The sound of rap music is unique. It is influenced by many different sounds, including early breakbeats that were popular in the golden age of New York rap music. DJ Premier and Marley Marl are two artists who heavily influenced early boom bap and hip hop beats. Today, producers can use software to create and license rap beats.
Hip hop beats are often recognizable by their heavy upbeat and common 4 beat timing. They can be used for rapping or as a background for other types of music. The typical instruments used to create these beats are big bass and electronic drums. Rap beats can be a great accompaniment for songs or videos.
Rap beats can be original compositions or samples of other songs. A majority of these beats are written in a 4/4 time signature, with a small proportion being in a 3/4 or 6/8 time signature. Some examples of 4/4 rap beats are Kanye West’s “Spaceship.” Some rap beats have drums in a straight time or shuffle/swing pattern.
The genres of rap beats are incredibly diverse. The ’80s’ were dominated by rock-rap anthems by Rick Rubin and Swizz Beatz, while the ’90s saw the rise of soul beats by Just Blaze and Lex Luger. Lo-fi hip hop is the most popular type of instrumental hip hop right now. The genre blew up after being discovered on YouTube streaming playlists.
Some rap beats have a darker side. Mumble rap is another subgenre, characterized by booming 808 bass and incredibly fast hi-hats. Today’s modern technology has made rap beats easier to produce. Some rappers also use words that are unintelligible.
Crank rap was an evolution of hip hop. It emerged in Florida and parts of the southwest and was the precursor to trap music. The sound of crunk rap beats was distinct from other forms of rap. It featured ad lib rappers, including Lil’ Jon. These raps often featured messages like “represent your shit, motherf**ker” and “bounce your ass to the beat”.
Drill is another type of beat that primarily originated in Chicago around 2011. It was made popular by Chief Keef with his song “I Don’t Like.” Drill sounds almost identical to trap, despite being more structured than trap. It features a rattling hi-hat and a slow boom, but differs in attitude and emphasis. Drill is usually based on topics such as gang violence and gun violence.