So you want to make you're first real rap beat? congratulations, you've got a lot of work to do. This guide segments into different critical steps to follow for maximum success.
1. Get Music Production Software
One of the most important parts of making a rap song is having a solid computer program that will help you along. There are plenty to choose from, but I recommend you start with a simpler program like Frooty Loops and work your way up to more complex software like Pro Tools or Reaper.
Remember that picking the right software for you is a very important part of making rap beats, don't rush anything and make sure you pick the right option for you.
2. Start Experimenting
Everyone likes to start their rap beat in a different way. I prefer to always start with a piano and then start to add other instruments into the mix. Many famous producers start with the drums and percussion first, so start there.
Come up with a drum pattern that works for the song that you want to create. Most rap songs are between 100-140 beats per minute, so find a comfortable spot somewhere in there.
Now add a bass synth or bass guitar. There are two basic methods: the first is creating a chord progression with the bass and the second is having the bass play with the kick drum of the drum pattern. Once again, pick what works best for the beat.
3. Create A Chord Progression
I recommend that you add a piano, organ, trumpets, or some other instrument that fits in the middle of the sonic spectrum (in between low and high pitch sounds). This will hold down the song and provide "glue" for the mix.
There are a lot of music theory tutorials on YouTube you can watch or you can just use major and minor chords.
4. Create The Lead Melody
Another critical part of making a beat is to create a catchy melody. Don't go crazy, but make it stand out from the mix.
Generally the lead melody is a high-pitched synth sound that repeats over the chord progression. Spend lots of time on this step and try lots of different melodies until you find one that sticks in your head (you'll get the song keeps playing over in your head if it's good).
5. Finish The Beat
Now that you have one section of the song finished you have to add other sections like the introduction, verse, hook, and bridge. The verse should have less distracting instruments since you will be rapping over it. The hook (or chorus) is where the beat is the "biggest" and loudest. Finally, the bridge should have a similar feel to the verse but be slightly different.
Here's a popular song structure you can use: Intro | Verse 1 | Hook | Verse 2 | Hook | Bridge | Hook. You can make variations and customize it to your liking, but know that the above structure is tried and true.
6. Record Your Rap
You'll need three things to get a good recording of vocals: microphone, audio interface, and great lyrics. There are tons of different microphones, and odds are that you have a friend that you can borrow one from. The audio interface is what connects the microphone to your computer. You don't have to worry about the AI if you have a USB microphone, but the sound quality will be less than stellar.
The lyrics are the defining factor of your rap song. Good lyrics can make a song into a hit and bad lyrics can take a fantastic beat and make it unlistenable. Spend time finding the right words and rhythms for the song.
7. Mix and Master
The last step of the entire process focuses on getting the mix to sound good together. The goal for most mixers is to create a smooth mix that sounds solid but the listener can also pick out each sound (like the lead or piano).
Congratulations, you've got your first rap song! You can now repeat this process 5 times with your variations and you'll have a demo tape to give to promoters. You're well on your way to becoming a popular rapper.