How to make a 21 Savage type beat

21 Savage Type Beat

Welcome to this article on how to make a 21 Savage type beat, where the focus is on recreating the unique aura that defines 21 Savage’s music. Known for his dark, moody beats and minimalist production style, 21 Savage has carved a niche in the hip-hop world that gives a sense of raw realism and gritty ambiance. This article isn’t just about replicating his style; it’s about understanding the techniques that make his music stand out. As an advanced producer, you know that true artistry lies in the details. So, let’s get into the world of crafting 21 Savage type beats, where every beat and note carries a story.

The Essence of a 21 Savage Type Beat

To replicate the 21 Savage style, start by dissecting the elements that define his sound. His beats often feature a haunting blend of simplicity and darkness. They are not overly complex but are meticulously crafted to create an atmosphere that complements his storytelling.

  • Melodic Elements: 21 Savage’s melodies are often simple, repetitive, and haunting. They rely on minor scales and sparse note arrangements to create a sense of unease and tension. To emulate this, focus on crafting melodies that are straightforward yet evocative. Experiment with minor keys and scales, particularly the harmonic minor for its tension-inducing qualities.
  • Rhythmic Structure: His rhythmic approach is about restraint and impact. The beats usually sit in the lower BPM range, around 70-80 BPM, which gives them a slow, deliberate feel. The key is in the spacing – allowing each drum hit to breathe and resonate. Pay close attention to the placement of kicks and snares, ensuring they hit hard but aren’t overly frequent or busy.
  • Texture and Atmosphere: 21 Savage’s tracks often feature a distinct atmospheric quality, achieved through the use of reverb, subtle background noises, and carefully chosen sound effects. These elements are used to fill the space without cluttering the mix, creating a sense of depth and ambiance.

Drum Patterns and Rhythms

The drum pattern is where the 21 Savage beat comes to life. It’s about finding the perfect balance between simplicity and groove.

  • Kick and Snare Placement: Start with a solid kick and snare pattern. The kick should be deep and resonant, but not overwhelming. Place your kicks strategically to create a groove, but avoid overcomplicating the pattern. The snares should be sharp and clear, cutting through the mix to provide a counterpoint to the kick.
  • Hi-Hat Creativity: The hi-hats in 21 Savage beats are often used to add subtle complexity. Experiment with different rhythms and velocities. Incorporating slight variations in the hi-hat pattern can add interest and movement to the beat without overwhelming it.
  • Layering and Texture: To add depth to your drum patterns, consider layering your drums with subtle percussive elements. This could be anything from a quiet shaker to a softly played tambourine. The key is to enhance the main drum elements without drawing too much attention to the additional layers.

Crafting Dark, Atmospheric Melodies

21 Savage’s music is renowned for its dark, moody melodies that linger long after the song ends. These melodies, though simple, are charged with emotion and atmosphere.

  • Scale and Note Selection: Begin with a minor scale, often the natural or harmonic minor, to set the somber tone. Focus on creating a melody with a limited range of notes. The power lies in how these notes are played rather than the complexity of the scale. Use subtle variations in timing and velocity to give your melody an organic, haunting feel.
  • Synth and Instrument Choice: The selection of synths and instruments is crucial. Opt for sounds with a dark timbre – think muted plucks, soft bells, or melancholic pads. Layering different sounds can add depth, but keep it subtle. The goal is to create a feeling of depth without overcrowding the melodic space.
  • Application of Effects: Reverb and delay are your allies in creating an atmospheric melody. Use them sparingly to give the melody space and depth. Experiment with different reverb types to find one that adds to the mood without making the melody indistinct.

Basslines and 808s

The bassline, particularly the use of 808s, is a hallmark of 21 Savage’s music. It should be powerful yet controlled, providing a solid foundation without overpowering the mix.

  • Tuning and Sound Selection: Choose an 808 that is deep and resonant. Tuning your 808s to the key of your track is crucial for cohesion. Consider layering a subtle sub-bass beneath your 808 for added depth.
  • Rhythmic Alignment: Your 808 patterns should complement your drum beats. They should punctuate the rhythm established by the kicks and snares, often mirroring the kick to reinforce the beat. However, don’t be afraid to deviate slightly to add interest or emphasize certain beats.
  • Processing Techniques: Use compression to ensure your 808s are consistent in volume and presence. Saturation can also be employed to add warmth and character. Be mindful of the overall balance – the 808 should be felt as much as heard.

Mixing and Mastering the 21 Savage Way

Mixing and mastering a 21 Savage type beat involves a focus on clarity, depth, and maintaining the dark atmosphere of the track.

  • Mixing for Clarity and Depth: Start by giving each element its own space in the mix. Use EQ to carve out frequencies that clash, particularly between the bass and kick. The use of side-chain compression can help your kick cut through the mix without overpowering the 808.
  • Spatial Effects: Reverb and delay should be used to create space, but with a controlled hand. Too much can muddy your mix. Employ automation to apply these effects dynamically throughout the track.
  • Mastering for Consistency: The final master should be clean and consistent. Aim for a loud, clear, and dynamic sound. Use limiting and maximization carefully to achieve loudness without sacrificing the dynamic range.

Incorporating Vocal Samples and Effects

21 Savage’s tracks often feature cleverly used vocal samples and effects, adding another layer to the already rich tapestry of sound. Here’s how to integrate these elements effectively:

  • Sample Selection: Choose samples that resonate with the track’s mood. These could be short phrases, ad-libs, or even atmospheric vocal sounds. The key is to select samples that enhance the vibe without overpowering the main elements.
  • Manipulating Samples: Experiment with pitch shifting and time-stretching to make the samples fit seamlessly into your beat. Use effects like reverb and delay to blend them into the track, creating a cohesive sound.
  • Creative Placement: Place your vocal samples thoughtfully. They can be used to accentuate certain beats, create transitions, or add interest to repetitive sections. Be strategic – less is often more in the world of 21 Savage.

Advanced Techniques and Finishing Touches

With the core elements in place, it’s time to add the finishing touches that can elevate your beat from good to great.

  • Automation for Dynamic Changes: Use automation to introduce subtle changes in volume, panning, or effects over time. This keeps the listener engaged and adds a professional polish to your track.
  • Layering and Texture: Consider adding additional layers like atmospheric pads, subtle sound effects, or background noises. These should be almost imperceptible but will add to the overall depth and texture of the track.
  • Final Checks and Balances: Take a step back and listen to your track as a whole. Make sure that every element has its place and purpose. Check for any frequency clashes, volume imbalances, or elements that don’t contribute to the overall vibe.


You now have a comprehensive roadmap to crafting a 21 Savage type beat. Remember, while these tips provide a framework, the magic lies in your creativity and experimentation. Each producer brings their unique flavor to the process, so don’t hesitate to put your personal spin on these techniques. The world of music production is constantly evolving, and your interpretation of the 21 Savage sound could be the next big thing. Dive into your DAW, trust your instincts, and let the music guide you to new creative heights.

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