The Rise of Trap Music

Music is often a reflection of life and the complex journey it takes us on. With every decade or so, we get a new subgenre of popular music that embodies the world of one or multiple cultures. Popular in American clubs is defined by its portrayal of gangland culture, as well as its grim atmosphere for mixing and mastering. Often considered the heavier, dark side of hip-hop.

 

Origins

Originating in the early 1990s, Trap music came out of the inner city environment of southern United States, particularly in Atlanta, Georgia. Rappers such as Three 6 Mafia and Waka Flocka Flame are often seen as the pioneers of the subgenre. In classic hip-hop style, Trap music is a unique collage of various musical elements. It is a child of both hip-hop and dance music, creating a new sound for both the party and concert scene. It has been criticized, much like other subgenres of hip-hop, for exploiting violence, sex and narcotics. However, the genre itself was meant to be a cathartic emotional expression of the troubles that the inner city brings, particularly in Atlanta Georgia. The hard-edge mixing and mastering only enhanced the cathartic message of the lyrics.

 

New Millennium

By the early 2000s, Trap music was at its prime with new artists such as Yo Gotti, Rick Ross, and T.I., as well as producers such as DJ Toomp and Shawty Redd, who orchestrated a new rhythm from both the Rappers’ hard lyrics and the MCs’ Mixing and mastering.

 

Today

Trap music continues to evolve, with new subgenres such as EDM (Electronic Dance Music) Trap becoming popular in the club and party scene. Certain rappers and singers outside the genre have incorporated Trap’s style, into their acts, such as Katy Perry and Beyoncé. With Trap music already being an evolution of early hip-hop, it is exciting to see what comes out of Trap music itself.

 

Sources:

http://runthetrap.com/what-is-trap-music/

http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/trap-rap-edm-flosstradamus-uz-jeffrees-lex-luger/Content?oid=7975249

https://djmag.com/content/trap-music-under-lock-key

http://www.hotnewhiphop.com/t-i-speaks-on-trap-music-genre-says-he-created-it-news.3805.html

 

Essential Keys to Mixing Vocals

Sound mixing is both a precise and complicated process that often goes over looked. It is more than just making volume adjustments; it is the polishing of a song’s vocal portion(s). Sound mixing is the process of taking all of the elements of a track (i.e. bass, drums, etc.) and adjusting them so that they are each at their proper quality and position in the song. Naturally, Mixing vocals is the process of adjusting the audio from the singers/rappers to the ideal condition. The mixer adjusts the aspects of the recorded vocals in order to make sure it is both in its proper quality and position in stereo. This can include anything from erasing sound blemishes to changing the volume to its proper position. Mixing is a complex process with many hidden tips and tricks. To help you get an edge over your vocal mix, here are a few essential keys for mixing vocals.

 

Essential Technicalities

It is easy to get caught up in the natural feel of a mix that we forget that we have to establish the structure of the tracks before anything else. We have to first organize the tracks. To get the most accurate sounds, you have to the speakers and headphones that are properly accustomed to your mixing station. Make sure each vocal track is placed in an identifiable bin and name. If there were any bad tracks be sure to separate them but not delete them. You never know where you’ll find a unique sound for your track that the singer did not expect.

 

Foundations of Creative Flow

Once we have the structure of the song ready, now is the time to step back and actually judge it artistically. We balance the song as we judge the proper levels. One way to start the balance is though having an instrumental as a background reference. Even though this does not have to be the final beat, it is a good idea to have some kind of foundation for the balance between your singer and instrumentals. From there just be sure to make sure that your reverb, compression, and equalizing is on balance with how you aesthetically want to hear it. Sometimes we can get so into it that we have to take a break and come back to the mix later in order to hear the whole mix with fresh ears.

 

Sources:

http://modernmixing.com/blog/2013/08/31/13-steps-take-mixing-vocals/

http://modernmixing.com/blog/2014/05/15/how-to-balance-a-hip-hop-song/

https://www.productlondon.com/audio-mixing/how-to-prepare-your-track-for-audio-mixing/

 

Why Hip-hop beats are important for artists

When aspiring Hip-hop artists are practicing their music, they think that the most important thing to work on is their lyrics. How hard and fast can they rap on a dime? But what really sets great artists apart is how well they work with the instrumentals. Hip-hop beats allow for the rhythm to give structure to the lyrics, so that the listener can ride easily with the story the Rapper is unfolding. Here are a few ways that the instrumental beats greatly affect the final song.

 

Out of the two elements of hip-hop music, the lyrics (rap) are certainly the most noticeable. But the instrumentals (beats) are what give the lyrics their place of being. Hip-hop is practically founded by the idea of taking a mix of existing things and putting them together to make something new. This is not only the case with the subject of the lyrics, but also with how the lyrics blend with the instrumentals.

 

Notice how lyrics in Hip-hop flow wildly back and fourth the while the instrumentals are often repetitive and relaxed. For an example of this technique, take a look at our music videos from Cypher. This is a necessary technique for most songs since you don’t want the instrumentals to overshadow the creative impulses of the rapper. Rappers have been known to freestyle, so they have to trust that the MC will not pull a fast one on them and keep the beat flowing as expected.

 

Now that does make the Rapper seem more impressive than the MC, but imagine for a second what it would feel like without the Beat. It would sound kind of weird, right? Occasionally this can work, but generally the rapper needs the instrumental beat as much as the MC needs the lyrics. Even rappers that often imitate the beat on their own point to the fact that a beat is necessary for the song to have its full effect.

 

Now it might be easy to assume that one can create a generic Hip-hop beat and just use it for any song. But that couldn’t be further form the truth. If you look at our catalog of instrumentals, you’ll find that each beat is a completely unique song. Every song a rapper writes requires a different beat from the last, so the style of the lyrics needs to match the beat. Yes a Hip-hop beat is not too complicated, but it never boring either.

 

Sources: https://importanceoftechnology.net/the-role-of-technology-in-making-hip-hop-beats/

 

http://www.articleseen.com/Article_makehitmusic-elements-of-hip-hop-beats_90417.aspx

 

The Equipment you Need to Create a Portable Recording Studio

Portable recording has been around a while now but the quality that came out of it wasn’t quite there. This was a blow to a lot of artists that had the drive to create music but not the funds to build an entire studio or rent a professional studio. Today, there’s a lot of exceptional equipment on the market that allows artists to record a track from just about anywhere. Here are the basic things you need to create a mobile recording studio.

Computer

Today’s laptops are more powerful than desktops producers used to work with years ago. In fact, a lot of professional studios use a laptop as the center for all their recording. Get a laptop that has a lot of RAM and a good battery life. If you want to get even more portable with it, a smartphone or tablet actually aren’t bad options.

Headphones

A must. Without the sound protection of a studio, you’ll need a good pair of monitor headphones to block out noise and let you focus on what you’re recording.

Audio

Audio interfaces are getting small. Small enough to take on the go. If your music is based on virtual instruments and effects or leased or purchased beats, you’ll have a couple options. A quick search online will reveal some great audio interfaces with just one or two inputs.

There are some great portable recording microphones available. some even come bundled with shockmounts and pop filters.

Software

You’ll need some software to bring everything together. If you’re using, for instance, a hip-hop beat bought online, you’ll need the software to add your vocals on top of the track and mix everything. Software can get expensive. Do your research- get the program that will work best for what you’re trying to accomplish. We recommend getting some software that lends itself well to a mobile situation- one that will allow you to use a computer keyboard as triggers.

Do Artists Need Record Deals to Make it?

The music business of today is vastly different from the industry we knew 10 years ago. The days of the all mighty record label are seemingly coming to an end, leaving today’s artists with hopeful visions of their future. While record labels have traditionally been the bootstrap that unknown artists pulled themselves up on, the internet has given artists a new avenue to promote their work- without sacrificing a portion of their loyalties or creative control.

The role of a record label is to advance funds to an artist so that they can get their work out there to the public. The record label invests millions in finding their new star. They give them money, time, producers and coaches to further develop their artistry- they nurture and promote them. The problem for artists is that when they sign with a traditional record label, the label then owns the rights to their work. Record deals overwhelmingly favor the label over the artist, but the internet has allowed some major changes to this formula.

The internet has given birth to a new kind of star. Burgeoning artists can put out their own original tracks or purchase a beat and make it their own. If an artist puts out a track on social media and it blows up, they’ll have an instant following waiting to hear what they put out next. They can get offers to perform at clubs across the country and cement a career in the music industry without a traditional label.

The new model in the music industry is to retain the rights to your music while partnering with a “label” that will help promote and distribute your work. This model is great for artists and is built on the idea of fairness. Artists own their work and have 100% creative control. It’s a great time to be in the music industry.

Hip Hop Beat Musts

Crafting a hip hop beat is a labor of love.  You feel out what’s right and what works with the music, and it takes a certain X factor to really begin to make something beautiful.  Yet, there is definitely a formula, a list of must-haves, for any successful hip hop beat.  At Beat Author, we aim to create hip hop beats that are ready to use for you, with all of the formal elements that you expect.

Consistency

There always needs to be an underlying, consistent beat for people to follow in your music.  Whether they’re aware of it or not, listeners need a pattern to latch onto so that they know roughly where they are in the song.  It’s comforting, fulfilling, and if the beat is as good as it should be, you want to hear it for the duration of the song.  Consistent, however, does not mean boring.  Variations on a theme is the key to a good beat, as you provide people with the safety blanket that is your underlying beat, while exciting them and entertaining them with little riffs on that theme.

Simplicity

Let the music speak for itself.  Trying to do too much with a beat serves to overshadow its best and most important elements.  Distracting listeners with tons of different sounds makes it seem like you’re trying to hide the fact that your underlying beat can’t hold up on its own.  When trying to record a song over a purchased hip hop beat, this is especially true.  Because you know that you’ll be adding to our hip hop beats, it’s essential that we start out simple to really let you and your lyrics shine.

Familiarly Different

Taking inspiration from contemporary popular acts isn’t only okay, but necessary in making an appealing and inspiring beat.  There’s a reason that popular culture is popular, and trying to be completely original in everything you do could result in some beats that are a little bit more experimental than they are enjoyable.  At Beat Author, we try to produce beats that have a similar flow to what’s popular today, while putting our own spin on it so that you know you’re getting an original and unique product.  We stay familiar while being different.

The beauty of hip hop is that it doesn’t have to be as formulaic and prescribed as other genres of music.  You can really take license with it and use instrumentals that inspire you to step away from familiar forms and make something amazing.  Trust Beat Author to produce the hip hop beats to back your next track, and visit our website, beatauthor.com, today.

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