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Rap Instruments In Hip Hop Music

July 01, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 1303

Hip-hop music uses samplers, sequencers, drum machines, synthesizers, turntables, and instrumentation. As technology improved toward the end of the 90's it grew from poverty struck ghettos. It came from places where people usually can't afford to buy instruments and music making seemed to be out of the question. Music still seemed to make it out of these places and the phonograph later to be known as the turntable came to be an instrument. Later on digital sampling was used.

In the 1980's the digital sampler was first used. Techno began to submerge. Synthetic sounds were preferred over samples but samples where still used.

From the 1990's to present it began to use tons of samples per song along side with the use of the drum machine. Beats were structured, minimal and repetitive. Beat machines began to appear and combined the features of a sampling drum machine with a MIDI sequencer. This became the instrument of choice of many hip-hop producers.

Drum Beat

The Drumbeat is the backbone element of hip-hop music. Some drum beats can be sampled others made by a drum machine and some are a combination of both. Drum kits are also used.


Sampling uses a particular recording and personalized to the artists' preference. It is one of the most important elements in genre. When sampling you are copying sections of other songs and rearranging these to the your personal liking. This makes a pattern or a loop. Sampling is now widely used.


A producer's studio is the place where their music is made. It ranges from a four-track sequencer, a collection of recordings to a high-end studio with sound processing hardware.


Synthesizers are used to create melody, bass lines, percussion, and sound synthesis. Synthesizers are very common in hip-hop music. Because of budget, and studio size limitations, virtual instruments are replacing hardware synthesizers. Virtual instruments are being used more and more in high budget studios.


The multi track recorder became the standard for recording. Four track cassette recorders became the more common in home recording studios in the 1980's. Digital ADAT tape recorders where popular in the 1990's but are now replaced by digital audio workstations. DAW's give more editing capabilities, unlimited track capabilities and built in effects. Large commercial studios are not necessary to produce music now.

Vocal Recording

Condenser microphones are the preference for recording vocals because of their wide-response range and high quality. Alternatives to these are the less expensive dynamic microphones that are more durable and used in live performances. Condenser microphones are fragile, expensive, and require phantom power. Dynamic microphones can't pick up the wide range of a condenser and they do not respond uniformly. Even with all the high-end studios with high-end equipment many hip-hop songs were recorded with the most basic equipment.

Digital Audio Workstations

DAW's and software sequencers are popular in hip-hop production. These computer programs make it easier to expand your studio with out using physical room and because of this the costs of a studio a drastically lower.

Live instrumentation

Live instrumentation was not used a lot in hip-hop but still used in a variety of performances. Live hip hop bands pioneered though throughout the 80's, 90's and in 2000's. These bands experimented with the genre and improvisational acts as well.


Instrumental hip-hop has no vocals. The general elements in hip-hop music are an instrumental track and a vocal track also known as "the rap". The artist that creates the beat is known as the producer, the person that creates the rap is the MC.

Instrumental hip-hop doesn't have an MC. The producer has the availability of making more complicated, detailed, and more variety in the instrumentals. Instrumental hip-hop tends to diversify its direction without the focus of an MC.

Instrumental hip hop has not been recognized as a genre and is often cataloged in trip hop, break beat hardcore, drum n bass, old school jungle, down tempo, electronica, or industrial music. Because there is no MC the instrumentals can take off into many directions. Instrumental hip-hop is released in very small labels because up of sample clearances from copyright law ownership causes problems for any label.

I hope this advice helps you. Check out DubTurbo. Its a DAW compatible with Mac and PC. Good for beginners and the seasoned professional to make there own beats.

Source: EzineArticles
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Hip Hop Instruments

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