Hip Hop & Beat Making
Course 3: Drums

Drums can emphasize a precise moment in a piece of music, they can move a song forward to the next bar, provide a sense of space or an element of interest, and perhaps most importantly stir up the listener and rouse their emotions. Drums have been at the center of hip hop since before the term “hip hop” came to be.

The now-ubiquitous American musical art form now known as “hip hop” started with looping breakbeats as music beds for MCs to rap over, and dancers to break and pop over. The drum’s role in the evolution of hip hop gave birth to a multitude of ways for drums to be used across many different genres and subgenres.

This drum course will explain what makes an instrument “percussive,” the characteristics of sounds generated by snares, toms, and cymbals, how they’re situated in a conventional drum kit, and how they’ve been used in hip hop production. You’ll then learn syncopation, kick drum patterns, breakbeats, ornamentals, swinging beats, laying, stacking, and more!

When this course is finished, you should be able to identify the parts of a drum set and how they are used for basic rhythms, program drums in your DAW, identify the remaining parts of a drum kit, and explain drum techniques such as sequencing and creating a basic beat.

Your listening library will be to dissect The Money Store from Death Grips and your digital field trip will be to continue watching Hip-Hop Evolution and provide a short synopsis of what you saw. You’ll also do a little research into yourself, or at least the name you plan on using, to ensure there aren’t any conflicts with existing artists.