Rap Thoughts

Ive been suffering from the Flu for the past few days. It hasnt been pleasant to say the least. But I think Im getting better now. Ive done nothing but eat painkillers, watch cartoons and sleep.

Ive noticed my new tape hasnt gotten the best response at all. Theres like 10 views on each song, but thats if you add the You Tube and Sound Cloud views together! I seem to have fucked up and lost my fan-base somehow. Its not good.

Im definitely relegating hip hop to a hobby now, theres no point in putting in tonnes of work if its getting like 10 plays really….

I do make music Id want to hear, I dont really try to conform to what an audience expects, maybe thats a bad thing, who knows! If Hip Hops a popularity contest, I dont think Im winning either for whatever reason. But that doesnt bother me.

Ill just keep doing my thing, dropping projects when I feel like it for the ten people that seem to give a shit lol.

I think I just rap because its fun and I enjoy it. But Ive been thinking for a while I might be wasting my way with words on this shit, that I should be writing instead but I dont enjoy that as much to stick at it.

Ill probably keep rapping though as I always do, because I cant seem to stop and walk away at all for some reason.

Mixing The Overcome Mixtape

Ill outline exactly what Im workin with here. Im recording with a Scarlett 2i2 (Pictured Above) but Ive got a Rode NT1-A Microphone. I’m recording into Ableton 9 Live Lite, then bouncing the audio files and putting them into FL Studio 11 Producer Edition, and mixing from there. Then Im bouncing the entire thing as a WAV and then converting it to MP3 in Audacity using the default presets to put on You Tube.

Ive got the levels of the microphone coming in around -12 and then just recording into Ableton. Its the Lite edition so you can only have 7 audio tracks. This means Im recording 3 verses on the same track, one take each. Then the addlibs on the next track, the chorus layer 1 on the next then layer 2 under that. And intros and outros on the next.

I have some segments where I have to record things seperately on ‘The Darkness’, such as the police officer phoning the murder victims husband to give him the news that his wife is dead, and then his reaction too, but I think I can figure out how to split the files and assign different effects to each of them in fruity loops when the time comes.

Once I have the audio recorded, I bounce every track out separately from Ableton in WAV form. The beats I have were from a free package so they are only mp3, I just leave the beat and import it fresh into FL Studio. Then I import all the Audio files and line them up, take out white noise bits wherever necessary, and assign them all individual mixer channels to put effects on them.

I just basically then Put the Fruity Limiter on the 3 verse vocals (Which has a built in Compressor) and follow a this YouTube Tutorial as far as the levels go. After that, I apply the Fruity EQ 2 and just use the preset for voice. I was applying a high pass filter and fuitiring about with the levels but this appears to sound good too. Ive seen it in another tutorial, but probably should be fuitiring about more instead. I dont really know what kind of sound Im aiming for though.

After I put the Compressor and the EQ on , thats basically it, I do the same thing to the add libs, but turn them down and add a wee tiny bit of reverb. Then I mix the 2 chorus layers on the same effects channel, applying the same EQ and Compressor and a wee bit of reverb. I dont know how to use chorus yet, but with 2 layers it sounds chorusy already.

Then thats it, except there is a limiter on the master channel thats automatically there when you open it, I dont really know or understand what levels its set at yet but it stops stuff from clipping.  I am basically a noob novice so any advice is more than welcome!

Anything I am doing wrong or should change, do differently or anything Im not doing that I should be.

Here’s the first Single off the Mixtape I mixed yesterday with this process and Ive just been repeating it on the 2 Ive recorded today. I notice when I re route the sound through the scarlett 2i2 into the headphones that its different than through the windows laptop audio jack, but Im not sure if its better or not.

Who’s Killing It?

Whats in my playlist right now? I just got on Spotify, you should try it out (its free) and it has all the music on there you can think of. I highly recommend it! I’ve been bumping Horse Shoe Gangs new shit Dope Lyrics Matter, Eminem’s new album Revival, and Kxng Crookeds sequel to his last shit Good Vs Evil II.

Horse Shoe Gang are back with some killer shit! They’ve dropped a remix of Eminems Till I Collapse tune on You Tube, and also dropped a single off Dope Lyrics Matter called Ain’t No Excuses.

The Album itself is pretty fuckin decent, the intro had me thinkin they went trap! Youll know when you hear it. Its currently on Spotify and thats where I heard it the day it dropped. The album is broken up into 3 chapters. The Radio Chapter, the Mixtape Chapter and the Real Talk Chapter. Its definitely worth a listen if you enjoy lyricism and ill doubletime flows.

Im a big Eminem fan since I was a kid, so I had to check out Revival. It was disappointing at first, but the more I listened , the more it grew on me. I have to say now its also pretty decent indeed. I even played it in the car and it had my mum laughin, she really enjoyed it too. My favourite songs are probably Believe, In your Head, Offended and Framed.

Finally, Kxng Crookeds second installment of Good Vs Evil, GVS II: The Red Empire is pure fire, as you can always expect from this west coast legend. I have been too pre-occupied with recording and mixing my new Overcome project to get a proper listen to this one, only had one listen but it sounded pretty dope to me!

Willy Motherfuckin G (Mixed!)

Here it is, day two of this mixing process and Ive managed to get it (Half) Mixed!

 

Its not bad I dont think! I just followed a You Tube tutorial I found as far as the levels go, I just replicated his doings without much variation. I EQed and Compressed the verse vocals, add libs, and hooks layer one and two. I added a bit of reverb to the wee intro too. The vocals do sound a lot clearer and crisper and way more studio quality.

The only thing wrong with this is that I think the limiter on the master channel has done something to the instrumental and I dont know what it is to fix it. It could be over-compression or some shit.

 

Rap Vocal Mixing Tutorials

Its day two, and Im up bright and early to get at this mixing. I started with no clue what any effects do at all. Now I have some idea of what I should be aiming for. Ive searched through a lot of You Tube Tutorials and the best Ive found for beginners is this guys videos on his channel.

 

Its really good, I understand now what exactly your supposed to be aiming for with EQ. He has another video on compression too which is also informative. But he has not mixed any vocals, hopefully with this knowledge I can understand what people on other tutorials are at more easily .

I am mixing the vocals each seperately, the intro, the verses, add libs and hook layers one and two all mixed seperately. FL Studio has all the tools necessary so I am just studying what to do before I get back at it.

 

Willy Motherfuckin G – Mixing

I’m going to document my progress at this mixing craic here. So here’s the unmixed tune first of all, just a limiter on the master track.

 

I sacked Ableton 9 Live Lite, it had hardly any plug ins at all. No limiter, No proper EQ, no Gate or whatever the fuck. I loaded up an old version 11 of FL Studio from my old laptop and it seems to have a lot more plug ins, so I am going to get mixing now. There was a limiter already on the master channel when I loaded the instrumental and the vocals in, so it stopped it clipping.

I recorded these vocals in Ableton, then I bounced the stems out one at a time, but also bounced them all out together as well. I just decided to use the all together one to make this rough version. Im not sure my cpu could handle putting effects on all the stems, hopefully it can but we will see soon as I intend to mix the verses, add libs, hook layers and intro all separately for the finished product.

I know the vocals in this rough unmixed version sound raw as fuck, but I’m just sticking it up to document progress so you can see the difference in a mixed vocal and a raw one.

I’m using a Rode nt1-A Microphone hooked up to a Scarlett 2i2 usb recording interface. Ive got a kind of small padded guard that goes around the mic, that acts as soundproofing and a pop shield. Im using Abelton 9 Live Lite and FL Studio 11 Producer Edition.

I will post the Accapella on Sound Cloud for free download too for anyone who wants to remix this shit.

 

Mixing Hip Hop Vocals

Right, I’ve laid the vocals for a new song, just to practice mixing and recording, flow and delivery before I start on this mixtape. Its a remix of Eminems ‘My Name Is’ called Willy Motherfuckin G. I’m gonna release it soon, as soon as I get it mixed.

This is my first attempt at actually mixing a song, and I have to say, it is confusing as fuck. First of all, I have no idea how to stop the Mp3 instrumental of ‘My Name Is’ from clipping in the master channel without turning it way down. I have asked a few friends to find out what the fuck Im at. I know you need a limiter to stop the master track clipping, but Im using Ableton Live Lite that came with my Scarlett 2i2 recording interface, and it doesnt seem to even have a limiter! Im going to search for some plug ins now and see what I can do.

Second, the vocals are full of pops and shit ( no thanks to my piece of shite pop shield), I have to figure out how to get rid of them. I am not sure about EQ and Compression, Im watching away at tutorials and they are all so confusing. The problem is that I only have Ableton Live Lite, and everyone in the tutorials use an effect called EQ 8, which I dont have. I only have a Red EQ thing and EQ 3. Even if I could get it working, I dont know what the knobs do!

Its so fuckin confusing. The compressor, I also have no clue what it does and every bit of instructions I read online has even more confusing terminology that I know nothing about. I know you can turn up the vocals with it, thats about it.

There is reverb too, that I know has to be on it. I can’t seem to tell the difference in a vocal thats mixed well, compared to one mixed badly either. They sound slightly different but not better or worse to me. Maybe I have to stick at it and train my ears. I don’t know what kind of sound I’m aiming for at all, so I don’t know how to get there.

At this rate, this Mixtape wont be out for another year! If anyone out there has any pointers at all, please feel free to contact me on here via the contact page, or even on Facebook because I am in the dark as far as mixing goes. Any pointers, tips or suggestions would be much appreciated, along with any ideas of what good free plug ins are available out there.

You can also drop a comment below under this article.

Production has begun!

Production on the Overcome Mixtape has now begun. I’ve been sitting on this shit for months now, I’ve had the rough versions recorded for that long and just haven’t been arsed re-recording the vocals. I just copied out all the lyrics onto my rhyme book from the 7 tracks, and I’m about to fire up the Scarlett 2i2 and jump on the mic and record them all now, with this new laptop.

I’ve watched a few Hip Hop vocal mixing tutorials on You Tube, so I think I have a rough Idea of how to mix this shit. My producer Steve has upgraded his shit but lost all his plug-ins so I’m gonna give him a break and try mixing this all myself, in Ableton 9 Live Lite.

The tracklist is as follows:

1.Living My Life

2.Reach Out

3.A New Future

4.Monsters Part 2

5.The Darkness

6.Nursery Rhymers

7.Overcome

All the tracks are produced by Insane Beatz, off a free beats package I got when I signed up to his site last year. The beats are quality, and now that I have them I may as well use them. It’d be madness to sit on this shit any longer, so I am getting it done now. Depending on how long the mixing takes, expect the project to drop for free on Band Camp, You Tube, Sound Cloud etc. within the next two weeks.

I am working on some album artwork too, which I will have ready for when the project drops.

After this project, I’ll be focusing more on local hip hop, with Irish production on the beats. Although that’s my aim, I’ll probably end up still releasing freestyles on popular instrumentals and jacking beats off You Tube too.

I’ve got an album in the works with Steve D called Psychosomatic, a Fresh Eire album entitled Irish Madmen, a project with Belgian Producer Jeroen Putteman, and a few remixes/freestyles coming too.

Ill be at the North West Hip Hop gig next Thursday too so be sure and get your ass down there to hear some of the best MCs in Ireland!