Reason’s unique workflow and extensive sound library gives you everything you need to create Trap drums that will set your block on fire. Check out this video by Jelie303 from Kickback Couture to learn!

Pioneered in the mid-2000’s by producers like Lil Jon, DJ Paul and Mannie Fresh, and personified by street rappers such as T.I., Young Jeezy and Rick Ross, Trap music originated as an underground sub-genre of hip hop. However, since hits by Lex Luger and Waka Flocka Flame introduced the genre to the mainstream, Trap music has influenced the music of today’s top entertainers, including Beyonce, Kanye West, Beck and Katy Perry. In this tutorial we’re going to examine the signature drum beats of Trap music and show you how to use Reason to create your own block-rocking beats.

The hallmark of any Trap beat is the sound of booming 808 kicks, crisp claps, pitched snares and, last but not least, the syncopated bursts of hi-hat. Start your beat by browsing Reason’s massive sound library for a clap sample. Adjust the pitch higher for more snap, or lower for more pop. Once you’ve found a suitable clap, drag the sample directly into Reason’s intuitive sequencer. Set your tempo on the slower side, between 60 and 90 BPM, and add your clap sample to the 2 and 4 of each measure. This is known as the back-beat, and you’re going to add the other drum elements around this figure to keep your beat’s momentum moving forward.

The most unique features of Trap beats are the intricate syncopated hi-hat rhythms with high-speed bursts that seem to blur the lines between where each hit starts and ends, resulting almost into a discordant sustain. With the clap looping through your speakers, find a closed high-hat sample and drag it into a new track in the sequencer view. Begin by programming straight 16th notes onto the hat track. Now, copy this pattern to an instance of Redrum drum machine or RPG monophonic arpeggiator and use Reason’s quantize function to experiment with adding different rhythmic phrasings. Start by alternating between 16th note triplets, 32nd notes and 64th notes, and then punctuate the end of each phrase with a burst or two of 128th notes.

Now that you have the energy of the hi-hat ticking, let’s give the track some weight by focusing on the low end. Select a punchy 808 sample with a healthy attack from your library and drag it into a new track in the sequencer. Emphasize the downbeat by punctuating the first beat of each measure and leaving a space on the 3rd beat. Enhance the pocket by landing a few kicks on the “and” beats before and after the 3 (AND-three-AND). Now duplicate this pattern to a new instance of Redrum, but find a different 808 kick sample that features less attack but a lot more sustain. Experiment with the length of sustain to dramatically emphasize the booming effect. Additionally, you can create a bassline out of this kick sustain by adjusting the pitch each time the kick sample is sounded.

Finally, let’s put some pep in your beat’s step by layering in a hip-hop sounding snare drum. Instead of its usual placement on the backbeat (the 2 and the 4), program the snare to hit on the syncopated 16th notes between the 8th notes. For example, a typical Trap snare pattern might read as follows: “one-EEE-and-UH.” Similar to what we did with the high-hat, let’s add extra tension to the end of each phrase with a triplet snare drum that rises or falls in pitch. Create a new track and drag your snare drum sample into NN-XT Advanced Sampler. Use the different notes on the MIDI keyboard or sequencer roll to program a succession of 16th or 32nd note triplets, but each subsequent snare will now either rise or fall in pitch. You can use the frequency deviation feature of Decimort high-quality bit-crusher to add even more grit to the snare drum.

Now that you have an idea of how to create Trap beats in Reason 10, you can get to work banging out the next Trap masterpiece!

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