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How to Roll Your Own Beats From Scratch – The Easy Way
By Sammy “JMZ” Jamz

A lot of beginning rap producers think that making hip hop beats is all about having the right equipment or samples. The fact of the matter is that some of the greatest beats of all time have been made with just 3 drum sounds and a lot of creativity. It’s better to start learning beat production with the basis before focusing on collecting samples and buying equipment. Here are 5 basic tips to keep in mind when programming your beats:

1. Roll Up Your Sleeves And Get Your Hands Into It
I highly recommend starting your beat by actually playing it into either a keyboard or a drum pad. If you start with step programming or visually writing them into a computer, you’re writing your beat from the left side of the brain instead of the right. Dig in by pounding the beat out with your hands – you’ll notice the difference.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Get Messy
Don’t quantize your beats right away. Embrace your human-ness by keeping your mistakes and building the beat around them. Some of the most original beats were build around glitches or mistakes. This is why Pharrel starts all of his beats on a real live drum kit.

3. If You’re Going to Quantize – Less is More
Try starting with just quantizing the kicks – try to keep as much of the human groove as possible. If you’re going to quantize the snares, try dragging them behind the beat a little bit so they have a bit of shuffle. Try a swing quantize on the hats. All in all try to be as creative as you can with the quantize – less is more.

4. Don’t Tweak Your Sounds Until You’re Pattern Is Finished
Its very tempting to go in right away and start testing different snares or EQing the kick for that perfect boom – but if the beat isn’t written, you’re wasting your time. While you’re doing your building, you want your sounds clean so you can focus on the writing and the performance. Once the beat is banging, then you can go and mess with the sounds.

5. Try Layering Sounds For Originality
If you want your beats to stand out, you’re going to need an original sound. The best way to break out of the standard kits and sounds is by layering them on top of each other. Take two different snares (or kicks), put them on top of each other to create a brand new sound. This is a great way to mix the boom from certain kicks with a sharp attack of others.

All in all, originality in Hip Hop is key. If you can create original drum patterns and original sounds – you’re way ahead of the game. Encourage and embrace your mistakes – capture them and build entire beats around them – they’re what creativity is all about. Experiment with sounds – layer and tweak them to perfection and your hip hop instrumentals will be rocking hard in no time.

For more detailed breakdown of how to download beats and even how to create original beats yourself, check out

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