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Writing bass lines for a rapper?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by JoeBbass, Oct 30, 2013.

  1. A rapper friend has asked me and a couple of buddies to write some backing music for him to rap over.
    My first bass line was an arpeggio with a bit of rhythmic style.
    Any tips other that simple and repetitive?
  2. - leave some long rests at the end of each phrase for them to riff on.
    - hold out a single note for a while before starting a phrase to give them a lead in.
  3. Hugh_R


    Sep 9, 2008
    London, UK
    Hi Joe. I've just launched a new youtube series all about this subject. It includes tutorials on how to analyse other parts to get rhythms, which notes to choose and how to add rhythmic variation. Part 1 is live now with the other two lessons ready for release over the next two weeks. Check it out! Hopefully you'll find it useful!

  4. LowEnd88


    May 21, 2009
    listen to The Roots
    codycon96 likes this.
  5. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"... Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    It doesn't have to be simple but it does have to be funky.
    Matthew_84 likes this.
  6. Live and learn.
    I was under the impression all of THAT "music" was sampled and synth.
  7. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"... Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    You haven't listened to enough of THAT "music" then.
  8. You certainly have to have a good rhythm going and usually a little off beat helps too. Don't force it though, just lay back and groove - be funky.

    Pauses/rests are very important, as are changing up your note values (half notes, 16th's, etc).

    Lots of chromaticism, and/or minor scales.

    Play along with the kick drum, and give some space for the snare.

    I like to try to always play on the "1", whether its the beginning of a phrase, the tail end of it, or somewhere in between.

    Listen to Dr. Dre's beats - most of those were recorded by real bassists in his studio, but he sampled their playing. But he, IMO, has some of the best basslines in hip hop. Other notable artists with good hip hop basslines are Outkast, Jay-Z, Tupac (with or without Dre), and A Tribe Called Quest.

    Listen to tracks produced by Raphael Saadiq and J Dilla.

    Also listen to D'Angelo's Voodoo album, and other NuSoul basslines by Pino Palladino.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
    LowEnd88, LowLife350 and HolmeBass like this.
  9. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    I thought this was done by sampling old Bootsy lines from 40 year-old LPs.
  10. Well that would be subjective.
    I find that in fact I have listened to MORE than enough.:thumbsup:
  11. Obese Chess

    Obese Chess I'm Your New Dad Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2005
    Portland, OR
    I'm a rapper and a bass player and the biggest thing is, as others have stated, to keep it simple, let it breathe, and just groove. I usually do very simple riffs on the root chords of the beat/sample, seems to go over well.
  12. Why people open threads geared towards music they have a negative feeling towards is beyond me... Then to go out and reply within it is even more baffling.
    PullThePlug likes this.
  13. PullThePlug


    Jan 8, 2014
    While some folks get their samples from their favorite .38 Special records,

    This is some pretty great advice. It gives the rapper (the focus of the group) a stronger presence. Save those pauses and sustained notes for pivotal points of the song, especially during clever and quick chats
    xgator4u likes this.
  14. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"... Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Well, if you listened to old Sugar Hill Records and Enjoy Records releases then you would have heard mostly a live band re-creating funk and disco tracks of the day - not samples or synth. If you listened to records by people like Kurtis Blow in the early 80s you'd hear the same - plus some original lines. Eric B. & Rakim, Young M.C., Dr. Dre, Digable Planets, Soulive, Me'shell - there are countless examples of live bass in hip-hop throughout the 80s, 90s and 2000s....
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
    xgator4u, codycon96 and HolmeBass like this.
  15. groooooove

    groooooove Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    hiphop should be no different than anything else, the bassline needs to work first and foremost as a bassline. then, after you've got a suitable musical idea, thats when you treat it to stylistically work for the hiphop thing your working on.
    bass12 likes this.
  16. Toptube

    Toptube Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2009
    squidtastic and kdemello1980 like this.
  17. Look I can ONLY speak for myself. I saw something interesting. I LEARNED that my preconceived notion of rap music being all sampled and synthed based upon the fact that EVERY rapper I have seen may have dancers and people on stage, but what I do NOT see is musical instruments, as in a live band.WAS WRONG
    Therefore I commented that LIVE and LEARN.
    You for some reason have a PROBLEM with that.

    If I saw a thread about writing bass guitar lines for OPERA, I would find THAT interesting as well.
    Would THAT offend you?
  18. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"... Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Are you really surprised that your remark came off as being sarcastic when you referred to hip-hop as "THAT 'music'''?
    HolmeBass likes this.
  19. The problem was you put quotes around "music" when you made that comment. It was intended as an insult, plain and simple, and now you're trying to backtrack.

  20. Well THAT is descriptive in as it delineates THAT music from OTHER music.
    If I were talking Country music THAT music would be viewed more typically with instruments such as Acoustic guitars, steel guitars etc.

    Crap if the word THAT in reference to your particular favorite genre offends you, I would suggest you report THAT.
    Of course you most likely HAVE already clicked on THAT link.

    Does THAT surprise me?
    Not in the least.

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