The bling and larger-than-life image of a hip-hop artist’s life can be mesmerizing. The 21st-century hip-hop artists are the latest version of the 1960s rock star. Similar to Led Zeppelin from the late 60s or Jay-Z in the new millennium, you have to first put in your dues by creating great vocal tracks. As a popular choice for recording artists, the Logic software offers everything you need to sound like a hip-hop star.
Things You'll Need:
- Logic Studio Software
- Foam Panels
- Closed Room
Recording the Vocals
Search the Logic website for any plug-ins that you want to use and don’t have yet. Double-check your current software for Compression, EQ, Reverb, Delay, DeEsser and Pitch Correction plug-ins.
Purchase a good quality condenser microphone and preamplifier combo. Get recommendations from fellow music artists about their experiences with various brands.
Purchase higher-quality cables and a pop filter. Don’t pick the one with the lowest price to save money. Go with the mid-price range and up. Get recommendations from other recording artists as to which cables have given them good results.
Set up the microphone in a closed room with acoustic foam panels. Shop online for the foam panels or search for them at a store that sells music instruments and recording equipment. Cover the majority of the wall in the enclosed room with the foam. Covering the walls from floor to ceiling may distort the audio. Go for 80 percent of the wall.
Plan the vocal concept. Determine the style of hip-hop you want to mimic or stray from. Determine the mood or feeling you want the vocals to inspire. For example, moods can be aggressive, sexy, comical. Knowing the style and feel helps determine how you record and mix the vocals.
Advise the artist to stay a consistent distance from the microphone during the entire recording. For smooth delivery, ask the artist to remain 4 to 6 inches from the microphone. If the artist is more aggressive and louder, have the artist stand a foot away from the microphone.
Double the lead vocal performance. Record the same lyrical performance on two separate tracks. Use a software, such as VocAlign, to align your lead vocals.
Add ad-libs to a separate hip-hop vocal track. Reinforce the most powerful versus in the song. Fill in dead space with catchphrases.
Mixing the Vocals
Apply the Noise Gate function to remove background noise. Raise your threshold levels to pump up the rap vocal performance. Tweak the “Reduction” and “Hold Time” levels until your vocals sound natural and the background noise has been removed.
Filter out any low-frequency sounds with the EQ feature. Raise your high-frequency noise steadily as you are filtering out your low-frequency sounds until you hear the sound you want.
Even out the vocals that are too high and low with the Compression feature. Start with the presets offered by the software, then adjust your levels notch by notch the way you want them. Adjust to higher ratios for faster rappers. Use lower ratios on slower rappers with deeper voices.
Remove sibilance with the DeEsser plug-in. Sibilance is the over-pronunciation of “ch” and “sss” sounds during the recording. Allow the present smoothing levels to get you started. Adjust the “Strength” and Sensitivity” by small degrees until you are satisfied with the cleanup.
Correct the artist’s voice with pitch correction in places where the voice sounds as if it is cracking or the words don’t come out as smoothly as other words.
Apply any special effects. Apply reverb to give the voice depth. Don’t adjust the reflection levels too much or the vocals can sound unnatural. Apply stereo delay to keep all the applications you’ve already applied intact. Use automation to erase out any remaining problems by reducing the automation lane slightly.
- Audio Tuts+; How to Process Vocals for an Amazing Professional Sound
- Logic Pro 9: Audio and Music Production; Mark Cousins, Russ Hepworth-Sawyer; 2010
- Logic Pro 9 Tips and Tricks; Stephen Bennett; 2010
Sam Williams has been a marketing specialist and ad writer since 1995. He has been published in magazines such as "Reaching Out" and "Spa Search." He served in various sales and marketing positions with major corporations such as American Express, Home Depot and Wells Fargo. Williams studied English at Morehouse College.