How to Make a Kendrick Lamar Type Beat

Kendrick Lamar Type Beat

Kendrick Lamar stands as a colossus in the hip-hop world, not just for his lyrical genius, but for the intricate and diverse beats that underpin his storytelling. As an advanced-level beat producer, you appreciate the nuances and complexities that make a Kendrick Lamar type beat both challenging and rewarding to create. In this article, we dive deep into the artistry and technical skills required to emulate the Kendrick vibe while infusing your unique touch.

Deconstructing Kendrick Lamar’s Sound: A Producer’s Analysis

Kendrick’s discography is a goldmine for producers seeking to understand the interplay of rhythm, melody, and storytelling. Take, for instance, the iconic track “Alright.” Here, the beat acts as a canvas for Kendrick’s powerful narrative, blending classic hip-hop elements with modern production techniques.

Notice how the minimalist approach in the verses contrasts with the fuller choruses, a technique that amplifies the song’s message. To craft a Kendrick Lamar type beat, dissect such tracks, paying close attention to how the beat evolves and interacts with the lyrics.

Tempo and Rhythm: Capturing Kendrick’s Dynamic Flow

Kendrick’s tracks often oscillate between 65-110 BPM, offering a blend of introspective calm and energetic aggression. This variability isn’t just about numbers; it’s about feeling. A Kendrick beat requires you to be a master of tempo, capable of creating a rhythm that supports his storytelling cadence.

Experiment with off-beat snares or unexpected kick patterns to add that signature unpredictability. Remember, your beat should be adaptable, able to shift seamlessly as Kendrick’s flow intensifies or softens.

Advanced Drum Programming for Kendrick-style Beats

The drums in a Kendrick beat are not just a rhythm section; they’re a statement. Think beyond the standard kick-snare-hi-hat pattern. Incorporate unusual percussion, like bongos or tablas, to add depth.

Layer your snares with claps or snaps for a fuller sound, and don’t shy away from using silence as a rhythmic element. This approach creates a dynamic soundscape that can pivot with Kendrick’s diverse lyrical themes.

Melodic Structures and Innovative Basslines

In the realm of Kendrick Lamar beats, melody plays a pivotal role. It’s not just about creating a catchy tune; it’s about composing a narrative backdrop for Kendrick’s profound lyrics. Use unconventional scales or modes to craft melodies that resonate with emotional depth.

For the bassline, consider a balanced approach – it should be robust enough to carry the groove, yet subtle enough to not overpower the main melody. Techniques like sidechain compression can be crucial here, ensuring the bass pulsates in harmony with the kick, creating a cohesive rhythmic foundation.

Sound Design and Instrumentation

Kendrick’s beats often feature a rich tapestry of sounds, blending classic hip-hop elements with unexpected textures. When selecting synths, opt for those that offer a warm, analog feel, perhaps with a touch of modern digital sharpness.

Experiment with layering different sounds – a pad underneath a lead synth can add fullness, while a subtly placed arpeggio can add movement. Don’t hesitate to manipulate samples, stretching and pitching them to fit the beat’s mood. Remember, the goal is to craft a soundscape that complements Kendrick’s storytelling without overpowering it.

Arrangement Strategies for Versatile Flow Accommodation

Kendrick’s ability to switch flows and moods seamlessly is legendary. Your beat structure needs to accommodate this versatility. Start with an intro that sets the tone, but keep it open and adaptable for Kendrick’s dynamic entry. In verses, provide enough space for his dense lyrical delivery – less can be more here.

The chorus sections should be more robust, bringing all elements of the beat together to create a memorable and impactful moment. Consider adding a bridge or breakdown to provide contrast and maintain listener interest throughout the track.

Professional Mixing and Mastering: A Kendrick Beat Perspective

Mixing a Kendrick Lamar type beat requires a keen ear for detail and balance. Each element of the beat should have its own space in the mix, ensuring clarity and cohesion. Pay special attention to how the vocals will sit within the beat – they should be the centerpiece, with the beat framing them perfectly. During mastering, aim for a clean, dynamic, and wide sound.

Kendrick’s tracks often have a cinematic quality, so your mastering should enhance this characteristic without sacrificing the track’s punch and energy.


Creating a Kendrick Lamar type beat is a journey through complex rhythms, nuanced melodies, and thoughtful arrangements. It’s about balancing technical prowess with creative intuition. As you experiment with these techniques, remember that the goal is not to replicate Kendrick’s sound exactly, but to capture its essence and spirit.

Your unique interpretation and innovation are what will make your beat stand out. Embrace the challenge, and let your creativity and skills combine to pay homage to one of hip-hop’s greatest.

Resources for Advanced Beat Makers

To further refine your Kendrick Lamar type beat, explore the following resources:

  1. Software & Plugins: Look into advanced DAWs like Ableton Live or FL Studio for intricate beat-making capabilities. Experiment with plugins like Serum for versatile synths, and Omnisphere for expansive sound libraries. Check out HPS’s store for free Serum presets!
  2. Sample Libraries: Dive into collections that offer a range of sounds, from classic hip-hop samples to unconventional audio recordings. Websites like Splice or Loopmasters are great places to start.
  3. Production Tutorials: Watch breakdowns and tutorials by established producers who have worked in the hip-hop genre. These can provide insights into specific techniques and creative processes.
  4. Kendrick Lamar Interviews & Behind-the-Scenes: Listening to Kendrick and his producers talk about their work can provide invaluable insights into their creative mindset and process.

As you apply these advanced techniques and resources, your skill in crafting beats that resonate with the complexity and depth of Kendrick Lamar’s style will continually grow. Remember, the world of music production is always evolving, and so should you. Keep experimenting, learning, and pushing the boundaries of your creativity.

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