There are many ways to make music, and most of the time beatmakers just make beats without any thought to the final outcome. It’s common to make a beat with a bunch of loops, then go back later on to edit it to fit with a vocal track, but for Hip Hop beats, what about making a beat that you can easily sell to rappers?
Here’s the deal: most beatmakers will make a beat and upload it to myFlashStore’s Marketplace to be sold, hoping that buyers (I’m using rappers as an example) will snatch it up right away. It’s way too easy to throw a beat up for sale, however, making a beat with a specific buyer in mind (rappers) is much harder.
A lot of you might disagree with me about sampling (maybe because you don’t want to deal with legal issues, which I understand), but the fact remains that a lot of beats just sound so much better with samples in them. You can compose an entire beat with sounds from a synth, from your drums all the way to your melody, and that’s fine. However, sampling something that already sounds really dope will immediately catch the attention of a buyer.
You have to remember that buyers are listening to lots of beats in the Marketplace, so yours needs to stand out. Otherwise, your beat will sit there with the rest of the 808s and handclaps, collecting cyber dust.
2. Have An Intro, Outro, Buildup and Verse
It’s one thing to do an intro and then drop your beat in, but what about the verse for the MC? And what about the outro? You might want to upload only loops of your beat, but if you were to instead show potential buyers that you can do an entire production made just for them, then that will make a big difference.
It’s not hard either. Have a quick intro (so you don’t bore the buyer), then begin your beat and make sure you have some sort of buildup, then your outro.
The purpose of doing this is that you want your buyer to know that you have the whole package, and you’re not just a beat making beat nut. The key here, is to show them that you can PRODUCE, not just make beats.
3. Make Room For The Vocals
If you were to listen to some 90’s Hip Hop, especially from producers such as Pete Rock, you’ll notice how the style was. The beat would drop in, then when it’s time for the rapper to spit his verse, Pete would take out certain parts and filter the music down, which makes room for the vocals.
It’s a classic technique that was used back then, and it’s still used today to some degree (I use it all the time), and it just works. I know a lot of today’s style of beats are just in-your-face, very loud and over the top, but who cares? There’s nothing wrong with reverting back to a previous style of production and use filters.
Filtering the music out will give the impression to the buyer that “Hey, this is where you will start your verse”, and that’s exactly how you want your beat to be perceived. It’s very important that your beat have plenty of room for vocals on top because if your buyer is a rapper, he needs to know that your beat is the right one for him.
4. Tell A Story
One of my earliest beats was one where I tried my best to tell a story. It’s very hard to do that because, well, it’s not just a beat, it’s a full on production. But you have to remember that rappers are telling a story with their lyrics, so why shouldn’t your beat also?
With Hip Hop, we hear it all the time: a rapper over an instrumental loop. That’s fine, but how much better would it be if the music had the same emotion as the vocal delivery? Think about old 70’s and 80’s ballads – the music just seemed to have lots of emotion in it, and the singing was the icing on the cake.
If you can do that with your beat, I guarantee your beat will sell. And sell well.
5. Make It Sound Great
Above all else, you of course have to make it sound great. Your beat can’t be a half-assed mix, unless you don’t want to really sell it. If the beat doesn’t sound professional, then there is a good chance that buyers will overlook you and your music, which can greatly hurt you in the long run.
I’ve written before about mixing and how you should keep it as simple as possible, but it’s more than just that. Before you upload a beat for sale, practice your mixing skills. Mixing is just like anything else – you have to be good at it, and the only way to be good at something is to practice it.
Besides the mixing, your beat has to just sound good. Scratch that, it needs to sound GREAT. No matter how well you’ve pieced together the beat with an intro, outro, buildup, verse, and great mixing, it still won’t sell well (or at all) if it just doesn’t grab the buyers’ attention. In other words, your beat has to be a head-nodder.