How to Create a Hip-Hop Beat

Hip Hop is a fantastic way to express yourself and create your music. However, before you start, some learning is needed. First step: making beats. Here is a guide that will teach you the basics:

The “Beat” is basically the song, minus the vocals. A basic beat is 8 bars, repeated over and over again.

The core of every hip hop song is the drum groove Use audio loops or MIDI drum patterns to create your beat. Most sequencers have audio loop samples which can be edited further. You can stretch them, compress them, add effects, whatever you need to make your track sound cool. MIDI presents more complicated work, as each drum sample is edited separately. However, it enables you to do a better job., How about recording hand claps or finger snaps and combining them into your beat? Audio loops and MIDI drum patterns can be combined in one beat. Sounds intimidating? Search for royalty-free loop samples CDs on the net. Producers use these themselves, don’t feel shy about it. Choose what’s best for you, just remember that the drum beat should be powerful enough to deliver the whole song.


Now let’s add a bassline. The deep, low bass will compliment the groove you’ve created. Sort through samples from MIDI or audio loops and choose the best option. The bassline has to be repeatable and simple.

Orchestration, next on this list, is my favorite step. Musical elements, like string chords and synth pads, are added into your beat. How to pinpoint the right orchestration? Try different moods for your song. A smoky jazz room? A cold rainy night? A club? Decide which instruments will be best to deliver this atmosphere, and combine them into the music. Don’t overload your basic beat with orchestration, like I said, the drums are always the core. Orchestration is just décor.

Finally, you should add dubs and snips: these are the bits from different musical pieces you often hear in Hip-Hop songs. Dubs and snips are very common in Hip-Hop songs and really add a lot of character. The downside of dubs is paying royalties, in case you use another artist’s work. For those of you who wish to avoid spending money, there are plenty of royalty free samples out there. You may also want to think about using your own material for this purpose. Don’t use unauthorized samples, you can and will be sued for it!

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These are the element of a simple Hip-Hop beat. This beat will underscore your song, so repeat it as many times as required. Of course, you don’t want to bore your audience, so you may want to add effects like reverb, delay or compression.

That’s It. Go and make your own beat!

Good Luck!

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by Alison Peters