What Instruments Are Used In Rap Beats

What Instruments Are Used In Rap Beats

Rap music, or Hip-Hop, is a genre of music that might have developed in Bronx, New York, but has expanded the world over. While rap artists derive inspiration from many sources, including personal life experiences, the instruments used to create rap music traditionally remain the same. 

Rap beats are created through instruments such as drum machines, the keyboard, pianos, turntables, and samplers. Although technology is not an instrument per se, it plays a vital role in producing today’s hip hop music. 

This post takes a more in-depth look at how these professional rap beats for sale are used in producing this popular genre of music. 

Drum Machines    

Drums are the most frequently used instrument in the production of rap beats. It would not be incorrect to say that it would be challenging to produce rap music without a standard drum kit or some drum beat. 

There are predominantly two types of drum beats:

-Synthetic, the “fake” kind

-Acoustic, the more “real” kind.

In the current music scene, synthetic drums dominate the sounds heard in hip hop and most pop music and dance music. 

Two of the most common drums, part of almost every Digital Audio Workstation, would be the Roland TR-808 and the Roland TR-909. While the former was one of the first rhythm composers to permit programming rhythms instead of using presets only, the latter was the first drum machine produced by Roland to use sound samples, and MIDI.

Acoustic drums are not as conventional in Hip Hop music production, but some niche artists such as Questlove still use them.

Turntables

Any music producer worth his salt will tell you how vital a turntable is in producing rap beats. Turntables assist in the manipulation of sound to create various perspectives of music from the same material. The turntable is the only instrument that can produce the familiar “scratching” sound that is part of almost every other piece of music today.    

In many ways, the turntable brought about a revolution in music, long before hip hop and rap became the popular genre that it is today. However, there is no doubt that the turntable played a significant role in popularising hip hop as disc jockeys began to realise how sounds could be manipulated to add more beats and create additional layers of music over one existing sound. 

Keyboard/Piano

Remember Eminem’s iconic song, “The Way I am”? It used a clean piano sound along with other instruments to create the song’s beat. Even before Eminem, the piano has been part of many other rap music producer’s arsenals, including from as far back in the day as Slick Rick’s “Children Story” (1988) to the 1994 hit “The World is Yours” by Nas.  

With the usage of a Sampler, piano and keyboard sounds can be looped and arranged to create a steady beat to which words can be rapped. 

Technology/Computers

Again, while this isn’t technically an instrument, computer software has changed the game in rap music productions. Softwares such as Ableton Live or Apple’s Logic Pro X allow beats to be mixed and matched, to produce unique tracks. The software can also help replace traditional instruments through their ability to manipulate sounds. 

While all it takes today, to produce a rap beat is an ear for music and some useful software, there’s nothing wrong in using traditional instruments to produce a beat. After all, as beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, appreciation of music lies in the ear.               

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