If you have ever listened to hip hop you may have noticed that the primary beat or groove of the piece is made of the bass guitar and drums. After realizing that, you may have noticed that hip hop, for the most part, lacks other voices.
Hip hops music is based strongly off of drums and bass guitar, and as a drummer, this should bring great news.
In hip hop, foreshadowed only by the vocals, you will be the most prominent, noticeable, shining voice in the music.
If that alone isn’t reason enough for you to want to learn to play hip hop, then also take into consideration that not only will it help you to round out your playing and your style, but it will also help you to develop a better sense of rhythm, empowering your groove.
Although it may get repetitive to hear, be sure that you have both full control of your power and a developed sense of rhythm. For these examples, it is crucial that you use a metronome.
In hip hop music, the vocals build off of the drum beats. Thus, hip hop drum beats must not only be consistent, but also simple.
An artist can’t sing over your John Bonham style drum solo.
Most drums in hip hop are looped, which means if you are a drummer in a hip hop group, you must be able to play consistently, smoothly, and without undue accentuation.
Listen to some hip hop bands. Note their use of drums, how the singing goes along with the beat. Keep this in mind later on when creating your own patterns. Pay attention to the simplicity of the track’s drumming.
Now that you understand a bit about hip hop drumming –the do’s and don’ts if you will—it’s time for some examples. Remember, as in any other style, to stay loose while performing hip hop drum beats.
This first example uses a tied note. If you don’t know what a tied note is, don’t worry. The tied note is held out for the duration of the two notes tied together. For example, the two tied eighth notes in this exercise, made using Guitar Pro 6, will be held out for the length of a quarter note.
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Notice the simplicity of the pattern. When you practice this, keep your metronome around 80bmp. This is the speed of most hip hop drums beats. The point isn’t to be fast, but to give the vocals grounds upon which they can build.
This second and final example is my own personal take on a popular groove.
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Notice how similar it is to the first example; many hip hop drum beats are very similar. Many hip hop drummers like to take preexisting hip hop drum beats and build off of them, adding their own stylings.
As with all of our lessons, be sure to practice these examples, and more importantly, add your own stylings. Use your metronome to guide you, and keep an eye on your stroking power. Practice hard, keep an open mind to experimentation, and more than anything, have fun playing hip hop drum beats.
Would you like to learn drums while having fun with play-along songs at the same time? At Drumeo, you can access a massive library of lessons and get 2 brand new songs to jam along every month. This will help you apply your new found skills in practical scenarios!