In this article, we will discuss the essential elements behind how to create the complete afrobeats instrumental beat or track. Maybe you need an instrumental beat to lay down some afrobeat vocals or rap. Perhaps, you instead want to collaborate with an afrobeat rapper, musician or vocalist or maybe you just want to produce an instrumental beat for a film or movie. Well, this article will guide you in the right direction to making a complete afrobeats instrumental beat or track for whatever your purpose may be.
Laying down the kick
It is good idea to take time when deciding the perfect kick for your afrobeat instrumental. A punchier, harsher kick can be used for afrobeat’s dance or house tracks where a more acoustic or afrobeat’s ballad would require a smoother more analog kick. It is a good idea to explore and try out many different kick plugins and instrument sounds to really obtain the sound you desire and you feel fits your track best.
A good exercise when deciding your kick is to listen to your favourite afrobeat’s tracks and to just listen to the kick. When listening to these tracks, identify a kick which really inspires you and grabs your attention. Then through manipulating your plugins and kick sounds you can aim to best emulate this kick sound. Cutting the relevant kick which has inspired you and then comparing this to your kick can be a good exercise. This is a good method to find a kick that really suits the afrobeats genre and a good map to guide you when listening to recorded audio or sample kicks. When producing an afrobeats instrumental beat it is a good idea to layer your kick with a sub kick or sub bass, this will give your beat more drive and more importantly, more power overall when you add in the other layers of drums.
Cutting and pasting the individual drum elements
In this section, I will explain how to maximise your drum sample and loop banks/tracks which come readily available with production programmes such as Logic. When mastering the craft of creating afrobeat instrumentals, I would advise you to invest time in downloading and searching for the many sample packs and bundles which exist out there as these can be easily implemented into your tracks.
When creating an afrobeats beat there are many different drum instruments and elements which separate those amateur tracks from those really crisp professional tracks. Many different drum sounds make up an afrobeat instrumental, these may include: congas, bongos, & Akuas. A good way to select the best individual drum sounds for your track is to scan through your loop banks and sample packs, identifying an individual drum sound that really resonates with you. Assuming these loop tracks are adjusted to the tempo of your track, you can simply zoom into the individual drum sound, cut it and paste it into your drum layers. When this process is done with several different drum sounds you can quickly and simply build a well layered drum beat for your afrobeat instrumental.
Have fun experimenting with different kick sounds and drum samples & loops. Don’t be afraid to jump outside the traditional genres and modern instrument sounds. As long you keep a polyrhythmic rhythm and tempo you will be building a great foundation for your afrobeat track.
Remember, invest time in researching and identifying new instrument sounds and plugins/VSTs. This time will really separate your instrumental from the amateur tracks out there, giving it that professional, crisp sound. Enjoy producing and please contact me if you have any queries or requests for help.