How to make lo-fi hip-hop


What is lo-fi hip-hop?

Over the last decade, the popularity of “lo-fi hip-hop” has exploded thanks to producers like Nujabes and J Dilla. Lo-fi hip-hop is all about soft, introspective instrumentals that revolves around a chill, relaxed beat with a loose swing—often sampled from vintage funk and soul recordings to retain the human element of the performance.


Watch our lo-fi hip hop tutorial

Reason+ has everything you need to lay down the perfect vibe. In this tutorial, producer MG the Future will show you how to make lo-fi hip-hop beats in Reason.

How do I make a lo-fi hip-hop beat?

Reason+ is packed with classic hip-hop and vintage breakbeat loops to get you started. Just select your favorite sample from the browser and drag it into the sequencer window. Adjust the BPM using the tempo controller to dial in the perfect downtempo pace and use Reason’s built-in time stretching and compression capabilities to sync your sample to a loopable 4 or 8-bar clip.

Chop and screw samples using Dr. Octo Rex to create unique grooves by altering individual beats, or play a fresh new beat by triggering sample slices using Reason’s iconic Kong drum machine. Connect Kong to the built-in Pattern Sequencer or new Drum Sequencer Rack Extension and select from dozens of preset drum patterns for instant inspiration, or create your own patterns using advanced 16-step sequencers.

Reason+ has a near-limitless supply of sampled keyboards and synthesizers to create rich chords and unique lo-fi textures. Lay down smooth bass lines, soft synth pads, and simple leads with sampled instruments using ID8 or NN-XT. Experiment with colorful keys in Radical Piano, gentle bells in Klang, or the worldly sounds of Pangea for the perfect multi-cultural aesthetic. Build beautiful, lush chords in seconds by pairing any instrument with Reason’s Scales & Chords—simply select the key of your song and play a single note on your keyboard to create rich, full chords perfect for lo-fi hip-hop.

It’s not called lo-fi for nothing, and Reason is loaded with the perfect processors for adding vintage vibe. Use Audiomatic Retro Transformer to instantly add grainy goodness to your tracks. With options like radio, VHS, vinyl and more, Retro Transformer is perfect for adding an instant lo-fi effect. Top it all off with Scream 4 to add harmonic saturation modeled after tubes, tape and analog circuitry, and you’ve got yourself a certified head-bobber.

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Check out our lo-fi hip-hop Sound Packs for samples, chord progressions and inspiration

|  Grain Groove 001  |  Hazy lo-fi  |
|  Sunshine  |