How to Produce Drums in Hip Hop

how to produce drums

Drums is one of those vital sounds in hip hop. Everyone is waiting for that thump in a song to catch the whole groove. Mastering your drums can do your song wonders if done correctly. In this tutorial we will be going over how to produce drums for hip hop production. These are just a few things to focus on while making the perfect drums.

Sound Selection

Sometimes it’s a good idea to simply purchase some great sounding drums and call it a day. This is because it will save you so much time while mixing. Selecting the right sounds will save more time than constructing new sounds. Tailored sounds can also be a good reference point on making your own unique drums. Saving this unique sound will allow you to select it later for future projects. Maybe you can come up with a great drum pack!

Panning your Drums

Panning your drums can create extra room for those lower frequencies. Setting the right stereo placement for each drum sound can be done one by one to optimize the space available. Of course, everything is a creative process so it’s really up to you how you want your drums to sound. But I will say that panning can really subtlety please your listeners’ ears. Many call this subtle sound ‘ear candy’. Listen to some of your inspiration tracks to see how their drum panning is like.

EQing your Drums

EQing your drums will help you get rid of unwanted frequencies in your mix. It is important to visualize your drums from start to finish to really see what kind of EQing we need to do. For kicks, the lows range 50Hz-100Hz is great for adding some general power behind that sound. For snares, the fatness area are usually between 100Hz-250Hz. For toms, the area for adding power is between 65Hz – 100Hz.

Compression for Hip Hop Drums

Compression can shape the volume envelope on your hip hop drums. This gives you the customization on how each drum is going to hit. Do you want your drums to hit soft? Hard? Fast? For kicks and snares, a common technique is to apply 3-5 dB gain reduction. It is important to not underdo or overdue the compression, slow attack times can sometimes make the compressor miss the drum hit. Fast attack times can sometimes push the drums further back in the mix.

Saturation for Hip Hop Drums

Adding saturation and reverb can increase your drum depth. Make your drums fatter and thicker by utilizing minimal saturation and adding reverb. There are many plugins and techniques to distort your drums, so it is best to experiment and see the best ones for you.


When it comes to producing hip hop drums, there are actually a lot of things you must know. Producing can take much time but once you have mastered the techniques and concepts, it becomes must more efficient. Producing your own drums can save a lot of time in the long run. From panning, EQing, compression and saturation, there are plenty of things to learn when it comes to producing hip hop drums. What do you guys think we missed here?

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