When you first listen to a rap beat, it may sound simplistic and easy to produce. That’s far from the truth. Making rap beats takes great skill in sampling, chopping, mixing and mastering among other things in order for it to be considered a classic.
Legendary rap producers such as Dr. Dre, DJ Premier and Timbaland have honed their craft over many years, not overnight. However, to get you started in making some sick rap beats, here are 10 effective tips.
1) Start With A Simple Drum Pattern & Bass Line
The drum loop is what makes the listeners bop their heads. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Less is more so keep the drum pattern simple but make sure that you use high-quality and well mastered drum kits.
When you have the drums laid down, put a simple bassline melody that bond well with the drums. Play about with the different keynotes and see what sounds good.
You can then start adding other samples and sounds on top of that. If you’re a beginner, then it doesn’t have to be perfect yet. Just experiment and get used to the procedure.
2) Get Great Sound Kits & Samples
One of the most important parts of making rap beats (or any beat for that matter) is utilizing great sound kits and samples. If you plan on selling your beats, then you must make sure that there’s no copyright issues with the samples you use.
Make sure that you have a good library of sound kits and samples to use. You can easily find them free on the Internet by doing a Google search.
3) Import MIDI Files
If you don’t know a whole lot about music theory, like what notes and chords go well together, then a great way to combat this is to import MIDI files of different song into your DAW, and then it’ll bring up all the keynotes.
You’ll have a better idea of how they’re structured and also implement those melodies into your own beat. However, keep them short and catchy, because when you’re making rap beats, they generally don’t have long melodies.
4) Take Inspiration From Movies, TV Shows & Games
When you’re finding samples to use to fit the theme of your beat, you can find great ones from movies, TV shows and games in the form of quotes and music.
If you plan on selling your beats, you must be aware of copyright issues, but if you’re just showcasing your beats for non-commercial reasons then it’ll be fine.
5) Don’t Overcomplicate The Beat
Be careful not to fall into the trap of laying too many samples and different melodies on your beat. You must allow room for the vocals to come on top without being overpowered by the rest of the track.
Space out your drums, lay down a simple bassline, add some short subtle melodies and resist the urge to filling every bar with a sound. The rapper will make up the rest of the space.
6) Lay Down An Acapella
If you want to see how a rapper would sound on one of your beats, then you can remix a song by importing an acapella (vocals without instrumental) over your beat, or create a beat around an acapella.
This sometimes isn’t easy because you’d need to find the tempo of the track in which the acapella was originally on (which can usually be found online), but the hard part is matching all the elements of your beat to the acapella.
If the acapella has any singing on it, you’d need to find the right chords to go with it, but rapping is easier as those vocals can go over almost anything as long as the drum pattern fits.
7) Emphasize The Rapper’s Lyrics
When you’ve finalized your rap beat, and you’re laying down vocals on it (whether by using an acapella or working live with someone), you can make parts of the song stand out by emphasizing the rapper’s lyrics.
You do this by dropping out sections of the track where you want to grab the listeners attention. For example, if you want to emphasize the lyrics, “and let the hook drop!”, then you could remove the all the drums within that section where the lyrics are contained.
8) Watch Tutorials
One of the best ways to learn how to make rap beats is by watching how others do it either online or in person. The tutorial may be in a DAW that you’re not familiar with but at least you can see how a rap beat is structured and how everything comes together.
It’s a good idea to bookmark or download these tutorials so you can easily come back to it whenever you need to use them as reference.
9) Listen To Instrumentals
Download rap instrumentals only without any vocals. That way you can easily listen to all the different elements that make up a rap beat. You should invest in a decent pair of monitor speakers or studio headphones if you really want to scope in on all the details.
Take note of certain things such as how many bars in each verse and chorus, what sounds are brought to the forefront and which ones are kept in the background, and how the intro and outro is presented.
10) Master The Track
Mastering can be covered in an entirely different and vast section because it takes good listening skills and knowledge of audio. It involves techniques like equalization (EQ), compression, limiting and noise reduction. It’s also vital that you get yourself a pair of studio monitor headphones to hear all of those subtle details of a track.
To make your rap beats sound much better, then you should learn the basics of mastering, which you’ll notice a massive difference when a track is mastered to sound flawless.
I also recommend you to check out The Ultimate Guide On How To Make Rap 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: