Attention Hip Hop Producers: Just Make Music!

  1. Fade

    Fade

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    When creating music, usually us hip hop producers / beatmakers tend to find our own style, then eventually we get accustomed to doing things a certain way. For example, it's common to see producers say that they start a track with a melody first, then they add drums, then they'll find a sample to loop over everything, etc. From my experience, it's okay to do that but you must also "think outside the box".

    Hip Hop Music Today Is Too Clean

    One of the biggest mistakes that is made today is that everything is over-produced. What does that mean? It means that everything is done to perfection and the producer tries to make every song THE song. Do you really have to put drum rolls everywhere? Do you really need that extra string track that you panned left? Most likely, no. Some of you may disagree, but I'm a firm believer that things are best kept simple. On the other hand, there's a production group that sort of did the opposite of what I'm recommending, and yet they became one of the greatest teams ever assembled: The Bomb Squad.

    The Bomb Squad is a hip hop production group that first appeared around 1986, and consists of members Hank Shocklee, Keith Shocklee, Chuck D, Eric Sadler, and G-Wiz. Most of their work was with Public Enemy starting from when they released their first LP, "Yo! Bum Rush The Show", but they also worked on many other projects with artists such as Ice Cube, Leaders Of The New School, 3rd Bass, Run-DMC, to name a few.

    Why were they so successful in using so many sounds and mashing them together? Because they used what they were comfortable with, but above all else, they just made music!

    Known for using dozens of samples in one song, their production style was something no one had ever heard before, and seeing how most of their work was on the Public Enemy albums, their music matched the style of PE's hard, politically-driven songs. Sampling songs such as Instant Funk's "I Got My Mind Made Up":



    Then using it in "Welcome to the Terrordome":



    Usually their sampling was very intricate in that they would take the smallest piece of a song and piece it together with other small samples, to make their own melody. But there were also times where they would take a sample and just loop it, such as The JB's "The Grunt":



    One of PE's biggest hits was "Fight The Power":



    Which The Bomb Squad took James Brown's "Hot Pants" and used it as their underlying groove:



    Making music should be just that - MAKING MUSIC. Don't worry about little mistakes, or if your sample has hiss, or if your track would sound better with a guitar in the background. When a painter paints, they just paint whatever comes out of them, whatever inspires them. The same thing should apply to making music. I hope you listen to some of the Bomb Squad's production and try making changes to your own music and see what happens. Good luck!

    Further Reading Related to Beat Making
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2016
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  3. DJ Excellence

    DJ Excellence

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    Dope article Fade ! I completely agree (esp since I'm stuck in the 90's production wise)
     
  4. Gene Flo

    Gene Flo

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    this just inspired me as I am getting too picky and too critical on myself with my work. Look out for the loose end
     
  5. Elgen

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    I have to agree with this.. somewhat.

    I make whatever music I want, some people may not consider a lot of my beats 'hip hop' but I do and I happen to love making them, but at the same time, I DO spend that little extra time on making sure that the track i'm working on has everything it needs, even if it didn't come out in that first creative burst.
     
  6. Translimits

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    This article is very interesting. Being able to use the 90's techniques and then adding a twist with your own style to it. Genius! That is hiphop. It doesn't hurt to to fix unwanted frequencies/hisses, then again the record sound hiss has a very interesting and pleasing hiss of it's own. Something about playing records gives that oldies feel. But I must say, great discoveries are made by accident! Make that music and try not to think about making money. Who knows, you might come out with a completely new branch of hip hop. Holler!