Listen to the instrumentals of some of your favorite RNB or Hip Hop records and you will be surprised when you realize that they are fairly simple, clean, and straight forward. You might think to yourself, “WOW I COULD MAKE THAT”, and in some cases you may be right. However, there is an art to these records. It’s the art of knowing when enough is enough in a production. When you don’t need any more sounds, changes, or melodies. And this isn’t an easy skill to develop. It comes with experience.
The thing about it is that WE as producers have to realize that it isn’t about US. We might run the show, but it’s not OUR show, its the ARTIST’s show. We’re the backstage crew. Up coming producers and producers that are selling beats online or producing for local acts may want to take note on this as well. Why is this so important? Well here’s why. I can’t tell you how many times as an up and coming producer I played beats for artists and they just didn’t get it. They just couldn’t really get a feel for it. I began to wonder why this was happening. What was it about my productions that artists couldn’t grasp? I mean, I knew my tracks were banging and I had all kinds of melodies and sounds going in and out, so why weren’t they able to vibe with it? Well simply put, there was WAY TOO MUCH GOING ON. And at times artists can be discouraged or just feel that there isn’t enough room for them to express themselves as they wish too. So I decided to put myself in the shoes of an artist listening to beats to buy and rap on and that was when it hit me.
I noticed that I would choose beats that had a nice solid bounce (rhythm), catchy melody/chord sequence and enough openness for me to get a vibe and flow going. I would choose beats that “felt right”. And I noticed that all of these beats were rather “simple” but also creative at the same time. Then I took it a step further and began listening to instrumentals from songs on Billboard, major releases, and I noticed more of the same. The backing tracks were for the most part simple and straight forward. There would be parts such as the chorus where things picked up a bit, but they never went overboard. This idea runs across all genres of music. Keep it simple and let the artists shine. As a producer, have a basic idea and allow your songwriters or artists to bring the idea to fruition. Don’t try to cram melodies and random sounds to “fill your beats up”. It simply doesn’t work that way.
The best advice I can give is to put yourself in the shoes of the artist. When your making your tracks ask yourself am I doing too much here? Will an artist be able to get a vibe from this? And as a producer it is your job to have that type of vision. You should be able to hear the song, concept wise, from start to finish. Knowing when enough is enough is a skill that takes experience but as with anything, the more you practice it, and the more you study other music, the better you will become at it.
Remember: As the producer, It’s not your show – it’s the artist’s show!