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How to make West Coast Beats
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12th May 2012
Old 12th May 2012
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How to make West Coast Beats

Hey 'Slutz.

So I'm trying to make some west coast beats but they're not sounding up to my standards.
Any pointers would be helpful.What kind of sounds and percussion should I use? What tempo/swing? What kind of mood am I trying to conjure? etc.

Thanks
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12th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 131242313424 View Post
Hey 'Slutz.

So I'm trying to make some west coast beats but they're not sounding up to my standards.
Any pointers would be helpful.What kind of sounds and percussion should I use? What tempo/swing? What kind of mood am I trying to conjure? etc.

Thanks
your probably gonna get a bit of flaming for the way you posted your question lol..no worries.

West Coast beats...hmm in terms of staple sounds not really too many but there are some sounds that have become almost synonymous with west coast instrumentals.

First one is the west coast whistle, g funk whistle or whatever the kids are calling it these days but it's safe to say that that is a big part of the west coast kind of vibe I think. Heavy synthesizer use, usually many of the tracks have some type of moogy synths going on.

Another one is usually some sort of deep bass guitar, umm other various synths usually sound similar to the whistle I mentioned earlier. Arguably since the whole Dr Dre g funk movement it can be said that pianos with a certain types of EQ to them can be included. Unlike a lot of genres west coast tracks usually don't have to much percussion going on other than the basic snare, hat, clap and kick. DISCLAIMER: These sounds do not make a beat west coast, they are simply sounds that are often present in many west coast beats.
Tempo for these tracks is usually around the 88 - 95 bpm mark, though some of the tracks with a kind of break beat drum pattern are a little faster (e.g. NWA Straight outta compton).
Safe to say though I think the best way to learn west coast music is to listen to it extensively, more so than instruments the main characteristic of west coast instrumentals is a certain feel. Most west coast instrumentals just end up making the listener feel a certain way and more so pervades specific instruments. The instruments so to speak are more often than not a vehicle to convey the west coast vibe rather than being an absolute necessity to make a west coast beat.

Just my 0.02

Tracks you might want to check out though you probably know them.

Gin and Juice - Snoop Dogg
Who am I - Snoop Dogg
Still Dre - Dr Dre
Return of the Mack - Mark Morrison
Return of the Mack - Mann
Kush - Dr Dre
Eazy E - Real Compton G's
Basically any song from NWA, Eazy E, Nate Dogg, Waren G or Ice Cube
Lots and Lots of 2 pac songs
Lots of Cypress hill songs
True Player - Notrious B.I.G.
I'm sure there are a ton more than I am listing but you will get my point when you check those out.
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12th May 2012
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I'm sure theres some great advise posted already and more to come to help you with this issue. I felt like I should tell you though that the West Coast Beat doesn't really matter. I was born and raised in the Bay and now I live in San Diego. I listened to all sorts of different Bay area artists as well as the Gangster Rap from down south and all the best songs in my opinion where just unique in someway. Try out some Mac Dre songs and then try some underground artists like Grouch or Del. Of course you got Snoop and Dre but look at artists like Brotha Lynch or Murs. All these artist beats are West Coast but none of them sound the same. However I know what you mean so I'll also say maybe you can listen to some song your thinking of and try to emulate and alter them to be your own. So much good music from the West Coast. I don't believe that theirs a such thing as a West Coast beat. I actually listen to more Def Jux now days which is East Coast so my beats are sounding similar to that kind of style. Good luck!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue42kilo View Post
I'm sure theres some great advise posted already and more to come to help you with this issue. I felt like I should tell you though that the West Coast Beat doesn't really matter. I was born and raised in the Bay and now I live in San Diego. I listened to all sorts of different Bay area artists as well as the Gangster Rap from down south and all the best songs in my opinion where just unique in someway. Try out some Mac Dre songs and then try some underground artists like Grouch or Del. Of course you got Snoop and Dre but look at artists like Brotha Lynch or Murs. All these artist beats are West Coast but none of them sound the same. However I know what you mean so I'll also say maybe you can listen to some song your thinking of and try to emulate and alter them to be your own. So much good music from the West Coast. I don't believe that theirs a such thing as a West Coast beat. I actually listen to more Def Jux now days which is East Coast so my beats are sounding similar to that kind of style. Good luck!
definitely agree there...
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I think all the answers to your questions are really in the music. Just listen to some classic west coast producers, battlecat, dre, quik, fredwreck and you'll be able to hear for yourself what sounds you need and how to make it.

A lot of the druums are unquantized, the instruments played live and with a funky groove, some west coast uses synths, some use bass guitars and guitar, some use both.

There's a good documentary called West Coast Theory that I think you'll find helpful for learning more about some of the techniques straight from the top producers themselves, look it up. Last I checked you could stream it online from their website for like 3 bucks, but its worth it, imo.
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12th May 2012
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Study old funk records. Parament, George Clinton, Funkadellic, Rick James, Leon Haywood, Bootsy Collins are all good starting points. Westcoast beats are some of my favorites and also imo one of the hardest kinds of music to make and have it sounds authentic.
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12th May 2012
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If i listen to parliament or gdorge clinton and bootsy then thats not west coast. They are from detroit.



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now see the is the problem..the west koast sound is changing right now,so why are you trying to do the sane sound that we were doing over 10 years ago.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fireworks View Post
If i listen to parliament or gdorge clinton and bootsy then thats not west coast. They are from detroit.



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G-funk got its sound from p-funk.

Not a west-coast, east-cost type thing really.
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13th May 2012
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Quote:
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now see the is the problem..the west koast sound is changing right now,so why are you trying to do the sane sound that we were doing over 10 years ago.
Because sometimes it helps to know. It adds to the creative aspect, at least for me.
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Just smoke some trees & zone out w a MPC/Maschine & a synth of ur choice!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fireworks View Post
If i listen to parliament or gdorge clinton and bootsy then thats not west coast. They are from detroit.
Whoa! Study up on your history. Neither George Clinton or Booty Collins are from Detroit. Wow! But the more important fact is that the West Coast G-Funk sound is derived from P-Funk created by George Clinton (Parliament/Funkadelic) and taken to the next level by Boosty who was also a member of Parliament/Funkadelic as well as a solo artist.
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^They weren't from Detroit, but they recorded some of those records in Detroit. I think Clinton started out as a producer at Motown too. They definitely have ties, if you look up Parliament-Funkadelic on wikipedia it lists New-Jersey and Detroit as the bands origins.

idk what that guy was getting at though because like you say g-funk was derived from it into its own sound.
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^They weren't from Detroit, but they recorded some of those records in Detroit. I think Clinton started out as a producer at Motown too. They definitely have ties, if you look up Parliament-Funkadelic on wikipedia it lists New-Jersey and Detroit as the bands origins.

idk what that guy was getting at though because like you say g-funk was derived from it into its own sound.
Parliament was signed to Invictus label that was based in Detroit but Clinton was from NJ. Bootsy was from Cincy and still lives there. Fact is the home of funk is Ohio. Mostly Dayton.

Gonna date myself but all the of the ground breaking Funk groups came out of Ohio: Bootsy, Ohio Players, Zapp/Roger Troutman, Lakeside, Faze-O, Dazz Band, Heatwave, and more. Even O'Jays and Isley brothers are from Ohio though they are not funk. So we can say the west coast g-funk sound was birthed in Ohio.
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^Ohio is definitely the land of Funk. Don't forget James Brown too, who I believe got his start there at King Records.
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Worms,Moogs,and claps, yeah buddy.
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Quote:
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Worms....claps
So I really have to have all those deceases to make West Coast beats?
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Quote:
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So I really have to have all those deceases to make West Coast beats?
haha!

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Stratocasters

Don't forget about the all important Stratocaster with the wah pedal and a decent amp (or use a usb interface with amp sim)
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Quote:
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So I really have to have all those deceases to make West Coast beats?
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14th May 2012
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Quote:
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now see the is the problem..the west koast sound is changing right now,so why are you trying to do the sane sound that we were doing over 10 years ago.
because the g-funk sound was the best sound rap ever came up with

mother****ing mothership connection
rather play that then *some* of the new shit that comes out

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSERB93GYfw#t=5m12s <-
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DRUMS - Don't quantize, especially not the kick and snare. Just bang the track out for bout 4 - 8 bars. The varience in the programming is what creates the westcoast swing.

MELODY - west coast producers would sample songs with more melody and synth than the eastcoast counterparts (parliment funk, roger, mtume, etc). played melodies (done with your keyboard) also tend to hang on certain notes and chords that are similar with either funk or even church music.

BASS - bassline is important and tends to actually play through the loops in a longer fashion than other forms of hip hop, occasionally including slides and plucks.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joey tunez View Post
DRUMS - Don't quantize, especially not the kick and snare. Just bang the track out for bout 4 - 8 bars. The varience in the programming is what creates the westcoast swing.

MELODY - west coast producers would sample songs with more melody and synth than the eastcoast counterparts (parliment funk, roger, mtume, etc). played melodies (done with your keyboard) also tend to hang on certain notes and chords that are similar with either funk or even church music.

BASS - bassline is important and tends to actually play through the loops in a longer fashion than other forms of hip hop, occasionally including slides and plucks.
^^ best response - What the hell is a west coast beat these days? I mean I consider the west coast beat movement west coast now.

FlyLo - Samiyam etc etc..
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West Coast sound is a form of Funk to me so I guess you have to be funky.

That may sound like a totally useless answer but seriously, you can't fake the funky vibe.

Some say you can't do West Coast beats without the climate, the palm trees, the kush and the fine ladies.

I don't agree BUT you have to be in that type of mood, feelin like a player who grabs dope ass weed and fine asses, noddin' like a true boss.

Also, you have to be able to stand up and vibe to the beat, if your beat doesn't make your shoulders and hips move, there is a problem.

Each style has its own vibe, feel the one of the West Coast and your beats will get better (if you work hard on'em though, smoking blunts and mackin' won't make you the next Battlecat).
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yeah, mood's the king. hence dont quantize drums thing.
plus the vibe gotta be jazzy, hence the intricate interplay of simplistic funky timbred parts of 3-5 notes.
plus the sonics gotta be luscious.
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Moog sounds like in SampleMoog, claps and Piano stabs always remind me of West Coast beats.
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just sample george clinton and them.
and have lots of nagging high pitched sliding synths.
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