Hardware For Making Rap Beats

There are many hardware devices available for helping you make rap beats.

I am leaving out your computer from this list because although it is "hardware", the real power of the computer to make rap beats is driven by software. While computer-based beat making is my own personal preferences, You may want to know about alternatives.

Many if not all the hardware below can be used together with other hardware.

Drum Machines

Many of the sounds from these machines can be purchased in WAV format for use in samplers and software at a highly reduced cost so they aren't as relevant as they used to be. But it's good to know about them.
  • Roland TR-808 - No longer made, but a true classic. Used heavily in Dirty South music and the 808 Kick drum is often layered and tuned with other kick drums for that heavy bass.
  • Roland TR-909 - Another extinct machine that lives on in electronic music and hip hop beats today.
  • Alesis SR16 - Has one of my favorite kick sounds ever. Very usable kit.
  • Linn LinnDrum - Used throughout the 80's. Again has a classic sound.
  • Boss DR-202 - Sample based and came with a ton of sounds.

Because rap beats are often heavily driven by sampled records, a good hardware sampler is a must in a rap beat makers studio. Most samplers have recording of audio and performance as well as the ability to trigger and configure samples. Heres a few of the more common ones:
  • Akai MPC - Many different models ranging from $599 - $2,000+ This is the defacto standard for hip hop beat making. (click on pics for more detailed information):
    Akai MPC500 Portable Music Production Center Akai MPC2500 Music Production Center Akai MPC5000 Music Production Center

  • Roland MV8800 - List for about $1,999. Very powerful. (click pic for more info)
    Roland MV-8800 Production Studio

Keyboard Workstations

This is the most modern type of hardware. It is very versatile because it offers sampling, sequencing and more in an all-in-one package.

  • Roland Fantom (click on pic for details)
    Roland Fantom-G7 76-Key Sampling Workstation

  • Yamaha Motif (click on pic for details)
    Yamaha Motif XS7 76-Key Workstation

Now that you know about the types of hardware, don't forget that your computer along with a relatively inexpensive software Digital Audio Workstation is also a very powerful tool. Especially when enhanced with a MIDI Controller.