- What is lo-fi hip-hop?
- How to make lo-fi hip-hop?
The Science of Simplicity: The Motto Of Lo fi Hip Hop
In a recent article, Vagueoo3, a lo-fi hip-hop artist who has been in the scene for around two years declared: “Lo-Fi is short for low fidelity and essentially means bad quality, but purposefully”. According to Vagueoo3, it is precisely “this bad quality which makes it stand out, just like overblown bass and distorted vocals make ‘SoundCloud rap’ stand out.” After all, the less is more, isn’t it?
The Reasons Behind The Reemergence Of The Genre In Recent Years
Whilst the “live” feature of Youtube was introduced back in 2011, it is not until last year that lo fi hip-hop channels really started to take off. Chilled Cow’s channel was one of the first 24/7 lo fi hip-hop stations on YouTube. Today, the latter remains the biggest lo fi hip hop live station with more than a million subscribers and thousands of live radio listeners. However, the movement has experienced a great development and there are more and more live channels that provide their listeners with the most soothing lo fi hip hop tunes.
How To Make Lo Fi Hip Hop Beats: The Gear, Software & Samples You Need
For the creation of lo fi hip-hop, “the less is more” should be your number one rule. If we don’t go as far as saying that anything can work, originality is a must. With an extensive amount of music-producers having opted for the “easy-genre” you will have to stand out of the crowd with sought-after sounds. Digging for unique sounds will be your main task. Therefore, as mentioned before, there is no real necessity to polish a sound. Because the charm of this genre resides precisely in its unfinished character. Nonetheless, some software, hardware and sample indications can give you a good head start for further explorations.
If you still want to invest in hardware for making lo-fi hip-hop, there are a number of accessible options unless you want to buy a second-hand old-school synthesizer.
Here are some drum machines worth considering :
Recently, we also discovered Bastl’s “Trinity“, which is at the same time a musical instrument and original sounding modular groovebox.
Finding samples is easier than ever with blogs and streaming platforms playing old music. If sites like Samplephonics are great for regular samples, you should make sure that you process or tweak your sample enough to be certain that it doesn’t sound like any other one (since these packs are heavily used). Moreover, don’t forget that this is where you make the real difference. Your musical culture and effort to dig deep to find old tunes that are worth sampling will make all the difference when it comes to lo fi hip hop.
How To Make Lo Fi Hip Hop Beats: The Technique
While it may be true that this genre requires less effort than other electronic genres, it is still as hard to find a hook or memorable beat. And the effort to find original and uniques samples is not easy. If you still think it’s simple and lazy then change it up and do something that makes you feel excited about the project again. Don’t be part of the lazy lo-fi producers. Instead, push the boundaries further.
That being said, the core technique of lo-fi hip hop includes certain unmistakable steps:
- Lower the bitrate
- Lower the sample rate
- Add distortion/saturation
- Emulate Tape, Vinyl, old hardware, etc…
You can go a step forward and buy any cheap hardware with recording capabilities like a cassette recorder, for example, record your samples to cassette then record back to your computer.
You may also like: What are the best cassette players?
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