*** ill o.g. ***
I often hear various terms when it comes to beatmaking. "Boom Bap", "Trap", "Underground", and many more are what a lot of beatmakers refer to when describing what style of beats they produce. As far as I'm concerned, none of those exist.
It's Not About a Style of Hip Hop Beats
One of the most common types of styles today is Trap. I honestly still don't really know what Trap is supposed to be or how it's put together, but it's what's hot at the moment. I understand that a lot of beatmakers and producers today are aiming to create a certain style of music, but I think that's one of the worst things you can do in the music industry. Whether it's Trap or Boom Bap, dope is dope, and wack is wack, period.
When I look back at Hip Hop from the 80s and 90s, there were plenty of styles of beats. Fresh Prince had the funny songs with lighthearted beats, and Public Enemy came with their political raps and hard-as-fuck beats. Even though they had different styles of music, they did what was fitting for them and didn't just do a particular style because it was hot. In fact, Fresh Prince and Public Enemy led the way in their respective styles.
There were some artists that tried to switch things up and come out with a much harder persona because they wanted more notoriety and sales, but it backfired. Everyone remembers MC Hammer with his big sparkly pants, but how many remember Hammer a few years later dressed all in black with black Timbs, a black skully, and hard beats? That didn't last long.
For beatmaking, the same thing applies. True, in the golden age of Hip Hop in the 90s, there were many artists that sounded the same, but I don't think that necessarily applies because Hip Hop was at its peak and pretty much everything that came out was dope. But with beats today, I think a lot of beatmakers have gone completely off track and instead of focusing on being creative, they're too caught up in working a certain style of beats.
I don't know what style of beats I make, and I don't care. I just make beats, and you should too. I've heard the terms "Boom Bap", or "Horrorcore" (which is really dumb), but none of that is even on my radar. There have been many times when I was feeling aggressive so I wanted to make hard-hitting beats but after the dust settled, my beat was like smooth sailing over the calm seas. Don't ask me how I went from aggressive to mellow, but it just happens.
It's because I just make beats.
What You Do Can Affect Your Beat Sales
Some of you sell beats, or make beats for artists that you're working with. Either one of those can be greatly affected if you're making beats based on style alone.
Let's say for example that you make Trap beats (or whatever style). It's what's hot and you like making those types of beats. But is that really the type of beat that you want to do?
I see three scenarios here:
- Trap beats are not really inside you.
- You're making Trap beats because you think that's what you need to do.
- You're making Trap beats and you're good at it, but it's the influence of what you hear everyone else doing that is pushing you towards making Trap.
When you sit down to make beats, do you just let whatever creative juices you have just flow, or are you specifically trying to make a certain style?
If you're trying to make a certain style, then why?
Again, if it works for you then great, but on the other hand, why would you want to sound like everyone else? What a lot of beatmakers need to remember is that making beats and producing music is all about being creative. So if it's all about creativity, why would make something that everyone else is making?
Boom Bap, Trap, Boom Trap, Trap Bap
There is absolutely nothing wrong with making beats that have a particular sound, however, it should be unintentional. Like the example I gave earlier, no matter how many times I try to make an aggressive beat, it never comes out that way. It's just not in me.
But here's the thing - I could definitely make aggressive beats if I really wanted to - for example, if aggressive beats were hot right now. Ring a bell?
My point is that if I really wanted to, I could make whatever style of music. But I don't. Making beats to me is like a painter with a blank canvas. Do you think painters try to paint something that looks exactly like Picasso? Or do you think MMA fighters train to become exactly like another fighter? Nope. In fact, MMA fighters train to their natural strengths.
You can make whatever beats you want, but I always find that the best producers and beatmakers are the ones that do what comes naturally and focus on just making beats.
What do you think?
Further Reading Related to Making Beats
- 5 lessons I've learned from making beats - part 1 and part 2
- These are the reasons why you suck at making beats
- Why producers should demand respect