Welcome to BeatZone, a knowledgebase for all things hip-hop beat production.
From navigating your digital audio workstation to applying different effects to your sounds and the finals steps of exporting, publishing and promoting your instrumental, BeatZone has all the bases covered for the entire process of getting started as a hip-hop producer! Some of the main elements of hip-hop production that we'll cover are
- Arrangement - the sounds you'll be using and how to lay them out
- Recording - key techniques of recording vocals for hip-hop
- Exporting - mastering and processing your beat to a file
- Promotion - post-creation steps to profit from your instrumentals
By the end of this page, you’ll know nearly everything you need to get started making your own rap beats!
Getting a DAW
Before you can get started with anything, you'll need a digital audio workstation (DAW). There are tons of different DAW softwares, but we'll be using Image-Line's FL Studio since it's one of the sleekest, most intuitive DAW's, and since it also offers a free trial.
Unless you’re a real pro and you’ve already got your own loops, the first thing you’ll need to do to make a beat after downloading and launching your DAW is to find some sounds. There are tons of places to find samples and loops, but two of the best are Splice and SOUNDS
Once you've got your sounds ready, just drag the files onto the playlist on FL Studio. Now you can adjust the BPM of your track to match the BPM of the sounds you're using and start deciding where you want the intro, hooks, verses and outro of your song to be.
Before you can start recording, you'll need two essential pieces of eqipment: a condenser microphone and an audio interface. A good, inexpensive microphone that we recommend is the MXL 770 condenser mic, as pictured below. Your interface is used to supply power to your microphone from your system - we recommend any interface from the Scarlette lineup by Focusrite.
Once you've got your microphone and interface, there are just four things you've got to do to get recording:
Connect your equipment
Plug your microphone into your interface with an XLR cable and plug your interface into the system you're running your DAW on.
Turn on phantom power
Press the button to activate the the 48V supply power supply on your interface.
Record the vocals
Get your artist on the mic and record their vocals in your DAW or preferred recording software.
Import your audio
Load the audio file from your recording into your DAW and get creative!
Still Need Help?
For a more detailed explaination on 48V phantom power, setting up and connecting your microphone and interface, and other general information about how to record audio, click the button below for a very helpful article on how to get started reording by MXL.Look no further
When exporting your beat you can adjust:
Choose to render the whole Song or the currently selected Pattern. In 'Song' mode, the length of your rendered song rendered is set by this hierarchy: 1. Any time-line selection, 2. The last time-marker beyond the last bar containing data. 3. The end of the last bar containing data AND 4. The Tail setting.
Decide what file type you want to export your project to. The most common and ideal format for rendering instrumentals is the Waveform Audio Format (WAV). However, if you need to adjust particular settings for your project like compression level or bitrate rather than bitdepth, you should export to an MP3, OGG, or FLAC.
Decides how decaying effects, after the end-point of the song, will be handled. For example, normally you don't want the decaying reverb chopped off at the end of the song (leave remainder) or, if you are creating loops blending the end reverb back into the start can make the loop smoother (wrap remainder).
Bit-depth affects the noise-floor of the sample. This determines the quietest sound that can be captured or smallest changes in loudness that can be resolved. Generally 16 Bits is enough for music distribution. Use 24 or 32 Bit for archiving music production files.
Stereo - Two channels for the Left and Right speakers.
Mono (merged) - One channel where the left and right channels are merged into a single channel.
Mono (left only) - One channel where the left channel data is saved as a Mono file.
Mono (right only) - One channel where the right channel data is saved as a Mono file.
Select the waveform interpolation method used for Sampler/Audio-Clip channels. Interpolation is a curve fitting process that computes intermediate sample amplitude data between the known sample points (filling in the gaps). This is required when samples are transposed from their original pitch or sample-rate and the program calls for a sample value out of sync with the source data-points.
Time for all your hardwork to pay off - literally. Hip-hop production is a lot more lucrative than you may have thought, in fact! Below are some of the different ways to get paid for your beats, along with how much cash you're usually looking at with each one:
That's the whopping number of his own mixtapes that Metro has released.
is what rap producer Metro Boomin makes on average for advances, according to Forbes.
dollars is about what he makes on average for performing live shows.
percent streaming royalties is normal for most producers.
Don't forget to stream!
Streaming services are another great way to get your beats out there, and you can even get a monthly check doing it. Just go through one of the many easy-to-use services like CD Baby or DistroKid to publish your music and get it on streaming platforms for you.
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Congratulations on finishing our lesson! You're ready to start making beats on your own. Thanks for learning with BeatZone!