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Spinoff of hip hop bassline thread...

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by OriginalCrash, Jun 18, 2007.

  1. This isn't specifically about technique, so I apologize if it's posted on the wrong board. But I'm referencing the thread about the existence of a true hip hop bassline, so I wanted to keep it in the same place. I can't really answer the question, as I don't know enough about music theory and the history of music to identify exactly what would be a jazz bassline or funk or R&B or blues... or hip hop. However, I did note the amount of debate about whether or not the original question got answered, so here's my take on it... The original question asked for someone to explain a hip hop bassline, not give examples. While I remember reading many examples, I don't recall seeing where anyone actually spelled out the different traits and qualities that make the style of the bassline hip hop. That said, for all the examples that were given and discounted, I also don't remember seeing a lot of explanations saying why they weren't legitimate hip hop basslines. So this thread exists for two reasons... First, to restate what I believe was the original question... Can anyone sit down and explain exactly what makes up a hip hop bassline, as one could do with jazz or funk or other genres? And second, for people to continue to give examples of what they think to be hip hop basslines, and for others (who disagree) to state why they're not or what kind of bassline they actually are (excluding the ones that are very obviously samples). I'm not trying to stir up more trouble, as I'm sure the original poster wasn't, I'm just trying to clear up a lot of the disagreement and refocus the discussion. Again, I know I'm not qualified myself to make a definitive statement about it. But I think what we're dealing with is two groups of people with two definitions of "hip hop bassline." There are those looking at it from more of a theory point of view, who think that there needs to be certain qualities about the style of the bassline (regardless of what kind of music it's played in) that differentiate it from others, thus making it hip hop. Then there are those who see it from more of a genre perspective, who believe that the bassline's role in the hip hop song, along with all the other elements it's working with, makes it hip hop. Which is right? I don't know. Probably both, it just depends on which point of view you're looking at it from. If someone plays a very jazzy bassline in a rock song, it is still definitely a "rock" bassline, I think. Take it out of the song, though, and play it by itself, and someone could pick it apart and explain how/why it's a "jazz" bassline.

  2. anesthetist


    Nov 25, 2006
    "Can anyone sit down and explain exactly what makes up a hip hop bassline, as one could do with jazz or funk or other genres?"

    i would love to hear someone explain exactly what makes up a jazz bassline!

    for me the hiphop starts with the beat, that can be a slowed down amen break,an 808 beat or a beatboxing beat to name just a few, a hiphop bassline is there to accentuate the beat or take it to the next level. the bassline can make the hiphop beat funkier, fatter, darker etc etc etc bla bla bla.

    i really don't have a clue what the point of these threads are, but thats just me i suppose!
  3. i think that the question is too vague. for example, explain to me a "rock" bassline - it goes form motley crue to geddy lee to cliff burton to etc etc. you can't sum it all up in one paragraph.

    maybe tell us what *type* of hiphop you are talking about & i'll have a stab at explaining the idioms of the genre.

    lots of hiphop has no bassline at all.
  4. Well, it's not so much me that's looking for an answer. It just seemed to me that the previous thread had very much gotten to a "There are hip hop basslines! No, there aren't!" point, so I thought I'd start clean and see what came of it.

  5. i see. well, as I said, to explain what makes up a hiphop bassline is pretty much impossible unless you can be a bit more specific. there are many, many different types of hiphop that are very dissimilar.

    some hiphop has no bass at all
    some hiphop has bass that is made not by a bass, but a pitched kick drum
    some hiphop has simple one-note basslines
    some hiphop has sampled basslines
    some hiphop has funky r&b basslines
    some hiphop has 'rock' or blues type basslines
    some hiphop has sparse shuffled basslines
    some hiphop has jazz-type basslines
    some hiphop has 70's funk style basslines
    some hiphop has acoustic thumpy basslines
  6. morf

    morf Inactive

    Feb 17, 2006
    The first thread answers your question and more.
  7. I think you'll find that kind of variety in all (or at least most) genres of music, though... though perhaps not to that extent. And yet people still have what they consider to be jazz basslines or funk basslines or bluegrass basslines, etc. Granted, hip hop does seem to be a bit more "all-encompassing" than most other genres, due to how much it pulls from the various genres, but everyone kept throwing out either examples or accusations in the other thread... So I just thought I'd see if people could discuss the various components that make up a bassline of a certain genre. I'd chime in with more, but, as I said before, I'm not really qualified to say "this is what makes up a funk bassline, and this is what does/doesn't make a hip hop bassline."

  8. Not really. I didn't do an in-depth study of the original thread, but I don't recall seeing any of the people who insisted there are hip hop basslines explain the things that makes them hip hop (other than the genre of the song it's played in). Likewise, I remember a lot of people giving examples of what they said were hip hop basslines... I don't remember very many people saying, "No, that's not a hip hop bassline, that's a..." (except for when it was obviously a sampled bassline from a previous, specific song).

  9. i think you are missing the point here.

    your question does not have an answer as I've indicated & others have as well. Ask a different question that can be answered.

    i'll tell you what - you summarize to me what makes up a rock bassline & I'll tell you what makes up a hiphop bassline.
  10. I asked the same question in that thread and it was ignored.

    Specifically, if one were to examine it from a musical theory point of view, there might be some characteristics of the music that can be classified, e.g., common use of certain chords, progressions, rhythmic patterns, etc.
  11. gkbass13

    gkbass13 Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2006
    New York
    the original thread got a bit out of control. i feel like i made the same post 40 times and never got a proper response. a hip hop bassline is a bassline in a hip hop song. they can be jazzy, funky, or have soul, but they are still hip hop basslines.
  12. T-MOST


    Dec 10, 2004
    NJ via NYC
    It's like fine art... I can't explain it (Hip Hop) but I know it when I hear it.
  13. Okay, first of all, it's not really my question. The question was originally posed by another person... But the original poster never believed it was clearly answered. To be honest, I agree with him... in that there was a lot of discussion on the subject, but no clear answer to the specific question that he asked, which was for someone to explain to him what a hip hop bassline was. As for me explaining what a rock bassline is? Again, I'm not knowledgeable enough in music theory to do so effectively. But I've seen plenty people on here talk about rock basslines or jazz basslines or funk basslines, so apparently there are some things common to certain styles. I know that there is so much variety in any genre that there's no perfect explanation that will fit every time. But allow me to extend the range of your question to me. Let's go beyond just basslines and say this... Explain to me exactly what rock music is. Again, there's no perfect answer to that, because there's just too much variety within the umbrella of rock. But we have music that we call "rock," so clearly there must be some guidelines that establish what rock music is. Furthermore, people do talk about rock bassists and rock basslines and jazz basslines, etc., so there must be some sort of guidelines that differentiate those different styles of basslines, just as there are to differentiate between the varying styles of music. I'm not looking for a perfect answer... For that matter, I'm not really looking for anything. I just wanted to rephrase what I thought the original poster was asking (which I think is a valid question... as I just explained) to see if it got a better answer. Some people seem to believe that if a bassline is in a certain genre of music, it is that style of bassline (which I agree with). Some people seem to think that different styles of basslines seem to have certain characteristics making them so, regardless of what kind of song they're played in (which I also agree with... like I said in my original post, I think it just depends on what point of view you're looking at it from). But, again, people do talk about rock basslines vs. jazz basslines vs. funk basslines, etc., so apparently there is some way to describe them. All I was trying to do was get away from the "You're wrong. No, you're wrong." that the original thread had gravitated toward and get people to back up their points.

  14. my point is (that you seem to be missing) is that there are so many different TYPES of hiphop that you cannot pigeonhole "what is a hiphop bassline"

    in fact, i have mentioned (twice) that some hiphop DOESN'T EVEN HAVE BASSLINES.

    hiphop is not determined by the basslines. it is usually characterized by the VOCALS and the DRUMS. the bassline is whatever fits - there really is no idioms to hiphop basslines.

    there is no element that makes up a "hiphop bassline" because hiphop pulls instruments like piano, guitar, bass, etc from a multitude of different styles.

    it's like asking "what makes a hiphop piano part". it's a silly question because it has no answer.

    your question HAS been answered. many times.

    "does not pay attention in class.... C minus"


    ...oh, and just to qualify all of this & for what it's worth ...... i'm a hihop producer.
  15. Scot


    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    Seems to me like what came of it is that a 14 page thread just became a 15 page thread that's harder to follow.

  16. And my point (that you seem to be missing equally as much) is that I never said there is such a thing as a hip hop bass line. I was simply acting as an intermediary, trying to rephrase the question to get the people involved in the original discussion back on point. A lot of people were saying that there is such a thing as a hip hop bassline... I was asking for those people to say what (in their opinion) would make up such a thing. While none of them did so that I read, many of them did give examples of songs they thought had a "hip hop bassline." The people who said there is no such thing simply discounted those examples, saying that the bassline was borrowed, influenced, etc... I was asking for those people to specifically say in those examples why that particular bassline could not be considered an original hip hop bassline and just what style was it exactly and why. I'm aware that not all hip hop has a bassline (but then neither does all rock... you could probably find multiple examples of that case for most all instruments in most all genres). But to respond to your comment about hip hop/rap being defined moreso by the vocals and the drums, one person mentioned that not all hip hop has vocals/rapping and there is entirely instrumental hip hop. Of course, I'm going entirely by them on that, as I don't personally know of any examples. Anyway, I didn't mean for this to become an accusation war (and hopefully it hasn't... good discussions can get a little heated, after all), I was just trying to ask for a little clarity from both sides of the argument before...

  17. And on an interesting note, almost none of the people involved in the original discussion posted here... Lot of good that did lol.


  18. my point is that the SONG makes it a hiphop bassline...not the bassline itself... it's ahiphop bassline because it's in a hiphop SONG. you would have a hard time listening to a bass part & saying "hey, that's a hiphop style bassline".... understand?

    i think this is something that you are not getting.... nor are mnay of the original posters.

    there is no idiom of a "hiphop bassline".... but there *is* "hiphop drums"... :)

    i know you didn't ask the question, but you put it out there again.... so to me it's you asking the question :)

  19. I believe that is exactly the point of the original post - there's no such thing as a hip-hop bass line.

    There are musical characteristics that can establish a line as country, or blues, or rock, or metal. These do not apply in all instances, across all songs, but only in a general sense.

    I think that there must be a better answer from a musical theory point of view than "because it's in a song of that style."

    For example, if I play a driving 8th note line, most would identify it as a rock style. A 1-5-1-5 with walkups between the changes would be called "country." A walking line across a I-IV-V progression would be called blues.

    Maybe you could say they are the musical cliches of that particular genre, although they may be used elsewhere. And there are many branches within a particular genre of music that have differing aspects of its own.
  20. That was my point, was that a lot of people kept insisting that there was such a thing as a hip hop bassline, but they never said what one was. Since they were insisting there was such a thing, I was asking if they could explain what it would be (other than just "it's in a hip hop song... which I think is a valid argument from one point of view but doesn't hold up in a theory discussion). And for those who said there wasn't such a thing, I just wanted them to pick apart the examples that were given. For example, the song Deja Vu was mentioned (I don't know it)... What kind of bassline would that be, if not hip hop? I know I was the one that restated the question, so I understand directing the answers at me instead of a bunch of people who haven't even posted in this thread (I just wanted to make sure you knew that I wasn't trying to advance the idea that there is such a thing as a hip hop bassline). I also understand the point you're making about there being no unified hip hop bassline style. I just wanted both sides of the argument to go a step beyond the points they were making and give examples (since it was going anywhere the way it was).

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