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Hip Hop Drum Patterns

Welcome to our guide to hip hop drum programming and hip hop drum patterns, there’s 8 patterns that you can copy and use. You can hear one of the beats directly below, scroll down to hearing the rest…

See also: Trap Drum Patterns, How To Make Dubstep, Electro Drum Patterns, UK Garage Drum Pattern, Techno Drum Patterns and Programming Tips, Drum And Bass Drum Patterns, House Drum Patterns, Studio Brootle 808 Sample Pack.


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Hip Hip Drum Programming Tips

  • BPM: What bpm is hip hop? 80-100 bpm in general, but it is a wide range! Obviously there are much faster tracks too, depending on the track style and MC etc, as well as the other samples used, they may only work well at a certain BPM. I aim for 85-95bpm.
  • Use big long 808 style kicks.
  • Use sampled breaks and drums. If you do, pitch them down. And gel everything together with swing.
  • Steal swing – you can take the groove off other tracks and apply it to your own – this was a technique used with Akai samplers and is easy to do in Ableton or any DAW – you can use the same swing from other similar hip hop tracks, or use the swing from funk and jazz records. For a full guide on how todo this, see our guide: Extract Groove Ableton.
  • Double up! Once you have a bar you like, double it over 2 bars and then add variation (ie an extra kick) to it. You can do this endless – double the loop and change the last bar for a long evolving pattern.

Hip Hop Drum Patterns

For all these patterns I set the tempo to 90 BPM and used a Roland 808 kit. You can download my tr808 sample pack here. Feel free to change the patterns, bpm and the samples as much as you like…

Hip Hop Drum Pattern 1 – Clap / Snare

Hip Hop Drum Pattern 1 - Clap / Snare

This is a simple hip hop pattern with a standard snare on 2 and 4, layered with a clap. A repeating hi hat pattern on every up and down beat and a broken beat 808 kick.

Hip Hop Drum Pattern 2 – Rolling Hi Hats

Hip Hop Drum Pattern 2 - Rolling Hi Hats

For this beat I wanted to show how to get a rolling feel. I set up the maraca and hi hat on a very short loop (3 16th notes) as you can see in the image below in the yellow box. I made the hats vary in velocity for a live feel, which you can see in green. I then copied out the loop of both hats and maraca for 2 bars. Then I added extra maracas at the end of the bar as a flurry (in blue), the last two are double time (I switched the grid to 1/32 for this.)

Rolling hip hop hi hat pattern

If you’re doing these short rolling loops use 3,5,6, or 7 length loops. Not 4 or 8, so you get a rolling feel as the loop is shorter than the kick/snare loop.

Hip Hop Drum Pattern 3 – Different Hats

Hip Hop Drum Pattern 3 - Different Hats

When programming drums it is easy to over crowd the mix. You do not want lots of drums hitting at the same time and competing against each other. So on this loop I set up a fairly simple pattern for the hats, but I use 3 different samples of different lengths for variety: an 808 cymbal, closed hat and an open hat.

Hip Hop Drum Pattern 4 – Two Kicks

Hip Hop Drum Pattern 4 - Two Kicks

On this beat I used 2 different 808 kick drums. ‘808 Kick 1’ is the main beat, punctuating the rhythm as normal. and the second one is low passed so it is used like a sub. They don’t play at the same time but complement and bounce off each other. They are both available in the 808 pack for free.

Hip Hop Drum Pattern 5 – Swing

Hip Hop Drum Pattern 5 - Swing

This is a swung beat. I turned the shuffle amount to 10% and added the SP1200 Swing 71 groove for some extra funk! This is a swing setting taken from the legendary E-mu SP-1200 sampler. There’s a couple of kicks close together at the end of the bar to accentuate the shuffle – shuffle affects the even 16th notes, so two notes next to each other will be closer, as one is moved by the shuffle and one isn’t. The settings I used are below:

Hip Hop Drum Pattern 6 – Filling In Space With Hats

Hip Hop Drum Pattern 6 - Filling In Space With Hats

This is a simple technique – I set up a kick and snare until I liked it and then I fill in the empty space with closed hats. Then I swung it for extra funk (with the same groove settings as in pattern 6).

Hip Hop Drum Pattern 7 – Triplet Hats

Triplets on hi hats have become really popular in the last few years. You can see in the image above where there are 2 sets of shorter closed hi hats – I just switched the grid to triplet and added 3 really quick triplet hats instead of one normal one. You don’t want to over do it, but used sparsely this can sound great.

Hip Hop Drum Pattern 8 – Simple / Old Skool

A really simple 808 hip beat with just one closed hat, one snare and one kick sample. No velocities, swing or anything fancy!

Download The MIDI Files:

You can get the hip hop midi files here.

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