How to Make a Lil Nas X Type Beat

Lil Nas X Type Beat

Lil Nas X has not only taken the music world by storm but has also redefined the boundaries of genre. You, the forward-thinking producer, are likely intrigued by his innovative sound—a fusion that defies traditional categorization. In this article, we will delve into the creative process of crafting a Lil Nas X type beat, a venture that demands both respect for his style and your unique twist. Understanding his sound is a journey through uncharted musical landscapes, blending hip-hop’s rhythm with country’s soul and pop’s appeal.

Analyzing Lil Nas X’s Musical Style

To craft a beat in Lil Nas X’s style, one must first dissect the elements that define his music. His tracks, like “Old Town Road” or “Montero”, are not mere songs; they are tapestries woven from diverse musical traditions. His approach seamlessly blends the storytelling and twang of country with the bold rhythms of hip-hop and the catchy hooks of pop. Let’s break down these styles:

  • Country Influence: Notice the banjo strums and storytelling lyrics. Lil Nas X’s country elements often provide a soulful, nostalgic feel.
  • Hip-Hop Essence: The beats are where hip-hop’s influence shines, offering a rhythmic foundation that is both catchy and grounding.
  • Pop Appeal: His use of pop is evident in the memorable choruses and structures that make his songs universally appealing and radio-friendly.

As you analyze these elements, think about how they can be adapted and integrated into your beat-making process.

Setting the Foundation: Tempo and Rhythm

The tempo and rhythm are the heartbeat of any Lil Nas X type beat. His tracks often oscillate between 120-140 BPM, catering to both energetic and laid-back vibes. The rhythm, particularly in tracks like “Panini,” demonstrates the importance of a catchy, head-bobbing groove.

  • Drums: Start with a basic hip-hop drum pattern. Lil Nas X often uses punchy kicks and crisp snares to create a solid rhythm.
  • Percussion: Don’t be afraid to add layers of claps or snaps, enhancing the track’s texture and depth.

Remember, the goal is to make your listeners move instinctively to the beat’s rhythm.

Melodic Construction: Catchiness Meets Creativity

Melodies in Lil Nas X’s music are catchy yet not overly complex. They often revolve around a few key notes, creating an infectious loop that listeners can’t get out of their heads.

  • Instrument Choice: Synths and plucks are commonly used for melody lines. Consider incorporating country elements like a banjo or steel guitar for authenticity.
  • Layering: To achieve a fuller sound, layer your melodies. A simple synth lead can be complemented by a subtle guitar riff or a background vocal hum.

Creating a melody that sticks is about finding a balance between repetition and variation.

Harmonic Structures: Blending Genres Seamlessly

When it comes to Lil Nas X’s beats, the harmony plays a pivotal role in genre fusion. The harmonic structures often incorporate elements from both country and hip-hop, creating a unique sonic palette.

  • Harmonic Analysis: Study tracks like “Rodeo” for their use of minor scales and bluesy chord progressions. These elements are central to the country feel.
  • Country Twangs and Hip-Hop Beats: Blend simple guitar chords with urban beat elements. Think about how a country guitar riff can work over a trap-inspired drum pattern.
  • Unconventional Chord Progressions: Don’t shy away from experimenting with unusual chord progressions. They can add an unexpected twist to your beat, making it stand out.

Remember, your goal is to create a harmonic backdrop that complements both the melodic and rhythmic elements of your beat.

Crafting the Beat: Drums, Bass, and Beyond

The foundation of any Lil Nas X type beat lies in its rhythmic and bass elements. These should drive the track while also leaving space for melodic and vocal flourishes.

  • Signature Drum Pattern: A tight, snappy snare and a deep, resonant kick are key. Incorporate hi-hats with varied patterns to add dynamism.
  • Bassline Composition: The bass should provide groove and depth without overpowering the mix. A well-crafted 808 can lend a modern hip-hop feel, while a more melodic bassline can enhance the track’s musicality.
  • Additional Elements: Incorporating elements like a distorted guitar or atmospheric synths can add an extra layer of interest and help your beat stand out.

Balancing these elements is crucial to ensuring that your beat is both engaging and true to the Lil Nas X style.

Vocal Elements: Capturing the Lil Nas X Vibe

Lil Nas X’s music often features memorable vocal hooks and cleverly crafted lyrics. Even if you’re focusing on the beat, considering the potential vocal layering is important.

  • Vocal Samples: If you’re using samples, choose ones that resonate with the track’s mood. They should complement the beat, not clash with it.
  • Recording Original Vocals: For recording, ensure clarity and presence in the vocal mix. Lil Nas X’s vocals often sit prominently in the mix, clear and upfront.
  • Processing Vocals: Use effects like reverb and delay judiciously to add dimension to the vocals without muddying the overall sound.

Whether you’re adding your vocals or leaving space for another artist, keeping the vocal elements in mind is key to creating a beat that truly resonates.

Production Techniques: Mixing and Mastering

In the world of Lil Nas X-type beats, mixing and mastering are not just technical processes; they are artistic opportunities to bring out the best in your creation.

  • Mixing for Clarity: Each element in your mix, from the thumping kicks to the crisp snares and the melodic overlays, needs to have its own space. Use EQ to ensure clarity and avoid frequency clashes, especially between your bass and kick.
  • Dynamic Processing: Compression is key to maintaining a balanced dynamic range. It ensures that your beat has a consistent energy level, vital for Lil Nas X’s often energetic tracks.
  • Mastering for Polish: Mastering should elevate the overall sound. Aim for a loud, clear output that maintains the beat’s dynamic range. The final track should sound equally impressive on massive club speakers and standard headphones.

The mix should serve the beat, highlighting its strengths while maintaining the overall balance and energy.


As we wrap up this guide on crafting a Lil Nas X type beat, remember that the essence of his music lies in its ability to break boundaries and blend genres. Your journey in creating this type of beat should be marked by experimentation and creativity. Embrace the unexpected, blend the unblendable, and always add your unique touch.

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