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The Structures of the Hip Hop Beat

Rap and hip hop music has been around the for nearly 40 years now, everything started with travelling musicians who spoke poems to a playing melody. Plus it did sound that can match the hip hop music made today. Should you hear a rap beat with no vocals, which is called an instrumental, you can hear certain patterns playing repeatedly. These are called loops. So, a rap beat includes different loops, which each one is slightly different from each other. In a loop you will find the drums, the baseline, the melody and also the effects. - Ice Cube type Instrumental

Let's start with the drums. Here we possess the kick, the snare or clap as well as the hi-hat. Compare a house beat using a hip hop beat, and you will probably hear the difference. In dance music, like house and techno, a kick or snare hits on every beat, so the time distance between the drum sounds is always exactly the same. In hip hop, the sounds are slightly off the beat, which makes the beat sound relaxed and slower. The hi-hat completes the sound selection of the drums. We now have the kick around the low frequency, the snare around the middle and the hi-hat on the high one.

The beds base line shouldn't be too complicated in rap, it just fills the lower frequency, but it should sound good though. In my opinion, the sound-quality is more important than the melody itself, but everyone has his own style. Just make sure it hits on some of the same notes because the main melody.

Ok, now when it comes to the melody. Here, the sounding and the melody itself are equally important. Many producers focus on the melody prior to the drums. And there's a valid reason: the melody is the part people remember most when they heard the song. Make sure you have a middle frequency melodic sound plus a high frequency one. As with the drums, the bottom and melody should fill out the whole frequency range. Your beat will sound complete.

Finally, the effects. Many people underestimate the strength of good effects. Producers use their particular special sound effects to make their own their beats, and when you hear those, you understand exactly who it was. Timbaland, for example uses his background singing and Lil'John shouts "yeah!". It is not exactly a sound effect but meets the identical purpose.

I hope you now have a good overview of the framework of hip hop beats. It's easier to explain this by using an example when you can hear it. I recommend you viewing tutorials on YouTube and listening to some good hip hop instrumentals to fully understand this. And don't forget: simplicity is paramount. Don't overdo it and make your beats too complicated. - Ice Cube type Instrumental

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