Posted Feb. 15, 2018, 10:44 a.m.
The world of hip-hop music production is full of genres and sub-genres, each with its own unique history and style. Take Boom Bap hip-hop for example. The central elements are a hard-hitting sampled kick drum (boom) and snare drum (bap), typically with the snare on two and four and the MC rapping on the beat.
Boom Bap developed out of the 1980s New York City breakbeat scene, and hit peak popularity in the 1990s, when artists like Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, Jay-Z, Nas and A Tribe Called Quest made Boom Bap one of the defining sounds of hip hop. Hip hop production has evolved a great deal since then, with the snare sound frequently replaced with a hand clap or other sample. Still, Boom Bap remains a popular, albeit retro technique that’s sometimes incorporated into other types of hip hop.
One such variation is Jazzy Hip Hop, which is related to the electronica subgenre Chill Hop. It features a mellow, jazzy groove made up of Boom Bap drums and short chordal samples taken from jazz records that typically provide much of the harmonic content.
Reason 10 provides the perfect toolset for creating Boom Bap and Jazzy Hip Hop beats, among many other styles. With myriad instruments and sample players, a massive effects collection, and powerful recording, editing and mixing features, all you need to add is your creativity.
In this video, producer, musician and educator Stefan Guy (stefanguyaudio.com) takes you step-by-step through the creation and production of a Boom Bap/Jazzy Hip Hop beat using Reason 10. He deploys Reason instruments such as Kong Drum Designer, NN-XT Advanced Sampler, and the brand-new Humana Vocal Ensemble—along with effects like Audiomatic Retro Transformer (which he uses for vinyl emulation)—showing you lots of cool production tricks along the way.
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Make a Boom Bap track yourself with a free trial of Reason 10!
Posted Jan. 26, 2018, 10:08 a.m.
One Week Notice is the title of a 1-week collaborative concept album featuring 9 Hip-Hop Artists and Producers - Dizzy Wright, Jarren Benton, Demrick, Audio Push, Emilio Rojas, Reezy, Kato and DJ Hoppa. It was recorded fully in Austin, TX at the BeatStars studio and over 20 songs were created during the 7-day process, with 13 making it onto the album.
Kato On The Track is a Music Producer/Entrepreneur out of Atlanta, GA., best known for his production with Artists like: B.o.B, Hopsin, Jarren Benton, Dizzy Wright, Wu-Tang, Joyner Lucas, Token, Tory Lanez, K Camp, Futuristic, Sy Ari and more. Kato is also the founder of a Producer mentorship program, Beat Club, which educates and provides resources and networking to aspiring music Producers around the world.
We caught Kato to have a talk about the One Week Notice project and his workflow in Reason.
Tell us how the One Week Notice came about. Whose idea was it to complete an album in one week?
One Week Notice was the brain child of Dame Ritter, former CEO of Funk Volume, whom I was signed to up until 2016. We've been friends since, and he basically just called me one day and asked if I'd be interested in flying to Austin for a week, staying in a house full of rappers, and making music all day. What could be better?
Could you share some insights on how to collaborate successfully with so many people involved and with that kind of tight deadline?
The key to collaborating with that many people is just to leave any ego at the door and be open to working with other creatives. After that, the rest is easy.
When you load up a brand new Reason song, what’s the very first thing you do?
The first thing I do when I open Reason is load a template. I have different templates for working with vocals, starting a beat, etc. After I load my template, then I'll start searching for the perfect sound to start my melody, or sometimes I'll start with drums first. I usually have an idea going into the project of what I want to make, it's just a matter of finding the right sounds.
What drives you musically? Why do you make music?
My motivation for making music is the same as it was on Day 1. It's the only thing that allows me to create something from nothing without any rules or boundaries - what else allows you to do that?? It's absolute 100% freedom to do whatever you want and that idea to me is so amazing in a world full of rules.
What do you do when inspiration just isn't there? Any tips on tackling writer’s block?
I hate forcing creativity. When I don't feel inspired by what I'm doing, it takes the fun out of it and doing what you love should always be fun. Most of the time when I lack inspiration, I either step away from the music altogether and do something entirely different, or I'll find inspiration in collaborating with others. I've also been using Splice a lot.
Do you have any special Reason production trick that you always use?
I've been using the Decimort 2 a LOT recently. It adds so much cool texture whenever I need that extra unique quality. I like anything that takes something clean and makes it dirty.
The three most used devices in your Reason rack?
Kong Drum Designer, NN-XT and the McDSP C670 Compressor are CRUCIAL to me in every session I start. I can probably make an amazing beat using only those 3 devices and nothing else!
Watch how Kato made "Get It N Go" in Reason:
Check out the official video for "Get It N Go" off the One Week Notice album:
Posted Jan. 17, 2018, 10:59 a.m.
When Justen's parents forbid him from listening to the corrupting influence of "secular music" - they inadvertently helped him train to become a music producer.
Thanks to peer to peer filesharing and an abundance of instrumental mp3 hip hop mixes available there, Justen Williams was listening to Top 40 hip hop minus the vocals. And what was left, he could study in unobscured detail to see how the kick fit with the bass and why those effects create a specific mood.
But it wasn't until a college friend introduced Justen to Reason that he saw what he'd always dreamed of: an entire beatmaking studio right on his computer screen. After getting his own copy of Reason, Justen Williams never looked back. His production skills and collaborations with New Orleans artists have landed him placements with Ford, HBO, Empire, Dancing with the Stars, NFL Films, and album production with Kourtney Heart, Justin Garner, and Dee 1.
We joined Justen in New Orleans to discuss his early beatmaking and production experiments with Reason and his biggest viral success, Sallie Mae Back.
Posted Nov. 14, 2017, 10:20 a.m.
From the hip hop’s immortal 808 kick to the sound of the mighty Linndrum, drum machines have provided the pulse and energy in electronic music for more than 40 years and we keep getting hypnotized by the robotic grooves they provide.
The history of the drum machine actually goes back all the way to the 1930s, when Leo Theremin (yes, that Theremin) built a sine wave based rhythm instrument called the Rhythmicon. The size of a refrigerator and notoriously hard to use, it wasn’t a hit and it would take another 30 years before rhythm machines actually started to come out as products. Early examples such as the Wurlitzer Side Man used vacuum tubes for sound generation and mechanical rotating discs for sequencing and they didn’t make a huge impact on music when they came out. Gradually, drum machines shrunk in both size and price with the adoption of solid state electronics and products such as the Donca-Matic range from Keio-Giken (that would later become Korg) in the late 60s.
Drum machines were initially thought of as accompaniment tools that practice your playing to when a drummer wasn’t available and indeed they didn’t really see much use in recordings from the era. In the early 70s drum machines started to appear in pop productions with Sly & the Family Stone scoring the first #1 featuring a drum machine: Family Affair.
As electronic pop music started to evolve, drum machines became part of the sound and not a novelty. With more advanced products such as the Roland CR78, artist could program their own rhythm patterns and the electronic rhythms could be heard on more and more pop records.
In 1980, the Linn LM-1 came out. It was a pricey unit at almost $5000, but it offered sampled drum sounds and helped define the sound of the 80s as we know it today. Ironically, the most iconic machines of the era: the Roland TR-808 and TR-909 didn’t make a huge impact when they first appeared. They were analog drum machines (apart from the hi-hats and cymbals in the 909) and didn’t sound as modern as their sampled counterparts that came out around the same time. The 808 & 909 route to legendary status went via pawn shops and classified ads where a new generation of hip hop beatmakers and budding house producers could get their hands on these machines for peanut money.
Looking to add the sound of iconic drum machines to your beats? Reason’s Redrum was designed to mimic the 80s legends both in sound and workflow. And the mighty Kong Drum Designer lets you craft your own synthetic drum sounds. The Propellerhead shop is a gold mine for these sought-after sounds. Rack Extensions to emulate classic drum machines, drum loop libraries constructed with the legends from years gone by - take a look at which of these top drum machines will work for you.
Don’t have Reason? Start with a free 30 day trial and see what Reason can do for your music-making.
Posted Nov. 9, 2017, 1:47 p.m.
Updated November 9, 2017
Thanks so much for participating! We really enjoyed listening through your creations! Here are a few of our favorites. Enjoy!
It’s Europa Fest! Reason’s new monster synth is receiving lots of love from its users all over the world. But what can you do with it? Aggressive arpeggios? Pulsating pads? Tantalizing Textures?
Share your first Europa creations with the world using the #1stEuropa hashtag. We’ll share and repost our favorites by Thursday Nov 9th. Get creative and get heard!
Don’t have Reason 10 yet? Download the trial today and join the Europa Fest!