Drill music is a genre of hip-hop characterized by its hard-hitting, intense beats and dark lyrics. Most notably the drill drum patterns and the gliding basslines. In this post, we’ll go over how to make a drill beat by focusing on the drill drum patterns.
this is what we'll build up to
How To Make A Drill Beat - The Drum Pattern
Start With The Snare
There’s a number of ways to start a drill drum beat but for simplicity’s sake, let’s start with the snare.
The snare falls on the 3 and the 8.
This is a great place to start but you can always switch it up from there.
Add In A Kick
The kicks we’ll keep simple. Add them in on the 1 and the 5. So at the start of every bar.
Hi-Hats In Drill Drum Patterns
The hi hats in drill drum patterns have a unique pattern. Here’s what it looks like.
Counter Snares In Drill Drum Patterns
Counter snares are quite common in drill. Basically you want another snare sound for variation.
It can be a snare, a clap or a rimshot.
We’ll throw some in here:
This is our base drill pattern. Let's take a listen
Adding variety and switching it up is how to make drill drum patterns. You have a base pattern but we need to add interest.
Add Extra Kicks
Typically the kicks are pretty simple, but then there are essentially kick fills that are added. So we have a kick in the beginning of a bar.
Then a lot of glide action happens, and usually at the end of a bar or two, we hear more kicks.
Something like this:
And here's what it sounds like
Add Extra Snares
Adding extra snares is a great way to add interest. Let’s mix some in.
And here's what it sounds like
Add Extra Hats
And lastly we can add extra hats. Let’s mix some in.
This is what it sounds like with extra hats.
How To Make A Drill Beat - The Arrangement
We’ll keep the simple pattern for the first two bars. The next two we’ll add extra snares. The following 2 we’ll had extra kicks. And for the last two we’ll add extra hats.
Everything Else For How To Make A Drill Beat
The goal was to cover the drum patterns. But, let's just quickly round it out with making the beat.
Drill beats are dark and gritty. Typically you’ll hear strings, pianos, bells, and vocal samples (either a choir or vocal chops). The 808s have the glide sound - that's a signature staple in how to make drill beats.
I went on Splice and grabbed a bunch of samples and layered them in. Here’s what we’ll use:
- Choir sound for the main lead
- Dark key one shots
- Perc loops
- Gxn shot sounds
- A Riser for building tension
- A shovel dragging across the ground
The choir and the foley sounds really dial into the gritty, menacing sound. I mean imagine if you’re out a night and there’s a weird choir chanting, you hear a gxn being loaded, and a shovel slowly dragging across the pavement?! I’m out. y to do this is to add in one shots that sound tough and hard. Here’s a few pieces we’ll layer in.
All together this is what we have:
The Drums Are How To Make A Drill Beat
The drums are super important to drill beats. Obviously the gliding 808s and the dark melodic sounds add a lot, but it starts with the drums.
The drum patterns above were based off the Drill Drum Guide. It's a pdf with 50 unique Drum Patterns to program in your DAW. Each pattern covers 8 bars total.
It's broken down into the following sections:
- Core - core drill patterns
- Sparse - sparse drill patterns
- Xtra Kicks - patterns with extra kicks thrown in
- Snares Go Crazy - patterns that emphasize snares
- Mighty Hi Hats - adding extra hats into the patterns
Percolating - going crazy with adding percs to your drill beats.