home!
But where do you start?
That’s where we come in. In this guide, you’ll learn how to make a hip hop beat that makes heads turn.
Also, check this free training for the secret to picking the perfect samples. (Ignoring this lesson can waste hours and ruin your beats.)
What is a Hip Hop Beat?
A hip hop beat is a rhythm or percussion track created with instruments and sampled audio. It typically serves as the foundation for a hip hop song, providing structure and energy.
Hip hop beats are usually composed of a combination of samples from different songs or sound sources, plus additional elements such as synthesizers, drum machines, vocals, and more. These elements are combined to create an entirely new sound that can fit the style of any particular artist or project.
The process of making a hip hop beat can be broken down into three main steps: creating the foundation beat (the drums), adding melodic layers (keys and synths), and finally adding vocal elements (sampled audio). Each step requires careful planning, attention to detail, and plenty of creativity – but when done right the results can be incredibly powerful!
What You Need to Make a Hip Hop Beat
Creating your own hip hop beats is easier than ever thanks to modern technology. All you need is a computer, some basic knowledge and a few essential pieces of equipment.
The most important piece of equipment for any beatmaker is the drum machine or sampler. This will allow you to create your own unique sounds and loops which are key elements in making a hip hop beat.
A sequencer will also come in handy, as it allows you to arrange and rearrange different sound elements into interesting patterns.
Finally, a mixer is essential for balancing all the elements of your track together and creating the perfect mix.
With these tools, anyone can make high-quality beats from the comfort of their home. Now let’s take a look at the steps you’ll need to follow to create your hip hop beat.
Step 1: Setting Up the Digital Audio Workstation
Before you get into making beats, you’ll need digital audio workstation (DAW) software to produce them. DAWs are digital audio programs that act as a virtual recording studio for music production.
A few examples of popular DAWs include Logic Pro X, FL Studio, and Ableton Live. Each of these platforms has their own benefits and features, so take some time to explore each one and decide which one best suits your needs.
Once you’ve chosen a suitable program, make sure you install all necessary plugins, such as effects and synthesizers. The right plugins can add depth and warmth to your mixes which really bring out the character and emotion of your beats.
With everything set up in terms of hardware and software, you’re now ready to start getting creative.
Step 2: Creating the Beat
As the backbone of your track, your beat is the foundation that your whole song will be built on. It’s important to get this step right before you move on to writing lyrics or adding melodies.
There are several different ways you can create a hip hop beat, so let’s review some of them now.
First, you have computer programs that are specifically designed for creating hip hop beats. These programs can be downloaded or used online and come with hundreds of samples and drum kits that allow you to create unique sounds. Some popular options include Ableton Live, FL Studio, and Logic Pro X.
You can also buy hardware such as MIDI keyboards and samplers for creating a more traditional-sounding production. A sampler is a device that stores pre-made samples from any instrument — including drums — and allows users to manipulate them into their own sounds.
Lastly, if you don’t want to use a computer program or hardware at all, there are plenty of tutorials online showing how to make hip hop beats with just an iPhone or Android device. There are many apps available that give aspiring producers access to virtual instruments as well as effects for crafting professional sounding beats on the go.
Creating a Kick Drum Pattern
Creating a kick drum pattern is essential when making a hip hop beat.
To get started, pick out a sample that you like and load it into your DAW of choice. Experiment with different rhythms and tempos until you find something that you like. You can also use plugins such as drum machines or virtual instruments to further customize the sound.
When layering different elements together, try to keep each part simple but effective. Keep in mind that the kick drum should be the driving force behind your beat, so make sure it’s punchy enough to carry your track.
Once you have your kick drum pattern set, take some time to practice and refine it until it sounds perfect. With the right sample and a bit of practice, you’ll be able to create a professional-sounding kick drum pattern in no time.
Adding Clap, Snare and Hi-Hat Sounds
After you have your kick drum pattern set, it’s time to add some clap, snare and hi-hat sounds.
Start by finding a sample that you like and load it into your DAW. Experiment with different rhythms and tempos until you find something that works well with your kick drum pattern. You can also use plugins such as drum machines or virtual instruments to further customize the sound.
When layering different elements together, make sure each part is distinct and adds its own unique flavor to the overall beat. The clap should be punchy enough to cut through the mix, while the snare should provide a solid backbone for the track. Lastly, the hi-hat should provide accents throughout the beat for extra emphasis.
Step 3: Adding Melodic Layers
Once your beat is programmed and arranged, it’s time to add some melodic layers. This could include melodies, vocal samples, synth parts – whatever helps you bring your beat to life.
Start by adding a melody or vocal sample along with your bass drum or bass track. You can find plenty of samples online that are perfect for hip hop. Choose a melody that resonates with your beat and make sure it follows the rhythm of the kick and snare drums.
Next, you can layer other sound elements on top – synths, pianos, strings. Get creative! Again, there are lots of free sound packs out there that you can use if you don’t have some instruments covered already.
Writing Chord Progressions for Your Beat
Writing chord progressions for your beat is a great way to add some melodic structure and low-end foundation to your hip hop track. It can be intimidating if you’re new to producing, but don’t worry – it’s easier than it sounds.
Start by experimenting with different notes and rhythms until you find something that fits the overall vibe of your beat. You can also add small ascending or descending patterns to give your chords more movement.
Creating Basslines for Your Track
Creating basslines for your track is an essential part of making a hip hop beat.
Basslines provide the low-end foundation and bring life to your music. Start by experimenting with different notes, rhythms, and patterns. Take some time to find out what fits best with the overall vibe of your track.
You can also add in small ascending or descending patterns to give the bass more movement and make it stand out from the chords. With some practice, you’ll soon be able to create basslines that perfectly complement your chord progressions and bring your beat to life!
Step 4: Mixing and Mastering the Beat
Once you have your elements in place and have arranged them on the timeline, it’s time to mix and master the beat. This is where you bring out the individual strengths of each element while adjusting levels, EQ-ing (equalizing) frequencies, applying effects such as compression and reverb, and mastering for the right level of loudness.
Mixing can be tedious but is extremely important both to make sure each element is balanced and for a cohesive overall sound. It also gives your beat more depth and detail.
For mastering, aim for a good balance between loudness and clarity. Your final output should be neither too quiet nor overly compressed with too much bass or treble.
It’s also important to leave enough headroom in your mix to allow for some extra processing when played on different systems such as laptop speakers or club sound systems.
Once you’re satisfied with how everything sounds, export your master track as an uncompressed audio file. This type of file will give the highest quality sound that preserves all details in full resolution.
Making your own hip hop beats can be seriously rewarding and a great way to express your creativity.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll find yourself pushing limits, creating new sounds and discovering melodies you hadn’t thought of before. Nobody else will sound just like you – it’s amazing how limitless the possibilities are!
Whether you choose to make beats for fun or for income, dedication and practice will get you there eventually. Just remember: don’t be too hard on yourself – have patience, stay motivated and never stop learning.
Avoid This Common Mistake…
The last thing to remember is this:
You can learn all the skills, tactics, and tools in the world…
But nothing will save your beats if you choose the wrong samples.
Too many producers struggle because they don’t know how to identify the right samples. This causes them to force sounds that don’t belong.
That’s why it’s crucial to learn sample selection.
But there’s still one small problem…
How do you know which samples to choose?
Watch this training for a simple strategy that detects the perfect samples in 30 seconds or less.
It’s perfect for sample-based producers of all experience levels.
Don’t miss your chance to overcome this common mistake.