header photo

The Journey of Bachmann 086

connor72mcfadden's blog

How To CREATE A Great Hip Hop Song

It's probably fair to say that hip-hop has been the most globally influential design of music since some young wag stepped on Elvis's blue suede shoes. Starting out as a voice for African-American and Latin communities in the states, hip-hop soon spread and became the soundtrack to the 80's, 90's and the new millennium. Each year its influence and penetration increase, from commercials to films, and from charts to bars. In this section I am going to explain the fundamentals of hip-hop production as well as 20 must know tips to make the best hip-hop tracks possible.


With hip-hop its about the beats - so get inspired!

Beats are the backbone of all hip-hop. Whether you're into the cheeky one-two of Dre's Eminem productions or the juddering steps of Dj Premier, you have to guarantee that if nothing else is playing, your beat still stacks up to scrutiny. As US comic Chris Rock put it: "If the beat's alright, they'll dance forever."

As we've already seen, hip-hop beats started out as breaks from records, beatboxes and sampling drum machines, so its super easy for hip-hop produced on a computer to sound a little lifeless. Live playing and clever quantisation can fix this, though. The primary trick is to keep it sparse and once you have a basic groove going, try taking out different percussive hits before adding more.
Also, its important to keep it simple. In the event that you listen to professional hip-hop productions, you'll notice that its rare for two different percussive elements to play as well - unless its a layered clap and snare, and even then they'll alternate over a bar or two between both playing and only one or the other. free hip hop instrumentals will also hear many parts were a musical instrument like a shaker only plays for a small and specific section of a looped bar, almost as if the different percussive elements are taking turns. This is no coincidence, as hip-hop culture is all about this type of connection. Wether its DJs, MCs or breakdancers, hip-hop is, at its core, about this type of backwards and forwards interaction, and this transfers to each and every production element including beats.

STEP BY STEP the drums

1-The first thing I really do when focusing on beats is lay out a hi-hat pattern. Usually , I do an eighth-note pattern and then go back and change it out if necessary after I've laid down another parts.

2-Next up may be the kick and snare . I keep them simple at first because I know that I'm going to be utilizing a drum loop underneath. I focus on a drum loop and add extra kicks and snares to reinforce it. The kick and snare are both sounds that I re-use on many tracks.

3-Next I'll add a sampled kick and snare to reinforce the stock kick and snare sounds. This makes the beat sound a little thicker and grimier. I also leave a little bit of 'air' on the tail end - this acts like 'sonic glue', giving the beat a far more sampled feel.

4-The basic beat is currently complete and ready to send into the arrange screen, down the road I'll utilize this pattern as a template for other sections of the song, were I'll add snare fills and rolls.


1-When using sampled breaks, I always make sure they're either royalty-free, original roughly obscure they wont be recognized. This way I dont have to be worried about sample clearance. I'm a fan of busy drums so I'll usually choose an action packed two-bar drum break.

2-Now you need to match the tempo of the drum break to the tempo of your song. You are able to do this with any beat-slicing program.

3-Later on, after you have added vocals and such you need to use this drum break, were its needed during your song.

Just like every other design of music, hip-hop's gotta have hooks

Melody or bass: it's hard to say

Go Back


Blog Search

Blog Archive


There are currently no blog comments.