This article will discuss how long it takes to complete a trap beat or song from scratch.
Trap music is a genre of hip-hop that originated in the Southern United States. Its heavy use of 808 drums characterizes it, sliding basslines, synthesizers, and autotuned Rap/Pop/R&B vocals. A trap beat is a specific type of instrumental used in trap music, which typically features a fast tempo and a heavy bassline.
Here are a few popular trap songs: “Sicko Mode” by Travis Scott feat. Drake, “God’s Plan” by Drake, “Mask Off” by Future, “Rockstar” by Post Malone feat. 21 Savage, “Bodak Yellow” by Cardi B, “Bad and Boujee” by Migos feat. Lil Uzi Vert’s “Congratulations” by Post Malone feat. Quavo, “No Limit” by G-Eazy feat. A$AP Rocky and Cardi B, “Stir Fry” by Migos, and “XO TOUR Llif3” by Lil Uzi Vert.
Now let’s get into the main question.
How Long Does It Take You To Make a Trap Beat/Song?
Some producers may be able to create a basic Trap beat in a matter of minutes, while others may spend hours or even days perfecting it. However, if you count the number of hours (which may be distributed in any number of days), from personal experience, it takes about 1-30 hours to make a trap beat/song.
However, it’s important to note that the time it takes to create a full trap song can vary widely depending on factors such as the song’s length, the lyrics’ complexity, and the overall production quality desired. Let’s break it down.
How do you make Trap music/beat?
To make trap music, you must have a basic understanding of the genre and its essential elements. The trap music genre has evolved over the years, but at its core, it typically includes certain key elements such as fat 808 bass lines, fast hi-hat patterns, and hard-hitting snares or claps.
Let’s see all of that in-depth.
The genre is known for its energetic beats and high bass levels, and its popularity has only continued to grow. You will need Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software to create a trap beat. Various options are available, such as FL Studio, Ableton Live, Logic Pro, etc.
FL Studio, for example, offers a great GUI for producing trap beats because of its easy sample drag-and-drop workflow, intuitive & fast MIDI programming, and a simple playlist window for arranging your sections. Given below is the image of a beat arranged in FL Studio.
Once you have your DAW, you can start by selecting a tempo for your beat, usually between 130-160 BPM. A typical trap beat will have a fast-paced tempo, and you must work on creating a consistent beat pattern that flows seamlessly with the bass line.
The 808 bass line is the backbone of most trap beats. It is a deep, thumping sound that provides a lot of low-end frequency to the track. Once you have your basic beat pattern, you can layer different sounds to create a unique sound. You may want to experiment with different samples and presets to create a unique sound to make your beat stand out.
There are several excellent 808 plugins available, each with unique features and sound characteristics. Some of the best 808 plugins include the Roland TR-808 plugin by Roland, the SubBoomBass 2 plugin by Rob Papen, SubLab XL, etc. The Roland TR-808 plugin is a faithful recreation of the iconic drum machine, providing users with the same classic sound as the original hardware.
The SubBoomBass 2 plugin is known for its powerful bass sound and a range of modulation options, making it a great choice for electronic dance music producers. Finally, the XO plugin and SubLab XL combine drum machine samples with a powerful sequencer, allowing users to create intricate rhythms and patterns easily.
Below is the image of SubLab, one of the best 808 and bass plugins, because of its easy customizations, legato and glide controls, synthesizer x sampler workflow, great range of effects, and different envelopes for volume, control, and pitch.
Programming 808s on an instrument like this takes way less time, as you save a lot of time on processing and setting the tone. The plugin sounds great right off the bat. Overall, these 808 plugins offer high-quality sound and a range of features to help producers create powerful, groovy beats.
The next essential element of trap music is the use of hi-hats. These are usually fast-paced and provide a crisp and clean sound to the beat. You can experiment with different patterns, such as double-time or triple-time hi-hats, to create a unique feel to the beat.
Another critical aspect of trap music is the use of snares or claps. These sounds typically hit hard and give the beat a sense of power. They can be used in various ways, such as in the downbeat or as a buildup to the drop. You can also add other percussion elements, such as shakers or tambourines, to add a sense of rhythm and groove.
Numerous trap drum sample packs offer unique and high-quality sounds for producers. Some of the best trap drum sample packs include the “808 Warfare” pack by Producers Choice, the “Ultimate Trap One-Shots” pack by Capsun ProAudio, and the “Trapped In The 80’s: The Drum Collection” pack by The Drum Broker. The 808 Warfare pack features over 800 samples, including 808s, drums, and percussion sounds, and is widely regarded as one of the best 808 sample packs available.
The Ultimate Trap One-Shots pack is known for its hard-hitting and punchy sounds, perfect for creating high-energy trap beats. Finally, the Trapped In The 80’s pack features a collection of vintage-inspired drum sounds that can add a unique and nostalgic feel to trap productions.
These trap drum sample packs offer a wide range of high-quality sounds and are a great resource for producing hard-hitting and dynamic trap beats.
You can also use plugins like UJAM Beat Maker Glory, an all-in-one Trap and Pop Drum plugin and beat sequencer of some great-sounding modern trap drum sounds, presets, and patterns. It’s especially great for live performances and finger drumming, as all its samples are assigned to different MIDI notes.
Additionally, plugins save you time selecting sounds and samples, making the process faster. These are great for quick inspiration and creating demos on the go. It takes less than five minutes to program drums with a plugin like Glory.
Lastly, drums are considered the essential element in trap music production, as they lay the foundation of this genre.
Once you have your beat, it’s time to start layering in other track elements. This is where you can start synthesizing sounds from your sound library to create a unique melody or riff that will set your track apart. Several synths are popular among trap music producers, each with unique features and sound characteristics.
Some of the best synths for trap music include Serum by Xfer Records, Omnisphere by Spectrasonics, and Massive by Native Instruments. Serum is popular for its powerful sound engine and extensive modulation options, allowing users to create intricate and dynamic soundscapes.
Serum is a great synthesizer for creating synths for the trap genre. It may take 25-30 minutes to create a synth from scratch using the plugin. But plenty of presets are available online by which you can get the right sound in under ten minutes.
For example, you can find the Cyamtics Black Serum Suite and load it on Serum, as it has a dedicated Serum preset pack.
Omnisphere is known for its vast sound library and versatile sound design capabilities, making it a great choice for exploring new and unique sounds. Finally, Massive is a classic synth used in countless trap productions for its ability to create big, heavy bass sounds.
These synths are popular among trap music producers for their high-quality sound and versatility, making them essential tools for creating hard-hitting and dynamic trap beats. Next, you should experiment with different effects, such as distortion, reverb, and delay, to create more complex and interesting sounds.
For example, Mike Dean (producer of NWA, Kanye West, Travis Scott, and more) had a huge role in the evolution of the Trap sound we hear today. Watch the below video to discover how he uses synths to create a great sound design in music.
Next, study sampling is a huge part of hip-hop and trap music. Sampling is a fundamental element of hip-hop and Trap music, where producers use pre-recorded audio clips to create beats and melodies. Samples can be taken from various sources, including other songs, movies, and even video games, and can be manipulated in various ways to create unique and original sounds.
In hip hop, sampling has been used extensively since the genre’s inception, with producers like DJ Premier and J Dilla renowned for their innovative use of samples. In Trap, sampling has also become a well-known technique, with producers often using samples to create the iconic melodies and basslines that define the genre.
Several software samplers can help producers create unique and dynamic sounds when creating trap music. Some of the best samplers for Trap include Kontakt by Native Instruments, Ableton Sampler, FL Studio’s Slicex, Falcon by UVI, Serato Sample by Serato, XO by XLN Audio and MPC Software by Akai.
Kontakt is a versatile and powerful sampler with a vast library of sounds. It offers advanced editing and modulation options, making it an ideal tool for creating complex and intricate trap melodies. Check out the best Trap Kontakt Libraries here.
Ableton Sampler is another popular choice, with intuitive controls and the ability to quickly manipulate and edit samples. Next, MPC Software is a classic sampler used extensively in hip-hop and Trap music and is known for its intuitive interface and creative workflow. These samplers are popular among trap producers for their high-quality sound and versatility, making them essential tools for creating unique and powerful trap beats.
FL Studio Slicex is a perfect example of a great sampling plugin. The auto-slice feature of the plugin lets you quickly chop your waveform into smaller chunks and assign them to different MIDI notes.
To chop a sample in FL Studio, load up the sample as shown in the image below.
Further, you can use the transient detection algorithm in the plugin by selecting “Auto Slice > Medium/Sharp auto-slicing” to automatically chop your sample and assign different chops to different MIDI notes.
If you’re not an FL Studio user, you can do similar and more advanced slicing and editing of samples in any other DAW using Serato Sampler.
Further, while sampling can be a powerful tool for creativity and expression, it is also subject to legal and ethical considerations. Producers must know copyright laws and obtain appropriate permissions or licenses before using samples in their music.
Tracklib is a popular website allowing producers to legally sample from a vast library of songs. However, there are several other sampling websites available that offer similar services. Some of the best sampling websites include WhoSampled, Splice, and Looperman.
WhoSampled is a website that allows users to explore the history of sampled music, providing information on the original songs and artists sampled in various tracks. Next, Splice is a subscription-based service that provides users with a vast library of sounds and samples that can be used in various musical genres, including hip-hop and Trap.
Looperman is a website offering a large library of royalty-free loops and samples, making it a great resource for producers looking to create unique sounds. These websites offer a wide range of samples and sounds that can be used in Trap and other genres, providing producers with a wealth of resources to help them create unique and original music.
Finally, once you have all the track elements in place, it’s time to start arranging and mixing the music. This involves putting all the different parts of the track together to create a cohesive and dynamic whole. You’ll need to experiment with different levels and panning for each element of the track and use EQ and other effects to create a balanced and polished sound.
Secondly, autotune is important in Trap. Autotune is a vocal processing technique that has become synonymous with the trap music genre, with many artists using it to create a unique and distinctive sound. Autotune works by analyzing the pitch of a vocal recording and correcting any off-pitch notes, creating a smoother and more polished sound.
In trap music, autotune is often used to create a melodic and harmonized vocal effect, allowing artists to experiment with different vocal melodies and harmonies that might not be possible with traditional singing techniques. Autotune has become an essential tool for many trap music artists, helping to create a distinct sound and style that has become synonymous with the genre.
Several autotune plugins can help producers and artists achieve the distinctive sound associated with trap music. Some of the best autotune plugins include Antares Autotune, Waves Tune, and Melodyne. Antares Autotune is popular among music producers and artists, providing advanced features and real-time pitch correction capabilities.
Waves Tune is another highly-regarded autotune plugin that offers a variety of advanced features, including the ability to create harmonies and adjust vibrato.
To use the Waves Tune, select the scale/key of the song by selecting the root note and the scale (minor, major, pentatonic, etc.).
Next, set the speed and note transition controls/knobs. When you do that, the plugin will detect whenever the input goes out of the key and change the pitch to bring it back into the song’s key.
Melodyne is a more advanced and expensive option, offering advanced pitch and time manipulation capabilities that allow users to fine-tune individual notes and phrases.
Next, let’s discuss some vocals plugins that you can use. Many vocal plugins are available for producers and engineers to use when creating and mixing hip-hop tracks. Some best plugins for hip-hop vocals include the Waves CLA Vocals, the Antares Autotune, and the iZotope Nectar.
The Waves CLA Vocals is a popular choice that offers a range of compression, EQ, and reverb tools to help create a polished and professional sound. iZotope Nectar offers a suite of vocal processing tools that help users to manipulate individual tracks or create unique harmonies and layers.
Other popular vocal plugins include the FabFilter Pro-Q 3, which offers advanced EQ controls, and the Soundtoys Little AlterBoy, which offers a range of creative pitch-shifting and vocal manipulation tools. Ultimately, the best hip-hop vocal plugin will depend on the user’s specific needs and preferences.
This is what my plugin chain (consisting of plugins like FabFIlter’s Pro-Q3, Pro C2, Pro-DS, Pro MB, etc.,) for rap vocals looks like:
Still, these options are all widely used in the music production industry and can help create professional and polished vocal tracks. If you are creating a full-fledged song, it’s also important to write good lyrics, record great vocals, and have a vocal tone that fits into your beats. All of that could take a lot of time.
- Study other producers
Many producers have contributed significantly to the trap music genre, each with its unique style and approach. Some best trap producers include Metro Boomin, Zaytoven, 808 Mafia, Wandagurl, Mike Dean, Kanye West, Hit-boy, Mike WiLL Made-It, etc.
Metro Boomin is known for his minimalist and hard-hitting beats that have become synonymous with the modern trap sound, producing hits for artists like Future, 21 Savage, and Lil Uzi Vert. Zaytoven is a legendary producer who has been instrumental in shaping the trap sound, having worked with artists like Gucci Mane, Migos, and Future.
Mike WiLL Made-It has been responsible for producing some of the biggest trap hits of the past decade, having worked with artists like Rae Sremmurd, Kendrick Lamar, and Beyonce. Lastly, Kanye’s 808s & Heartbreaks is great for studying the fundamentals of trap production and how the evolution started.
The autotune sound on the album inspired the likes of Drake, Travis Scott, ASAP Rocky, and more. Further, albums like Astroworld by Travis Scott, Future’s Future, Metro Boomin’s Heroes & Villains and Not All Heroes Wear Capes, and Internet Money’s B4 The Storm are great case studies for trap music.
Metro Boomin’ Heroes & Villains
These producers have significantly impacted the trap music genre and helped shape modern hip-hop’s sound, making them some of the industry’s most respected and influential producers.
Finally, after we know what it takes to be a trap producer, I will answer the main question based on other factors.
For an experienced producer with a clear idea of the beat or song they want to create, it might take a few hours to produce a complete track. However, producing a high-quality beat or song could take several days or weeks for someone new to the genre or experimenting with different sounds and techniques.
Making a trap beat typically involves selecting and manipulating individual sounds and samples to create a unique melody and rhythm. This can involve layering multiple sounds, adding effects and filters, and adjusting the tempo and timing of the beat to create a dynamic and engaging sound.
For a complete trap song, the production process may involve additional steps, such as recording vocals, arranging different sections of the song, and adding additional instrumentation and effects to create a fully-realized sound.
We have seen how much detailing it takes to finish a song at a great quality. You must be familiar and experienced with the studio, the DAW, the equipment, the room, all the plugins, music theory, ear training, the synths, the artist’s voice, sample packs, and so much more.
If you are already familiar with these things, completing a trap beat should not take more than a few hours. If not, these are the basic things you need to learn, which you will learn as you create beats and practice. The best way to learn is through trial and error.
Ultimately, the time it takes to make a trap beat, or song can vary depending on various factors. Still, the most important thing is to take the time necessary to create a high-quality and unique sound representing the producer’s vision and style.
Hence, the more experienced you are, the more you understand the genre, the more music you have studied, and the more amount of time you have spent in the studio experimenting with different drums, synths, artists, and your DAW, the faster and better music you can make.
In conclusion, making trap music requires creativity, technical skill, and a deep understanding of the genre. By listening to a lot of trap music, building a sound library, creating beats, layering in other elements, and arranging and mixing the music, you can create unique and infectious tracks that stand out in the genre.
However, it’s important to keep experimenting and pushing yourself creatively, as the world of trap music is constantly evolving and changing. Some producers/artists can take a few hours to create a great-sounding trap song; some could take a few days, some could take a few weeks, and even a few months, depending on the complexity of the arrangement.
With most major artists, there’s a lot of back and forth between a team of producers and engineers, as one may specialize in sound design, and the other may specialize in sound selection. Someone else may specialize in vocal production, and so on. Hence, I recommend trial and error, working in the studio with other artists, and discovering your process.
I hope the article was of help. Thank you for reading.
Shaurya Bhatia, is an Indian Music Producer, Composer, Rapper & Performer, who goes by the stage name MC SNUB, and is also 1/2 of the Indian pop music duo, called “babyface”. A certified Audio Engineer & Music Producer, and a practicing musician & rapper for more than 6 years, Shaurya has worked on projects of various genres and has also been a teaching faculty at Spin Gurus DJ Academy.