How To Pick The Right Beat: It’s Not As Obvious As May Think
What’s up artists? Well today we will be discussing a topic that is just for you, (how to pick the right beat). I know, I know you’re already saying to yourself, “Man, when I hear it, I just know it’s the right beat for me”. While that may be true in some cases, many times it’s just not. The perfect beat for you doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the biggest, bangingest, loudest, catchiest beat that anyone has ever heard. It also doesn’t mean that if J. Cole, Jay-Z, or Kendrick Lamar would sound good on that beat, that you will too.
Picking the right beat is absolutely imperative to the success of any song that you do as an artist. No matter how dope of an MC/rapper or talented as a singer you may be, a good song that is well performed over the wrong beat will leave you dead in the water every time. In fact there are many cases in which very talented and well known artists who were known for their previous hits saw their careers come to a screeching halt as the result of them stepping out of their zone, getting experimental and picking the wrong beats for their songs. If you don’t want to end up like one of them, I’m here to offer a few tips that may help to prevent your career in music from meeting an early demise.
- Before you start listening to beats, record yourself rapping or singing accapella. Listen to the sound and tone of your voice and try to imagine the type of beat that would be sonically correct for your sound.
- Be honest and true to yourself. Just because you like Future’s, Chance The Rapper, or Drake’s music, don’t sell yourself short by trying to imitate what they do. They appear on beats that fit their style whether they personally selected them or the beats were selected for them. Find a beat that fits your voice, style, swag, mood, and concept of your song.
- Be open to constructive criticism, let people hear your song before you pick the beat and allow them to suggest the type of beats they can imagine you doing it on.
- If you are the type of artist who prefers to write to the beat, honestly listen to the beat. Feel the beat, live with the beat and allow it to guide what you write. DON’T FIGHT THE BEAT. If you find yourself “forcing it” then odds are, that isn’t the right beat for your song. Go back to the drawing board and find a beat that feels more comfortable.
- If you are a person who lacks a strong, powerful voice with presence, don’t pick a beat that is big, has heavy instrumentation, is loud and extremely aggressive. The beat will eat you alive, respect that fact and pick a beat that has less instrumentation, is simple and wide open.
- While being different in and of itself doesn’t necessarily make it dope, don’t be afraid to BE DOPE DIFFERENTLY. For example, compare a group like The Roots and say, a rapper like Lil’ Wayne. Both do two entirely different styles of music, yet both are incredibly dope in their own rights and not many people would dispute that. In fact, the same fans may like both of them equally but for different reasons. That being said, don’t be afraid to try a different style of beat that is actually dope in it’s own right. Matched up with your style, you may end up stumbling upon a whole new genre of music that you created all by yourself. Your boy Bryson Tiller did just that when he created what is now known to the world as “Trap Soul”. You get it now?
- If you have the luxury of having a relationship with a producer, be open to his or her suggestions on what beats might work for you, trust them and roll with it. Not to take anything away from your creative process as an artist but being in the producer’s role, it’s kind of like a management position. The producer has to consider many factors before we sit down and just bang out a beat. We have to question originality, appeal, sonics, genre, and how an artist might interpret the beat. Take the guesswork out of the process by allowing the person who made the beat help you determine if it’s the right beat for you. I’ve personally sold many beats to artist by simply suggesting beats that I have in which I think they’d sound good on and 9/10, I’m right.
- Do you fit in the pocket, can you ride the beat? Every beat has that certain space in it that is usually reserved for the artist’s performance. That space is usually referred to as the “pocket” and when you’re song is in the pocket that means the vocal performance of your song is not competing with but, rather complementing the instrumental. If the hot 16 you’ve written or the song that you are singing doesn’t quite fit in the pocket of that beat, odds are…that’s not the right beat for that song or you need to write a new song that fits in that beat’s pocket.
- Lastly, (and I know that this is gonna ruffle a lot of feathers of some of you artists that may be reading this but I’m your friend and I’m gonna say it anyway), realize that it is the beat is what sells the song. Most music listeners are initially attracted to the beat and melody of a song long before they actually starting getting into the lyrics of it. Accept this as a fact and move on. Empower yourself by embracing this concept, it is not a battle of supremacy between the producer and the artist. The end goal is to make an incredible song for people to enjoy.
We hope that you can apply these tips to help assist in your beat selection process. Maseed Productions would love to help you make your next hit so be sure to check out the beat store. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to drop a comment below. If you benefitted from this article or wish to support, please like, share, and comment on our social media pages below.Like it? Share it.