In this article by Brian Griffith, we’ll explore how to make a hip hop remix of a pop song, an R&B song, or an existing hip hop song. We’ll cover the basics of remixing, including how to choose the right song, how to add your own spin to it, and how to make it sound like a hip hop remix.
There are many different equipment/ software choices to use in order to put together quality Hip Hop remixes. The software known as Ableton Live (now on version 8) provides all the tools needed to produce a quality Hip Hop remix mixing elements from any tempo without degrading the sound quality. Sony Acid software is another choice to consider for remixing purposes as well. Research online to find additional gear & software choices. The purpose of this article is to provide tips on putting together the Hip Hop remixes after you already have your recording & production equipment and/or software set-up & ready to start remixing. The information presented is not to be thought of as “Rules of Remixing” however when following these tips you will have a much better chance of producing Hot Hip Hop Remixes that will please audiences of all types.
In order to have the most flexibility & options when starting a Hip Hop remix, you will want to have the original song’s accapella & beat instrumental as these will allow you the most options when making your Hip Hop remixes. The first thing to consider when planning a Hip Hop remix is to decide if you are going to keep the general focus of the song the same as the original while just adding Hip Hop elements to the track such as a rap verses and/or beat replacement or if you are going to change perspective of the song from say a female point of view to a male point of view or vice versa. The main thing to consider when deciding whether or not to change the beat/instrumental of the song to another is based on the popularity of the song’s current beat/instrumental. If the song’s original beat/instrumental is found to be a huge factor in the overall success of the song & may not be improved upon, do not change the beat, Doing so could quickly alienate Your listeners who have really grown attached to the song’s original beat.
When remixing a song that will retain the original beat/instrumental, you should instead enhance the song by re-arranging the vocal elements of the track and add an 8, 12, or 16 bar Hip Hop verse as an intro to the song over the song’s already popular beat/instrumental. You want the Hip Hop/rap verse to deal directly with the song’s current subject matter while adding another outlook/point of view and excitement to the track. You may want to bring the song’s hook into the mix directly following the rap verse intro, or you may decide to go into the 1st or even second verse & really switch it up. You don’t want to change the order of things just for the hell of it, the changes you make should have purpose to enhance the excitement level of the song so that the remix brings it up even higher, the remix should be able to be heard as an improvement on the original song and if not then should not be done at all.
When you encounter a song that you would like to change the beat/instrumental to enhance the remix, remember that you don’t have to use an original beat that you produced for the remix in fact, a technique that works very well involves working with pieces of previous hit tracks that may have dealt with similar subject matter as the current song you are remixing. By mixing the beat elements from the previous popular song you will enhance the remix while also further grabbing the listener’s ears with a sense of nostalgia. you may even use elements from several songs to complete your Hip Hop remix. This technique should not be confused with the mixes known as mash-ups which are essentially several songs that are mashed together more like a live deejay blend. The different song elements used in the remixes should have a more planned, edited & polished sound using only the song elements that mesh perfectly together with any tweaking carried out prior to recording so that the track sounds like a professional production. On some Hip Hop remixes you may decide to only use the hook/chorus of the original song while completely replacing the singing verse with rap verses, this can be done while using the original beat/instrumental, or changing to a different one if you believe you may improve upon it.
If you are a rapper/Hip Hop artist putting together a “mix tape CD/download for the purpose of promotion using instrumentals from already popular songs I suggest that rather than putting your rap verses on the popular song’s beat/instrumental by themselves instead add your rap verse (one or two 8 or 16 bar)to the song keeping the original artist on the song too. If the song is popular you would run the risk confusing the listener as they will be expecting to hear the artist they already like on the song. If you add to it instead of replacing them, you will be able to showcase your raps on a song that already has fans as well as show that you can fit in and show your skills right along with the already popular/established recording artist.
It is a good idea to have at least one vocal tag near the beginning of the track that announces the track as a Remix. This tag will give the listener a sense of excitement and anticipation while also letting them know that it is a remix.
**The Remixer must always remember that a remix that does not offer an enhancement of the original song is in fact, a remix that should not be done.
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