Last Updated on February 2, 2023 by Danny
Hip-hop began in the Bronx over four decades ago, with just a beat, vocals and a hook needed to make an impact. Initially DJ’s used instrumental breaks on records, but drum machines soon came into play and have been at the core of hip-hop ever since. Nowadays producers are finding new ways to use these tools to push the boundaries of what’s possible in making great hip-hop tracks. So what drum machines should you look at if you want to make your own beats? Here we take a look at some of the best drum machines for hip hop on the market for 2023.
Best Drum Machines for Hip-hop
Akai Professional Force
The Akai MPC arrived just after the first waves of hip-hop and became an essential tool for producers in both the East Coast and West Coast. Its all-in-one abilities – making beats, recording hooks and sampling vocals – made it a must-have machine. Though you can emulate this same experience now through computers, many still turn to hardware when creating their own hip hop sound due to its soulfulness – something which the Akai Professional Force excels in.
The Force is an all-in-one music production solution that combines a large library of samples, virtual instruments and powerful sample editing capabilities. It also features performance pads to provide tactile control during productions. Plus it’s Ableton Link compatible for easy collaboration with other users. It’s the perfect way to write complete tracks without needing any extra equipment and integrates seamlessly into modern studio workflows. With the Force at your disposal, there are countless possibilities for creativity!
If you’re searching for real and raw hip-hop drum sounds, nothing beats the classic 808. The Roland TR-08 is a modern version of the vintage 808 drum machine, offering all its original crisp percussion sounds such as hi-hats, rimshots and bass. With 16 substeps for each sequencer step, you can create trap-style hi-hat and snare rolls. Plus, it allows you to get creative with the Low Tom to make a meaty kick drum sound or use the Bass Drum sound as a sub-bass by tweaking its decay and pitch. A great feature of this device is that it can be powered by four AA batteries, making it highly portable for beatmakers on the go!
The Elektron Model:Samples integrates six tracks of sampling with robust sequencing features, granting you the capability to record your own sounds and design rhythmic arrangements all in one convenient piece. You can also use each audio track as a MIDI track for sequencing external instruments such as synthesizers for bass lines. This flexibility allows you to create construction kits and loops, combine sampled sounds with loops, employ it as a sampling workstation, or sequence external gear and sample back into the box. All this achievable from a compact unit that offers incredible versatility.
Native Instruments Maschine MK3
Native Instruments’ Maschine MK3 is the ideal tool for modern hip-hop producers who want to take advantage of both computer-based and hardware music production. With 24-bit/96kHz audio interface, expressive performance pads, touch-sensitive knobs, and complete control over Maschine software without ever needing to use a mouse or keyboard; it provides all you need besides your computer and speakers or headphones. Additionally, it comes with 8GB of sample content and Komplete Select software bundle along with a variety of effects and sample-editing capabilities. It fuses the feel of hardware workflow perfectly with the flexibility of computer-based music production.
Korg Volca Beats
Korg’s Volca series of modules are incredibly powerful, and the Volca Beats analog drum machine is no exception. With 10 different drum sounds – 6 analog and 4 PCM – as well as a 16-step sequencer, it has plenty of options for crafting hip-hop beats. Stutter and Motion Sequencing functions make it easy to add variations to your beats, while 8 memory slots let you save your progress for later recall. Best of all, this tiny device is designed to be truly portable: it runs on six AA batteries and fits easily into a laptop bag or backpack so you can take your hip-hop productions anywhere! Record tracks in the studio or beatmake outside – with the Volca Beats, the possibilities are endless.
IK Multimedia UNO Drum
The IK Multimedia UNO Drum module is a great choice for those who need portability and versatility from their drum machine. This compact unit features six analog drum sounds, 54 PCM samples taken from the SampleTank library, plus effects such as compression and drive to add depth and punch. It also has an array of creative effects including Stutter, Random and Roll functions that make it easy to craft unique hip-hop beats. With USB/MIDI connectivity, you can easily connect with other gear while in the studio or use its true portability when you’re on the go. Store up to 100 patterns and 100 drum kits making this an essential tool for any producer’s arsenal.
Arturia DrumBrute Impact
The Arturia DrumBrute Impact is the perfect tool for hip-hop fans who don’t want to spend time programming analog drum machines. This machine has 10 vibrant analog sounds, with customizable Decay, Pitch, Tone and Level controls. You can create up to 64 steps in a pattern that you can save, or chain together several patterns into full songs. If you want to transfer your beats to a computer for production, it also has four individual audio outputs which makes multitracking easy. And with USB, MIDI and four different analog clock formats available for syncing up, you will be able to make hip-hop beats anywhere!
No matter if you opt for hardware or a computer-based DAW, hip-hop production is about finding your own unique sound and making the most out of whatever technology you have. We’ve compiled a list of best Drum Machines for Hip-hop to get creative with hip-hop beats, giving modern producers access to far more than what the original hip-hop pioneers had at their disposal. No matter which route you take, the goal remains the same: true expression and creativity!