The code of the beat.

A Respect for Time Spent Making Beats Helps Quality Control

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How Long You’re on the Clock Plays a Big Role

By AMIR SAID (SA’ID)

Dedicated beatmakers know how meticulous the art of beatmaking is. Moreover, we all know how very methodical and diligent that we often have to be. Whether cranking out a drum framework, or even just tuning a snare sound to the right timbre, beatmaking takes focused time, just like any other musical process. With this in mind, I often wonder how long most beatmakers typically spend on the clock; you know, how long do each of us usually work on a beat?

For me, the time frame averages out to about one solid hour per beat—from concept to preliminary (pre-tracking) execution. However, that being said, I must concede that some ideas take much longer than others; and with certain styles/types of beats, I’ll purposely keep crafting for another day or two, if necessary. But if after two days I find that a beat is “decent” but not DOPE—to me—, I put it on the shelf. Sometimes I come back to it in the near future; other times I simply store in my personal music vault, labeling it as something perhaps worth reworking at a later date.

Still, to be certain, when it comes to making beats, there also those times where I can rip something off rather quickly, like say, 20 or 30 minutes. But most of the time, that’s certainly not typical for me. Indeed, when I create a beat in 15 minutes, it’s more like a “quality check” point, a directional blueprint and barometer that confirms whether or not I’m on to something that’s worth continuing. It is at this juncture that I’m most critical of myself; it’s at this time where I’m brutally honest about whether my idea and structure is popping (sounding dope) or not. Therefore, if after 15 minutes I find that what I’m working on is whack—to me, I scrap the beat—no hesitation—and begin a new one in a different direction. As per my own personal standards and sense of quality control, I never plow through something just for the sake of “completing” it. If I think that a beat I’m making is even kind of whack, I scrap it and move on to another idea. I never force a beat. In this way, I assure that my music has gone through a strict quality control checkpoint.


The BeatTips Manual by Sa’id.
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Articles, Beatmaking, Beatmaking Education, Beatmaking Themes, Theories, and Concepts, BeatTips, Editor's Choice, Features, Quality Control, Sa'id, Themes, Theories, and Concepts

About Author

Amir Said (aka Sa’id) is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BeatTips. A writer, publisher, and beatmaker/rapper from New York, Said is the author of a number of books, including ‘The BeatTips Manual,’ ‘The Art of Sampling,’ ‘Ghetto Brother,’ and ‘The Truth About New York.’ He is also a recording artist with a number of music projects, including his latest album ‘The Best of Times.’ Follow him on Twitter at: @amirsaid and @BeatTipsManual

  • The point you make is SO important.
    And sadly, it look me years to learn it. But for the last couple years, I’ve lived by it – and my output has been that much better for it.
    Great post.

  • Frost Gamble, great point!
    This is very important, and like you, it took me YEARS to understand. That’s one of the reasons that I wrote this post: I wanted to draw attention to the myth that beats are supposed to be made in like 15 minutes. Beatmaking is serious. But sometimes people (some well-known) make it seem as if it’s a microwave process that you either have talent for or you don’t. Truth is, beatmaking is a very meticulous musical process that requires countless hours of practice and study.
    —Sa’id