Imagine producing original hip hop instrumental beats that sound as good as or better than sampled beats or beats made in a professional studio. You can make beats with a computer and a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) that sound like they were mixed and mastered in a studio.
Digital beat making evolved from former methods of making beats, in the 70s unique and interesting sounds were created by “scratching” vinyl records (Lps), using two turntables songs were faded and mixed. However, later “sampling” became popular; small clips of other copyrighted songs were mixed in with instrumentals to create a semi-original beat.
A “clip” of a song could be sampled or copied without infringing on the original artist copyright until the laws changed. The use of other artist song clips or digitally sampling copyrighted music lost its punch after the 2004 U.S. Court of Appeals ruling of Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. Dimension Films, 410 F.3d 792 (6th Cir. 2005), thus producing beats from scratch was born.
Producing digital music using sequencers, MIDI keyboards, drum machines and computer software programs replaced the former methods. Today, making hip hop beats is easy. Advanced technology has opened doors for anyone to be creative, feature rich music software can produce digital music comparable to instrumentals and beats created in a professional studio.
One of the most advanced and powerful DAWs, music making software, available today is FL Studio 9, you can download and try the demo. There are many other beat making software programs available, freeware programs, online music programs and budget friendly programs which makes beat making accessible to anyone interested in learning how to create hip hop instrumental beats.
Basics of Hip Hop Instrumental Beats
Although, not set in stone a basic arrangement consist of an Intro with 2-4 bars, a Verse with 16 bars, it may include a 20 bar Bridge and of course the hook which is usually a total of 8 bars. This varies greatly based on individual taste and creativity.
A common set up may have the kick drums, snare and hi-hats on a single track. The bass guitar, lead guitar and keys on individual tracks. Instrumental beats may include horns, piano, claps, cow bells or any of the many sounds available in digital music programs. After choosing the instruments and laying down the tracks each track can be tweaked with individual setting. Effects such as echo, delay and reverb may be added. Panning and volume levels as well as EQ can be fine tuned.
Hip Hop instrumental beats always have a hook that carries the rest of the beat; however there are no golden rules when you make beats. Be creative and original, avoid using samples of other artist copyrighted music.