Hip Hop Beats – The Beginners Guide to Producing Beats | By Sammy Jameson
It’s All About The Bass Line
Have you ever been in a club, all sweaty and hot, and heard that one track that makes everyone jump to their feet and run to the floor? Did you ever wonder exactly what was it that made it stand out? It’s all about the bass line.
Hip-hop songs are usually driven by the bass line. Slow and rhythmic, or fast and thumping, hip-hop beats can be created by starting with a good 4 bar bass line. Add a hand clap every half bar and you’re in business. Of course, you will want to throw in some hi-hat cymbal and a good melody created on your keyboard. If you want to get all fancy, you might consider an arrangement of horns and/or strings. Personally, I don’t like my beats all cluttered up with a bunch of meaningless propaganda.
Short and sweet is the way I program my beats, but I always start with the bass line. You can also overlay the bass track by using 2 or 3 tracks of the same bass sound to really create a thumping sound that will shake your speakers. This process is called overdubbing.
The 808 bass is the deepest most heart-pounding bass you can find and if you use it in your track, the honeys are sure to shake what their mama gave ’em. The hand clap or the finger snap is always a safe option when creating a hip-hop beat. Blend it in with the track, but don’t overdo it. Something like boom, boom ,boom, clap, and so on. You could also use variations of the bass line to fatten up the track.
After every 4 bars, you want to include a breakdown in the beat, where the beat goes in a slightly different direction.
I’m not really a rapper, but I like to flow a little bit on the track to make sure that the delivery matches the beat. That is what your clientele will be looking for: smooth, flow-able beats that they gotta have to flow on.
Next you want to create a hook, or chorus for the song. This part of your track can be similar to the breakdown or it can be altogether different from the rest of the beat. It’s entirely up to you.
The important thing to remember is that your track must be a cohesive unit. The beat can’t be jumping from one path to another recklessly, there has to be a pattern, and the more bass you add, the better.
When you create a hip-hop beat, keep flow-ability in mind. The track should not be so cluttered up that you can’t fit some tight ‘spit’ within the bars. Bust a few fresh lines to put the finishing touches on your new creation. If you find that you cannot flow with it, then the track is probably garbage.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Finally, the most important element in creating a hip-hop beat is practice, practice and mo’ practice. Jordan could never have shot a free throw (and made it, yo) with his eyes closed during a game if he had not practiced religiously, shooting 1,000 free throws a day. Kanye West brags often about how he locked himself in his basement making beats for 3 consecutive summers. That is some true dedication to his craft, and it has paid off big time! Now he has a continuous library of tracks to call on, when it’s time to sell a track.
Keep practicing and shooting for the moon and you will at least be among the stars.
To take your hip hop beats to the next level with our series of step-by-step beat making guides.
Sammy Jamz is an expert at all things Hip Hop. From producing hip hop beats, to MCing and rapping over them, to freestyling to writing lyrics. To download Sammy’s Free Blueprint to Making Hip Hop beats visit his website http://www.cuthiphopbeats.com/