Samplers, drum machines, and synthesizers are just a few of the instruments that have always been crucial to the creation of hip hop and are still widely used today. Sample manipulation is the genre’s main source of inspiration. A sampler is a need since it allows the producer to remix existing musical themes using various techniques like looping, chopping, and beat juggling.
Sampling can be done in a variety of ways, such as isolating a 4-bar melodic loop from an old soul song, using breakbeats, or “flipping” a single saxophone note from an old jazz tune to sprinkle over a fresh rhythm. The modern producer has a wide variety of plugin software options available to them, and we’ll go through the top ones on this list.
Another method of creating hip-hop music in 2023 would be to painstakingly compose each audio layer by hand, a practice popularized by contemporary music producers. Some of the plugins on this list may be exactly what you need to make better hip hop beats if you study the genre and become familiar with some of the recurrent themes in sound selection and mixing that present in the genre.
Table of Contents
A drum machine plugin from UJAM is called Beatmaker DOPE 2. The closest description I could give it is a drum machine, although it can do much more than that. There are 1180 rhythmical phrases to explore and play with in its 10 separate kits, which explore 50 various styles. The emphasis is primarily on underground hip-hop music, with boom bap-specific percussion rhythms and noises dominating.
There is a sizable sound library included in DOPE 2 that primarily explores boom-bap. This plugin screams the 1990s in every way, from the groove and feel of the loops to the vinyl textures and noises. Therefore, DOPE 2 excels at setting the right mood with music if that is what you want to do.
The midi drag function in DOPE 2 is a useful feature. Drag and drop one of the right keyboard keys on the interface to your DAW to produce a midi clip. This indicates that each keyboard key on the interface’s right side has its own loaded pattern that may be accessed by midi. This is fantastic since you can load your sounds and play that midi, or you can examine how various grooves function.
You can alter the master bus and each drum source’s audio in Beatmaker DOPE 2. Four separate macro knobs are provided for you to use to polish and prepare your drums for mixing. While the saturate knob subtly colors and gently distorts the sound, it may produce anything from smooth lo-fi drumming to crushing distortion. The sweep slider engages both lowpass and highpass filters to sculpt the tone of your drums. The ambiance control adds authentic spatial reverb for a stronger sense of space, while the maximum control acts as a maximizer and provides life to your drums.
Beatmaker DOPE 2 is a great option for contemporary hip-hop producers who want to replicate the gritty, vintage vibe of 90s hip-hop percussion sounds without having to go through mountains of vinyl records. The MIDI drag feature is useful, and the variety of rhythmic loops will excite you and help you break your beat block. Finally, both novice and professional producers will find DOPE 2 to be the perfect choice because to its simple interface. Best VST Plugin for Hip Hop Beats in 2023.
A plugin called SubLab was created exclusively for creating sub-bass sounds. It is a hybrid synthesizer, which means it is divided into two sections: one where the user uploads samples and one where he creates the synth sound using the synth and sub-bass modules. Hip hop, trap, and future bass producers are catered to by SubBass because its primary goal is to develop thick 808s that will fill your low frequencies. No matter what playback device you play your song on, SubLab’s groundbreaking X-sub technology preserves the integrity of your sub-bass.
Compared to the other synths on this list, SubLab operates differently. Three different sound engines make up this hybrid synth. The first is referred to as synth and has a single oscillator with a filter, four waveshapes, an amp, a pitch envelope, and a filter envelope. Here is where you may control the bass sound’s tone. The oscillator’s three unique envelopes and varied waveforms give it a lot of flexibility. The sampler is the second engine. Any sound you want to layer with the main synth engine can be added by dragging it there. For instance, by adding a kick, you can get a forceful 808 or add an ambient layer for a distinctive sound.
Hip hop has always been a bass-driven genre, and the boom box and pricey custom car speaker cultures were all about competing to produce the lowest, deepest bass. Since SubLab can produce earth-shattering sub-bass, hip hop is the appropriate genre for it. This is where the X-sub technology comes in really handy, as the different synth engines offer ample freedom in sound creation to give your bass patches depth and intrigue. Best Hip Hop plugin in 2023.
UJAM’s Striiiings plugin specializes in creating orchestral strings. Striiiings can play multiple layers simultaneously, unlike other string libraries, saving you the hassle of mixing individual string tracks and the CPU load of running four instances of the same plugin simultaneously.
Even though it was created for composers to utilize in movie soundtracks and trailers, Striiiings may excite by adding a dramatic and playful layer to contemporary hip hop sounds. In the long history of hip hop, there is an implicit and little-discussed relationship between it and classical music. From Xzibit’s 1996 sample of Pavane on “Paparazzi” to Nas’s 1999 sample of “O Fortuna” on “Hate me now,” strings have emphasized drama, emotion, rage, and fury. Plugins like Striiiings can perform the task if you are unable to clear a Pavane sample (which you most likely cannot).
Striiiings makes it simple for composers who are not schooled in classical music. If you play the incorrect note, the key control in the lower right makes sure you stay in tune. Producers who wish to swiftly generate string layers without thinking about the production-related aspects of music theory may find this option useful. Additionally, the key control will adjust all of the words from Striiiings to the scale you specify, giving you instant inspiration.
Striiiings is divided into low and high strings sections where you may control the tone and decay of high-frequency violin and viola layers as well as low frequency based instruments like double bass. If you want to place more emphasis on one than the other, you can also crossfade between the two. This feature exemplifies what Striiiings is all about, which is to challenge the way strings are played on virtual instruments and to provide thick, complete layers of strings that blur the distinction between real and artificial.
Strings have long been a staple of hip hop, used to heighten the tension and highlight the emotional trip the rapper is leading us on. A plugin like Striiiings can be quite helpful if you are a new producer who is unable to remove a strings sample from an earlier track. With only one instance of Striiiings open, you can easily have a full strings session in your beat, and the effects processor can produce some distinctive, aesthetically pleasing sounds to help you stand out from the competition. Since Striiiings can inspire and help build string sections even for musicians without classical training while still stretching the boundaries of what a string sound may be, it is one of its biggest selling advantages.
Distortion, Compressor, Bit Crusher, Tilt EQ, Vintage Reverb, and Vinylizer are among the six modules that make up the multi-effects plugin known as Vinyl Strip. The modules can be dragged and dropped into any configuration. Your samples and tracks will gain a vintage vinyl record sound in your digital surroundings by using Vinyl Strip, which also gives them vitality and an old-school feel. The plugin has been optimized to use the CPU sparingly.
These days, there is a great demand for that vintage vinyl sound, which implies that the price to produce that sound might also be costly. Fortunately, there is a less expensive option available in the form of the AudioThing Vinyl Strip, which will enable you to get those delicious tones. You can create the ideal sound with the aid of its six various modules. Tilt EQ, bit crusher, vintage reverb, distortion, compressor, and vinylizer are some of the modules it provides.