Beat Switches In HipHop [Podcast]

Beat Switches In HipHop [Podcast]

In the first podcast episode, I'm talking about beat switches in HipHop.

J Cole's "7 Minute Drill" - produced by Conductor Williams got me thinking about beat switches. It reminded me of what Pete Rock did on "The Main Ingredient" and a few iconic beat switches including "It's All About The Benjamins" and "Sicko Mode"

Check it out:


Beat Switch Transcript

Below is the transcript from the above podcast episode:

one of the greatest horn sounds you'll hear in hip hop is from Pete Rock and CL Smooths actually samples in a acclaimed saxophonist Tom Scott


The horns are incredible and synonymous with 90s hip hop. Growing up I heard this all the time. You go outside and hear it blasting from the cars, you heard on the radio. Classic iconic song andI fell in love with it. Naturally, I fell in love with Pete Rock and CL Smooth and they became

one of my favorite hip hop groups of all time.


So at that time that was their the first album and when the second album was coming out

naturally I was like:” “I'm gonna go get that album” and it came out

it's called “The Main Ingredient”.


It was a bit underrated at the time, maybe flew under radar since

there was a lot going on and hip hop at the time. 


But looking back on it it's most people consider it just probably near classic

because it’s incredible


Pete Rock’s productions and of course CL Smooth is lyrically just one of the top notch lyricists.


One thing I thought when listening to the album that I thought was super interesting: at the end of most songs they fade out, typically like a song does, but then a new beat starts to play.


So song fades out, a beat plays for maybe like 30 seconds, and then that beat fades out

and then a new song starts.


So it's not a transition, not necessarily a beat switch. Just a new beat - and really good beat for 30 seconds or so.


Here's an example - I’ll play a song from it's called “I Get Physical” - let's listen to that and hear the beat switch.


[The ending of “I Get Physical” plays]


So not really a beat switch and not really a transition - just a new beat. Almost like a mini interlude that's just a beat at the end of a song before the next song starts.  Almost kind of like a beat switch, but not quite.


I was reminder of this because I I thought about it because of a J Cole song. if you're following the news J Cole is in a beef with Kendrick (Lamar) and he released the track called “7 Minute Drill”


In that song there's an abrupt beat switch where all of a sudden we hear the Conductor

Williams tag and the beat switches. And it's just really adds to like the energy and the strength of the track.


So this got me thinking of a few other iconic songs where there is iconic beat switches.


The first is “All About The Benjamin's” where BIG comes in atthat very end on a completely new beat. He comes in right after Lil Kim, there’s  a little bit of lead up but just kind of for the most part a hard beat switch with BIG coming in


[“All About The Benjamins” plays]


Not too long after that song came out, Jay Z released his second album “Volume 1”. Leading off that album - “A Million And One Questions / Rhyme No More” which technically it's kind of one track, kind of feels like two songs on one track but I'll allow it. It's a beat switch with DJ Premier doing the production


[“A Million And One Questions / Rhyme No More”  plays]


And probably the most iconic beat switch of the current era - Travis Scott with Drake, “Sicko Mode”


[Sicko Mode plays]


So that one was a bit more drawn out. you can see it's almost like the first beat just started to do this whole breakdown and then became this abrupt beat switch, where as the J

Cole song was like an immediate beat switch.


Almost kind of like the the Benjamin one.


And the Jay Z one - a little more on that Travis Scott/Drake “Sicko Mode” style where it kind of broke down a little bit and then went into the beat switch.


So look this is just one idea you could do if you're making tracks. If you're looking to do something to switch it up and add something interesting to your tracks, try a beat switch. Try doing an abrupt one or maybe try breaking down the original beat and then do an abrupt uh beat switch,


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