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Hip-Hop Writing and Production

Author: Michael Hamilton | Course Code: OCWPR-270

From its beginnings in the Bronx in the 70's, hip-hop has grown into a global phenomenon that today generates hundreds of millions of dollars a year worldwide in record sales, and provides the rhythmic and vocal underpinnings for songs by rock artists such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kid Rock, and Rage Against the Machine. This course will teach you the techniques that hip-hop producers use to create hit songs, and how to incorporate these skills into your own music. You will study writing and production considerations unique to hip-hop—from its distinctive drum beats and bass lines to its use of vocals, samples, and instrumentation. The course will explore hip-hop's history and the artists responsible for growing the genre into what it is today, including the Sugar Hill Gang, Run-DMC, Queen Latifah, Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre, P. Diddy, and others. You will learn how to analyze and recreate different styles of hip-hop music, and then use this foundation to produce your own songs using Propellerheads' Reason software. You will develop drum and bass grooves, build arrangements, and apply the techniques that lead to complete hip-hop productions. The tools and strategies you learn in this course can be applied to the production of any musical style.

You will learn to:

Use writing and production criteria to analyze and recreate hip-hop songsProgram your own drum beats and loops using Propellerheads' Reason softwareCreate bass, guitar, keyboard, and horn parts for hip-hop arrangementsUse proper mic placement and production techniques for recording rap vocalsApply hip-hop mixing and mastering techniques to your songs

Berklee Online and Propellerhead have come together to offer an educational discount on Reason 7. Once you enroll in the course, you will be able to purchase this package at the discounted price through the Required Course Materials link on your My Home page. Early enrollment is encouraged to ensure software delivery prior to the start of the course.

Lesson 1: Hip-Hop Origins and Drums

Hip-Hop's Early DaysHip-Hop Drum Set, Percussion, and LoopsCritical Listening and AnalysisProgramming Beats and LoopsProduction Analysis

Lesson 2: Hip-Hop Bass

Hip-Hop Meets the Major Label: Kurtis BlowCritical Listening and AnalysisCreating Hip-Hop Bass LinesBass Sounds & ModulesProduction

Lesson 3: The Guitar Meets Rap

Hip-Hop with Rock Riffs: Run-DMCCritical Listening and AnalysisGuitar Writing Styles and PerformanceGuitar Sounds and Sound ModulesProduction

Lesson 4: The Hip-Hop Motif

Women Pioneers of Hip-HopCritical Listening and AnalysisLead Sounds and ModulesHip-Hop MotivesProduction

Lesson 5: Hip-Hop Keyboards

Gangsta Rap and the West Coast: Tupac ShakurCritical Listening and AnalysisPiano/Keyboard Sounds and ModulesWriting for Piano/KeyboardProduction

Lesson 6: Recording Audio Basics

East Coast Rap: Puff Daddy and Biggie SmallsBounce to DiskWorking with AudacityCritical Listening and AnalysisWhat a Producer Should Look For in a RapMic Placement for Rap Vocal RecordingRap Vocal Production Techniques

Lesson 7: Midterm Project

ReviewSong FormMidterm Project

Lesson 8: The DJ, Scratching, and Samples in Hip-Hop

History of The DJScratching and Its UsesCritical Listening and AnalysisBreakdownsSampling In Audacity and Using Free Download Samples in ReasonProduction of Samples and Scratches

Lesson 9: Hip-Hop Horns

History: Dr. DreCritical Listening and AnalysisSounds And Layering: Modules and HitsWriting Styles for Individual Horns and Horn SectionsHorn Blends and Production

Lesson 10: Strings In Rap

Contemporary Strings In RapCritical Listening and AnalysisSounds And Layering: Modules And HitsWriting Styles for Pizzicato, Arco, Sweeping, and Section StringsProduction

Lesson 11: Mixing

Critical Listening and AnalysisBalance (Basics In Panning, Levels, Stereo Image)Overall Effects (Mastering) BasicsMutes, Automation, Proper LevelsFinished ProductLesson 12: Final ProjectReviewOriginal SongFinal ProjectWrap-Up

Michael Hamilton

Author & Instructor

Mike Hamilton has been producing, writing, recording, and performing music for over twenty years. He was a member of the late night band for the BET television show Live from LA, where he wrote and produced hip-hop pieces for guest artists such as Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, Warren G, Method Man, P. Diddy, and Mystical. He has produced recordings for Interscope, Island Def Jam, and BGP Records. His recordings include Heart and Soul with the Winans, Thus Spoke Z with CTI, and the solo albums Natural Attraction and Here Together. While the saxophone is his principal instrument, he also plays keyboards, bass, and drums.

Hamilton has appeared and toured with multi-platinum recording artists such as James Brown, Tyrese, Savage Garden, Coolio, Joe, Ronny Jordan, Jonathan Butler, and Phil Perry. He has performed at the BBC London, the NFL World Bowl IX Halftime Show, the Turn Ben Stein On TV show, and the Today show. He has been featured at the Boston Globe Jazz Festival and the Santa Barbara Jazz Festival. He received his bachelor of music degree from Berklee College of Music, where he is now an assistant professor in the Contemporary Writing and Production department.

Producing Music with Reason or equivalent knowledge or experience, along with a basic understanding of music theory.

None

PC Web Browser: Firefox (Recommended), Chrome, Internet Explorer 10 or higherMac Web Browser: Firefox (Recommended), Chrome, SafariFlash Player: current versionQuickTime: current versionAdobe Reader: current versionReason 8 purchased separately, see discount details below:

Berklee Online and Propellerhead have come together to offer an educational discount on Reason 8. Once you enroll in the course, you will be able to purchase this package at the discounted price through the Required Course Materials link on your My Home page. Early enrollment is encouraged to ensure software delivery prior to the start of the course.

Windows 7 or laterIntel or AMD processor with dual cores4 GB RAM or more3 GB free hard disk spaceMonitor with 1024x768 resolution or largerA 16 bit Windows compatible audio card, preferably with an ASIO driverFree USB port for Ignition KeyAudio interface (optional)Speakers or headphones for your computerAny MIDI controller
Mac OS X 10.7 or laterProcessor: Intel Mac (multiple cores highly recommended)Memory: 4 GB RAM or more highly recommended3 GB free hard disk space (program may use up to 20 GB scratch disk space)Free USB port for Ignition KeyAudio interface (optional)Speakers or headphones for your computerAny MIDI controller
  • Level
  • Duration
    12 weeks
  • 3-Credit Tuition
    $1,449
  • or
  • Non-Credit Tuition Add 6 CEUs
    $1,200 + $25

Winter Term Starts January 12 for Courses and Multi-Course Certificates


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Enroll by November 7 to save up to $300 on select Music Production, Songwriting, Music Business, and Performance courses.

Details