Making a beat is easy. Anyone could pick up the basics in an hour or two. That’s the first secret here. There are a few other secrets I can drop your way, but let’s clear up this one first of all, because I can imagine this statement getting misunderstood and taken completely out of context.
Making a beat is easy but being a hip hop beat maker, well that’s tough as hell. Making beats that people want to hear, that makes you the first go to producer for a high quality rapper, that’s as tough as it gets. It’s all too easy to put together a track, but to make the ultimate new beat, that can take longer than learning the basics.
It’s pretty easy, right now, to pick up some software, complete a few tutorials and make a basic but serviceable beat, the kind of thing that somebody could rap to. But, it’s a whole other ball game, looking to make beats that people want to buy, over and over, each time you put out new beats.
It can take a while for people to learn that lesson, and it can be a tough lesson to learn. Until you’ve learned that lesson, you’re not a Hip Hop beat maker, in my opinion. Until you learn how to make a beat that can move a crowd, or get a rapper worked up about making that track their own, you’ve still got the training wheels on.
How you make the moves from novice to pro is up to you, but there’s some pretty fundamental things you’ll need to wrap your mind around, before you reach the destination of being able to call yourself a Hip Hop beat maker.
Understand your audience. Your audience is rappers, first and foremost. You need to make the kind of beats they want to hear. If they hear your beats, and you can tell they’re working out bars in their head, that’s the response that tells you you’re doing okay. Anything less than that is basic.
If you want a rapper all over your tracks, you have to make sure it sounds good. Mixing is pretty much a science, and if you don’t understand that science, everything could blow up in your face, instead of blowing up on mixtapes.
Fresh ideas keep the producer in business. Getting stale is not an option for anyone. You need to keep coming up with new ideas all the time. A truly great beat maker is a walking ideas machine. If a track isn’t working, leave it, move on to something new and don’t let it escape. Anything that sounds tired will do more harm than good, always
If people didn’t keep pushing Hip Hop forward, we’d all be bored as hell, and it’s your role to keep things interesting. Having your own style is essential. Pay attention to the rest, but don’t hang your work on the same peg. Offer rappers something new, and you’ll have the secrets every other Hip Hop beat maker wants.