Skip to main content

Reverb use in Hip-Hop

Member for

21 years 3 months
I've read in here about people using different reverbs to create depth in a mix. How much reverb is typically used in hip hop music? We're talking in-your face sound here, so would one use less verb?


Member for

21 years 3 months

archived member Thu, 04/04/2002 - 20:53
Not necessarily. It depends how you define Hip Hop. and which Artists you personally see as helping to define this genre.

Hip Hop, like most forms of contemporary music, is a constantly evolving form. It is adaptive, and at its best an eclectic and creative blend of many influences.Surely it is part of the power of the individual vision that determines its form?

If reverb fits with the particular instance and works in this context use it in whatever way you like. Otherwise what are you going to do? Assemble a panel of Twelve Arbitors of The Holy Grail, and banish anybody to the waste lands that uses reverb?

On a technical level, reverb is present in most every naturally occuring sound we hear. It can be an extremely subtle, almost not there enhancement, or an "in your face" weird and extreme effect, used to provide drama, beauty, spatial imaging in sound,
and can help to more define particular instruments, voices a mix.

Take risks, make mistakes, find beauty, power and relevance through experimentation and mistakes.

Keep it a living, breathing thing of poetry and ryhthm. Just My Humble Opinion.

Member for

21 years 2 months

e-cue Fri, 04/05/2002 - 03:14
I generally (no rules in music right?) use much, much less verb in hip-hop. When I do, they are usually ambience and room reverbs. Reverbs tend to make a lot of sounds sound either too pretty or too adult comtempo. A lot of times where I would typically use a reverb when doing R&B or Pop music, I'll use a delay or flanger, etc... On vocals, I 'over compress' a lot of the time so my rappers sound like they have limitless breath control. When I do this, I obviously raise the noise floor, and 'ambient' sound in the vocal. This is something I have to be cafeful with.
One of the common mistakes I see in hip-hop is that engineers that don't listen to hip-hop and haven't been doing so for a long time try to make stuff sound like what's currently on the radio. Most rap has a very short shelf life, so if you craft your sound to what's on the radio NOW, it will sound dated 6 months from now when it comes out. Example: Back in the day we had drum loops and were limited on our drops, the early 90's you had groups like Pharcyde using long hall & chamber reverbs, Mid 90's were much darker sounding mixes like Pac, Blackstar, now they seem to be progressing to a more bright- less dark N.Y. sound like Jay Z, BEP, Rockwilder. It you follow rap trends, you'll be able to sort of predict the future and push the boundries of an incredibly limitless style of music.

Member for

21 years 3 months

archived member Sun, 04/07/2002 - 17:05
Hi folks. Don't know whether or not you know this,
but Hip Hop is quite big in Australia.

Yesterday, as part of a Rock concert held in a local Shire, I ran a "Hip Hop and DJ" workshop. Local rap and turntablist's set up shop in a marquee and strutted their stuff. Because Australian Hip Hop does not get any "mainstream" radio play, much of it is self financed or occurs on a co-operative basis, artists, artist run labels, etc. putting on gigs, running shows on community radio stations etc.

There was one turntablist in particular who was absolutely fantastic, sort of like a Jimi Hendrix of the Technics decks. Brilliant stuff. He was an Asian guy who I'm going to be tracking down and asking him to be involved in other things like this. I'll be setting up Hip Hop gigs in the small studio I run for the Aussie Commonwealth, we have a small performance space, with a small Mackie PA system (jeez quality?!!!!!!!), and as I said there is a lot of interest and support for Hip Hop here.

I'm an older "honky" - or as the indigenous black people here ("Aboriginal people") call it - "Gubbah". I've worked with quite a few younger Aboriginal Rap and Hip Hop artists. Great stuff. But can you imagine how hard it is for a young, black, Aboriginal Hip Hop/Rap artist to get support here? (No you can't).

My son (who's mother is a Koori) is really into this stuff so it's great. He can raid my Bee Gees
CD's (which he doesn't seem to do much - funny that) and I can raid his CD collection. I don't know how you guys here classify what is legitimate and what isn't but the sort of stuff I really like is by Artists such as Lords Of The Underground (I have their CD "Keepers of The Funk"), Rakim - "The 18th Letter -The Book Of Life". Bones Thugs and Harmony etc.

I'm setting up my own small but quality tracking studio's this year, and I'm looking foreward to recording some of the young Aboriginal guys I know and helping to get some of this stuff out.
If you're at all interested in what has gone on with Australia's Black indiginous people, since the white colonisation of Australia, there's a primer up here for you. Over on Julian's forum I put up a post recently "What Do Australian's Know About Sound". If you go to page two you'll find a bit where I start to talk about the Aboriginal Mission's. You might find it interesting - that is if you don't know any of the stuff that went (and is still going) on.

Kind regards :cool:

Member for

21 years 3 months

archived member Mon, 04/08/2002 - 10:10

Saw your Keyboard article today - nice one!!

I think it's worth experimenting with reverb because you can use it to create a contrast and cohesion with the dry and punchy. If everythings dry all the time it can lack impact.
Like drama, contrast is key to emotional hits.

My taste in hiphop is more in the Mowax vein so you might find my opinion's milage varies for you!!


Member for

21 years 3 months

archived member Mon, 04/08/2002 - 11:12
Thanks Renie,

Probably when it comes to hip-hop the person I admire most is Dr. Dre. I don't always agree lyrically, etc, but from an atistic/professional standpoint. One thing I hear from his production is clear kicks and tight lows, but his beats are not as bass-heavy as many other hip-hop producers our there.

One crtitical thing I think Dre realizes is that there's a lot more to his songs than just bass, and he doesn't want boom to mud up his often amazing instrumentation. For that he is very musical!

I also hear him using reverb more than other hip-hop producers. Especially some of Eminem's stuff there is definitly a noticable reverb going on the vocals to create that dramatic tension of being trapped in a room with sick/crazy, Slim Shady! For Tipper Gore that would definitely be some dramatic tension to be trapped in a small room with Eminem! Ha! I'd pay a lot of money to see that. Where is MTV? What a pitch for a new reality show! I'm sorry, MTV doesn't do shows anymore that have to do with MUSIC!