Rap Beat Maker: What’s the Best Way to Produce Your First Rap Beat?
Rap beats have evolved immensely ever since rap beat makers started crafting unique sounds with drum machines and turntables in the late 80s and early 90s.
Today, there’s so many types of rap and styles of beat making it can be difficult to know how exactly to approach the genre and get the beat you want to put rhymes over.
Whether you’re a producer looking for the right tools or a rapper looking for a beat to match your latest verse, I’ll show you how easy it is to get a fire rap beat of your own.
What is a rap beat maker?
Rap beat makers are producers who focus on making backing tracks for rappers to rhyme over. A rap beat maker will take care of the conception, composition, arrangement and production of a rap beat.
Of course, rap beat makers use all kinds of tools to make beats including software like DAWs and plugins, hardware like controllers and synths or studio gear like headphones and monitors.
The good news is that if you want to be a rap beat maker yourself, the tools you need are relatively inexpensive.
To get started with rap beat making you really don’t need much more than a computer, a controller and a DAW.
But if making your own beats isn’t part of the plan, here’s another way to get the perfect beat for your rap verse.
Hire a rap beat maker
Maybe you don’t have time, or you’re not interested in making your own rap beat.
That’s totally okay! There’s so many amazing producers out there who are ready and capable of working with you to create a fully produced custom track for your verse.
Finding producers for hire is much easier than you might think with the advent of producer marketplaces.
For example, anyone can head over to LANDR Network right now and connect with dozens of experienced producers who’ve worked with big names and know what they’re doing.
Working with an experienced rap beat maker is a tried and true way to get a pro-sounding beat.
Even just the benefit of adding an established name to your track credits could help gain extra exposure on your track.
It’s a totally viable option that’s more affordable than you think!
5 rap beat maker tools to start your first beat
But, if you’re thinking about becoming a rap beat maker, here’s a few beat making tools you’ll need to get started.
1. A digital audio workstation
The digital audio workstation or DAW is the main software tool where most music is made these days. Guaranteed your favorite producer uses one.
There’s many DAWs out there to choose from.
Some DAWs are free but come with limited functionality. But the best DAWs come with a price tag and offer a range of extra software instruments, plugins, MIDI editing features and more.
The coolest thing about DAWs is that they work with plugins that extend the features of whatever DAW you’re working in.
Again, there’s tons of free plugins out there that’ll advance your DAWs capabilities—especially if you’re using a free one.
But, the best plugins like Auto-Tune Access and premium synths like Lethal come at a fair price, especially given how good they sound compared to the free ones.
2. Creator and LANDR Samples
So much about beat making today relies on sampling.
The catch is that you need to use royalty-free samples that you have the right to use—or else you risk getting taken down or worse legal action.
That’s why royalty-free sample marketplaces like LANDR Samples are so popular among beatmakers—they make it super easy to find great material and sounds to sample without worry.
LANDR Samples makes picking out and curating samples ridiculously easy with its intuitive beat making tool Creator.
With Creator you can hear how up to eight loops sound together—just add them to Creator and it will pitch shift and time stretch the samples into your desired key and tempo.
Creator does all the work for you, so all you have to do is decide what samples sound good together and match your vibe.
Plus, Creator makes it super simple to send the beat to TikTok to use however you want—if that’s your thing.
If you want an easy way to start making beats, try it out. I literally haven’t seen an easier way to start making a beat.
3. A MIDI controller
MIDI controllers are the best way to turn your DAW into an instrument.
That’s because a good MIDI controller will give you a keyboard, finger drum pads and knobs to help you control instruments, effects and mix parameters on your computer.
Without MIDI controllers your DAW might just feel like another computer program—an inexpensive MIDI controller is really all you need to bring your DAW to life.
If you’re not sure what MIDI controller to get, we’ve written about the best MIDI controllers before.
But, my quick recommendation is either the Novation Launchkey Mini or the MPK Mini.
4. Headphones or monitors
You need good headphones or monitors to make good music.
A good audio monitoring system will help you hear where your mix is lacking and will help you hear everything that’s going on in your beat.
You don’t want to use consumer audio gear like earbuds, Beats headphones or computer monitors.
These types of headphones are designed to make changes to the audio output (especially in the low end) that’ll cause you to make bad mix decisions.
If you’re not sure what audio production monitors or headphones to get, we’ve discussed which ones are best for beat making.
5. A little bit of know how
If you’re going to make music, it definitely doesn’t hurt to brush up on your music theory.
Understanding the basics of rhythm, chords, scales, keys and song structure will help you make better music.
You don’t need to be an expert—making music is a journey and your knowledge only needs to grow so fast.
You’ll learn more and more by doing and learning over time—but, if you find yourself stuck, not knowing how to make things work or sound interesting it never hurts to learn a new theory concept.
I recommend checking out music theory videos on YouTube and subscribing to LANDR’s newsletter for weekly theory lessons and ideas.
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Get that beat made
No matter how you get your custom beat, there’s nothing more satisfying than laying down a verse over a tasty beat.
Now that you know exactly how to get your first rap beat, get in the studio and finish your track!
Alex Lavoie works as a staff writer at LANDR by day and writes indie post-punk tunes in his band UTILS while moonlighting as drummer for folk-rock outfit The Painters.
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