Want to learn how to create a Drake-type beat? If you like ‘Started from the Bottom’ which was produced by Mike Zombie and Noah Shebib, you’re going to learn a lot from this tutorial!
Important Note: This tutorial looks how to produce a similar beat for your own learning. You should in no way release a beat based on anything similar to the below mentioned song. Please create something original. Guide by guest author Daniel Hartnett.
I (guest author Daniel) really like the way that they played with the Started From The Bottom mix – the drops, the drums, and those beautiful pockets for Drake to come in. It has a great pumping and pulling feel to the song and that’s the kind of beat I wanted to make (and will teach you how to make today).
In this guide I’m going to break down each individual section, then talk about which drums I used, how I created the beat and why certain things went into the beat.
You can see it in my video below, or you can read the text and image version of the guide directly underneath.
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The Intro To The Drake Type Beat
At the intro, have the 808 booming at the very start – it will be the backbone of the song. I created this beat from the 808s because I really like the way Noah Shebib and Mike Zombie created the pushing movement in the song. I used a really sobby 808 that sounds bland and boring without the rest of the mix, but you can hear the pumping factor of it and it’s pretty heavily processed. I’m going to talk about the processing layer and show you what kind of simple patterns are in there.
A lot of these trap songs are not the easiest things to make because they have to be so simple yet so full. So it’s all about picking the right sounds and just using little notes. You don’t have to create intricate structures or chords or melodies -it’s all about little notes playing off each other.
I used different pads to fill the spaces. The ‘Bell or Pad’ pad I used is almost like a gothic bell, just to give that eerie feeling. ‘Beneath the Ice’ is like a choir pad. I used the same notes for both pads, but ‘Beneath the Ice’ is more like a background noise compared to ‘Bell or Pad’, which is like an instrument.
I used the ‘Cave Heart’ synth in massive a lot because it has so much reverb. Altogether, they fill that void. I also used two more pad sounds (LB PLEASURE and ARpNothern Light) that have melodies. This is where the melody becomes like “Started from the Bottom”. I added a little bit of lead as well at the end that continues with that kind of dark, eerie feeling. They’re all playing the same melodies, they’re all playing the same notes – all I did was ‘copy and paste’ and played them on different synths. For the melody, use a simple riff that has a clean arc, but dark at the same time. The riff I used was also climbing and metronomic. Altogether these sounds should fit well together and make the song sound busy yet have that space for a rapper to shine. I also added a lead at the end that continues with that darkness, that eerie feeling. There’s nothing really to it, just follow the backbone of the song – put the eerie darkness in that beat!
Creating Drake Type Beat Drums
I usually talk about drops in most of my other songs where I usually leave a gap and let something play on, but with this beat, the intro flows nicely into the chorus mainly because of the aggressive nature of the drums. You may want to consider separating the original 808s from the ones in the chorus to keep it tidy and tight in the verse and chorus because you really want that kick and 808s to hit at the same time. We’ll look at the kicks and snares first. I have a kick, a snare, and some snare rolls.
I used a simple kick pattern with the snare hitting on every second beat of the kick. The snare roll gives it that change up so at the end of every bar, you can hear the snare roll coming in. I lowered the velocities of that snare so they don’t interfere with my original snare. I used reverb on those drums as well.
They don’t sound that interesting because of the snare rolls, but when you put all the drums together, they all come to life. I added simple hi-hats that sound really good together. The trick to getting a really shaky hi-hat is to alter the velocities to have a wave pattern so they have that nice swinging motion, as well as to spread them out and cut them up a bit.
Also, add some drum reverbs to give the beat a punch. Hi-hat rolls can come in really well to give the beat a kind of skip. The snare rolls and hi-hat rolls have the same effect within the song.
Play hi-hats on their own and see if you can hear that. These small elements in songs, when you join them all together it makes a massive difference and they give it that Drake-type beat feel that we are trying to create. I also added two different open hi-hats – one is hissier than the other.
You’ll have to find your own pockets for these sounds. You can hear what you want. Use songs to guide you when you’re creating rap beats as well. If you’re creating beats and you want that sound – try and learn how to make it.
It will give you good practice when you’re trying to make your own beat. We’re going to bring in the 808s now and that’s when it gets interesting. My main 808 is very aggressive, heavily, heavily compressed and I got a BitCrusher plug-in on there for some distortion.
I added a tiny bit of distortion to give it a bit of grittiness so when you hear it with the kick, they really bounce off each other.
The pattern for my 808 is similar to the one in the verse, but with an increased velocity (120) because I couldn’t get the aggression that I wanted out of the 808 at lower velocities. So what I did was put a compressor on there and compressed it by using parallel compression to get that aggressive kick with the 808.
To create this, drop a normal 808 sample into the sampler on Logic and then trigger it with your keyboard to make a pattern, then use EXS sampler to pitch up one of the 808s. I affected the pitch of the base line 808 by playing with the glide to get that moving kind of feel.
I pitched one down and then I pitched one up, so one of these base lines climbs up and the other one slides back down to get the “Started from the Bottom” kind of feel.
I really like the way Noah Shebib and Mike Zombie used it and it’s a really good effect in a song because it gives that trap, pushing feel. So play with the 808s until you get that effect that is in the “Started From The Bottom” instrumental. Listen to all the drums and put in all the sounds so you get the idea.
I also added in the original pad sounds from the intro to make space in the chorus for rap artists to rap there, even with melodies playing. I didn’t put the Alien Lead from the intro into the chorus, instead I made a tail of it leading into the chorus followed by an empty section, then I brought the lead back in so it sails in behind the back of the mix.
There isn’t really more to that. Its ‘verse-chorus-verse’ and has drops here and there where I dropped out the kicks and snares, or leave the snares playing or the hi-hats playing and then leaving that space for the rapper to rap on. I also used a quieter 808 line without any kicks so you can hear the rapper rapping. There is a middle link where I had the Alien Lead, the chorus lead, to play with these 808s and pads (but with only two of the riffs, not all of the riffs). Then the beat goes back into the chorus again and does an outro, and that’s the end of the song!
That’s how easy it was to create this but then again, I say it’s easy but sometimes when you create these beats it can be difficult because they’re all micro sounds and they all have to gel together and you have to fit them together.
The kicks and the snares have to find their own space. It can be difficult to make simple hip hop beat sometimes, but I feel like when I listen to something that Drake would rap on or Future would rap on I hear this beat being one of them. This track is called “Enemies” and this is the end of the beat breakdown, guys!
Hope you guys enjoyed the tutorial. Visit my YouTube video where I do a screenshare videos on how I create rap beats like this one. Don’t forget to like and subscribe to the channel. Enjoy the beat!
This article was written by Daniel Hartnett Aka The Corporatetheif Beats. Daniel is a hip hop beat maker / music marketing blogger from Dublin Ireland. You can connect with Daniel here at his hip hop Beats Site The Corporatethief Beats or on Twitter @corporatethief.