- Love hip hop. The industry is tough and ruthless, and without a deep love for the game you will never be good or famous.
- Learn about music. This is a never-ending process, so don't ever think you're "done" at any point. Learn about all different styles of music, not just modern hip hop. Learn the roots, the theory and the great musicians for many different genres. No style should be neglected, not even country.
- Determine what equipment you will need. This is a very complicated step, as there are infinite combinations of hardware and software. I would recommend FL Studio's demo version of their production software, if you wish to try production out with paying any money. If you're sampling, be sure to think of how you will access your samples (ie turntable, computer, etc). If you're more interested in composing with synths and virtual instruments, a MIDI keyboard is an excellent investment.
- Experiment. Set up a easy kick-highhat-snare-highhat track, and mess around with playing notes over the beats. This should be a period for getting familiar with your equipment. It will take about a month at the very least to acquire real skill with your equipment
- Start refining your beats. Read the manual and begin using the Google search waaayy too much. Learn about EQ, effects and quantization, and begin to use them.
- When you've got other people nodding their heads to your music, start promoting yourself. Use sites such as rocbattle.com, soundclick.com, givemebeats.net, and cdbaby.com to your advantage. Look up rappers, local or just on the internet, and see if you can produce a mixtape.
- Don't limit yourself: know the four elements of hip hop. Breakdancing, rapping, graffiti and turntablism.
- Learning to beatbox will help to compose beats anywhere.
- Make sure you volume each instrument correctly. Louder is not necessarily better.
- If you like old school hip-hop make your snare a few notes lower or use vintage sounds such as 808 kits.
- Watch tutorial videos on YouTube.
- EQ will make or break an only OK track.
- Don't be a hater. As a producer, beef will not earn you any respect.
- Study successful producers. It sounds corny, but sit down with your top 25 or 50 instrumental tracks, and take notes as to why they are so appealing.
- Try everything. Nothing is "wrong". If people like it, or even if only you like it, its "right".
- Recommended software: FL Studio, Cool Edit Pro, Logic, Reason, Ableton Live, Audacity.
- Recommended hardware: MPC series, Korg synthesizers, MIDI keyboards, Technics turntables, professional production headphones and studio monitors.
- Don't expect to make a living out of this unless your willing to work the hardest you have ever worked in your life. It's not an easy market to enter into, unless you are very determined and will not give up easily you might remember might just make it---it is a crowded market.
- Don't get discouraged by critics.
- Don't develop an ego; it embarrasses you in the long run.
- And keep at it. If you are sure this is a passion you wish to develop, then make a way to integrate it into your life until it is mature enough to be where you want it.
- The software for FL Studio is (about) 200MB, and it is well worth the price. An outstanding program, especially for creative users. You can develop your skills to make a sturdy tool out of it.
- Do not ask a question about how to do something without reading the manual or searching the internet first. Hip hop producers will be very helpful if you follow this one rule.
Things You'll Need
- Either production software (FL Studio, Reason, Ableton, Logic) or hardware (MIDI keyboard, MPC (any variant))
- A manual for above product that you've read at least twice
- Music. Lots of it. Which you know by heart.
- A Hip Hop Production Course.