Yo, what’s up?
Today we’re making a lo-fi hip hop track.
For hip hop is a subgenre of hip hop closely related to the boom-bap and backpack rap instrumentals defined by its common repetitive rhythm, and use of lounge and jazz samples.
The term lo-fi refers to the phrase low fidelity, which is an aesthetic of music where it’s purposefully made at a lower audio quality than the usual contemporary standard, almost as if it’s being played through an old radio or record player.
You’ll often hear a lot of imperfections like final static, electrical noise and even mild distortion.
On top of that, it’s very common to hear a lot of sample jobs and screws going along with the beat.
The overall motif for many lo-fi tracks is to make music that is very easy on the ears and can be listened to or whispered while you chill or relax or study.
It’s essentially the millennials’ answer to ambient music.
It’s just supposed to be in the background.
It’s just supposed to be calming.
In a way, I think millennials have kind of perfected the idea of ambient music through the advent of the hip hop beat.
Many of the common instruments used and lo-fi hip hop tracks include pianos, bass, and acoustic guitars.
Basically, things you would hear in a classy cafe or hotel lobby.
Lo-fi hip hop takes these classical elements and repurposes them for a newer generation.
The easiest way to do this is to find a cool sample, but it will call beat bada bing bada boom, you’re done.
But let’s say you didn’t want to get copyright claimed and you wanted to make your own.
The best way to make these sounds is to study commonly used jazz chord progressions.
But how can I learn complex jazz chord progressions when I don’t even know how to play the piano?
Well, you could just use melodics. Hey, this video is brought to you by melodics.
It’s a desktop app that teaches you how to play the piano. All you need is a MIDI keyboard.
A lot of it comes with a variety of different courses and lessons ranging from the very basics of the piano to the more complex ideas of music theory. The app can give you ideas for melodies and chord progressions while helping you hone in on your technical skills.
It keeps track of your timing and accuracy and really encourages you to get better.
It doesn’t feel like you’re in a boring piano class, it almost feels like you’re playing a game.
There’s also a bunch of different genres to learn, ranging from classical hip hop, future bass house, pop cinematic and everything in between.
If you want the app, click the link in the description. It’s free to download.
For the chords of my track, I use a variation of a jazz chord progression called the 251.
That’s a progression of seven chords that begin on the first note and the C major scale, followed by the fifth note and ending on the first play the chords and keys on classic.
Next up, play the root notes with an upright bass in Kontakt five. I played more melodies on top of the chords with another instance of keys on classic.
After replacing patterns in song mode, I exported each part so I could begin by finding the tracks.
I use a plugin vinyl by isotope to add some wear and tear in EQ to cut some of the lows and I also use Kickstarter just to add a little bit more bounce to the sound.
The final touch on the sample was pitching it down 400 cents.
The drums also follow the motif of being easy on the ears while also being lively enough to give you that standard hip hop head. Not a lot of lo-fi songs use boom-bap drums or repurposed trap drums or maybe even a mixture of both.
For my track, I use the kick, some off-kilter high hats and a snap.
I made two variations of drum patterns, one of them to go along with the tops I made of the courts.
I also sidechain the kick to the melody and chords using Fruity Limiter Just to give it more of that lo-fi aesthetic, and topped it all off with vinyl crackles.