Create rap beats using electronic hardware, a digital audio workstation or a combination of both. Creating beats also requires an understanding of musical structure, melody, rhythm and sampling.
Beat makers often employ a range of digital electronic instruments, including samplers, sequencers, drum machines and synthesizers. Purchasing all of these instruments is very expensive, however, and cheaper music software can imitate many of their functions. Digital audio workstations such as Pro Tools, Logic, Reason and Ableton are powerful programs capable of making professional quality beats. Many producers use a combination of digital and analog equipment to create beats.
Outside of hardware, beat production requires some level of musical knowledge. While it’s not necessary to have a deep understanding of music theory, basic knowledge of melody is useful for creating hooks. An understanding of rhythm, particularly how to arrange different drum sounds, is also a necessity. It’s also possible to experiment with rhythm and melody to find combinations that work.
Rap beats frequently make use of sampling, which is the practice of taking a brief portion of a song and using it to create a new composition. Whether through actual hardware samplers or computer software, most beat makers use samples to create melodies or rhythms in their beats.