You may already know how to make rap beats, but do you know how to really make them hit hard enough to make your listener’s head snap?
Here are four simple but very effective tips by Sownds on exactly how you can achieve that. You can find an explanation and demonstration video below the transcripts.
1) Layer Your Kicks
Layering your kicks and snares is a common technique used by many of the best rap producers, and it really puts an emphasis on the beat.
“There’s a flood of people making beats on the Internet and everywhere else. One thing you want to learn is – How to make your kicks hit hard. The way you do this is you have to layer your kicks, and what I mean by that is you have to use more than one kick. You have to use more than one bass drum. You have to double them up, that way you’ll get the hit that you want.”
The best way to get the exact thumping sound that you want is just to experiment with a variety of drum kicks together, to see what synchronizes with each other the best.
“One tip when you’re doing this, especially when you’re combining kicks, is you don’t just want to combine them, you also want to pan your kicks sometimes.”
“The reason why you want to pan your kicks is because when you put two kicks together, they tend to hit harder than you want them to, and because you got both of them coming out of both speakers at the same time, it can cause distortion.”
“Try to pan one to the left and one to the right. Sometimes what I like to do is not to pan them all the way to the left or right, but pan them almost all the way down. That way, you still have some of the impact in the middle, and you have most of it to the sides. This will give it more of a surround sound also when you’re playing it in different types of systems.”
“You don’t have to do it everytime to get your kicks to hit hard, because sometimes if you want to use an 808 kick, they just hit hard regardless. But certain kicks, you have to give them more punch.”
2) Tune Your Drums
If you don’t tune your drums, they won’t sound right together. Tuning your drums gives another dimension to what otherwise might be bland drums. It will give you the optimal sound that will fit in perfectly with the rest of your rap beat.
“Slowing it down, and speeding it up. That’s basically what tuning is…When you play it by ear, you don’t have to go to college or nothing like that to learn how to tune drums. It’s just having an ear of where you want the tune to be so that they sound right together.”
3) Optimize The Snare
The snare works together with the kick to provide a rhythm for the beat. It plays an essential role in making the listener feel your music.
Going back to the technique of layering kicks, you may also want to layer your snares, but with other percussion instruments such as claps and cymbals.
It’s possible to layer a snare with several claps and cymbals, as long as you don’t overload them which gives them an unorganized and messy sound.
Just like with the kicks, you should pan the different percussion instruments to the left and right to prevent distortion.
“Take the snares, tweak them and do whatever you want to them, but make sure that they sound right together also. Don’t just throw a bunch of kicks and claps together.”
4) Optimize The Cymbals
“Cymbals are an important part of making beats. You got your hi-hat cymbals, you got your crashes and you got your rides. Those are important when it comes to giving your beats more impact and bringing your drum beat out.”
“You want to make sure your hi-hats sound right, that they’re tuned right to match the track and match the drums. You need everything to match each other.”
Hi-hats give a short and crisp sound and are used to give consistency in the rhythm of the beat. Basically, it’s played throughout the track, usually in an eight-note pattern (in Hip-Hop) and keeps the beat rolling.
Often, the hi-hats are paused at a certain part of the track to emphasize the other instruments. You can instantly hear when hi-hats have been taken out. You can read more about the hi-hat here.
To introduce the drop (the point of a track where the drums and bass line is introduced), a crash is usually used for added impact.
“Move you hi-hats however you want to move them. Make the people move how you want them to. Sometimes, your hi-hats can actually set the mood for your beat and how people are going to react to it.”
If you have a slower hi-hat, people tend to bop their head slower, and if you have a faster hi-hat, you’re going to make people move their entire body in a quick bouncing rhythm. The quick hi-hats method is commonly used in Southern Hip-Hop beats.================================================================
If you want to start making beats or become successful at it, then you're going to need some great music production equipment to enhance your skills. Take a look at the following: