Creative Ways For Mixing Hip Hop & Trap Style Music

mixing trap and hiphop

One of the first things to take into consideration is the fact that mixing Trap Music is vastly different to mixing other types of Rap Music. For example, coordinating low end is a common aspect of mixing. This is when you try to get the bass and the kick to complement each other perfectly. With Trap Music however, the bass is typically also the kick.

Setting up ambiance is another example. When you’re working with your reverbs and delays in a regular type of mix, you need to choose settings and styles that are relevant to the tempo of the song you are working with. Trap Music on the other hand has a negotiable tempo! Additionally, when you mix you usually try to achieve a balance in the arrangement of instruments, but with trap music the arrangement of instruments can change from one second to the next, making it almost impossible to keep a static mix.

Getting a Killer Low End

Generally speaking, you need a massive “low end” in order to get a good trap mix. Volume also tends to become quite a challenge. You need a kick which is loud, but obviously there is a point where the volume of your kick will simply mask everything else.

Once you have determined the right level, your next challenge is to find ways to make the kick seem louder than it actually is. To be honest, there are many ways you can go about achieving this, but subtlety and taste are incredibly important because can very easily result in the kick appearing smaller or even bigger than it really is.

You Need Movement

The best way to deal with rhythm is to break your rhythm down into sub-rhythm, and then you address each of these individually. Long reverbs and delays should be put on slower elements, while short reverbs and delays should be put on faster elements. Once this has been achieved, you can begin blending the reverbs, but you always need to ensure that the resulting sound is cohesive. In short, you want a unified reverb that doesn’t encroach on any of the elements.

As a general rule, the faster elements should essentially be in attack mode, but you will need to increase the “sustain” of slower elements, including synths and snares. Fortunately, you will almost always find that the kick already has a hefty built-in sustain.

Keep the faster elements more attack driven – like hi-hats – but play up the “sustain” of the slower elements – like synths and snares. Usually the kick already has a huge built in sustain.

Arrangement

If the instrument arrangement changes, it is the mixer’s responsibility to make the necessary mixing adjustments, so as to compensate for the changes. Forget what you might have read about “Set and Forget” – When you are working with Trap Music, the Set & Forget approach simply won’t work. Fortunately, you can overcome most of these hurdles with nothing other than careful level adjustments. Nonetheless, some elements might call for EQ or compression adjustments to be done in certain segments. Lastly, don’t be afraid to experiment, and remember, you can copy an instrument onto a completely new track, and you can then treat that instrument differently in different segments of your track. This is one of the beauties of mixing Trap Music, you can be creative.

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