For my major project, I managed to analyse a few tracks in the subgenre of ragga music which is the genre of dancehall but the track that inspired me and help me much in terms of comparison was the Baby Cham ‘Ghetto Story’ song featuring Alicia Keys. Baby Cham is a Jamaican dancehall artist who specialises in the genre of ragga music. Ragga music is composed using minimal sounds mainly the ones with instruments that have heaps of frequency to give it the heavy rhythmic feel which I was going for in my production.


The Ghetto story song has a repetitive heavy tight kick drum which layered with a distorted soft kick making the entire sound of the kick lo-fi. The kick plays the main rhythm of the song and is felt on the loud sound system.

In my song the main rhythm of my song is played by a kick drum has well though my kick drum is to way loud and not layered. My track has minimal melodic and harmonic instruments compared to the Baby Cham’s one that is rich in harmonies and melodies.
I was trying to incorporate more melodic sounds as my reference track but having a limited knowledge of music theory affected me in the section so ended up having the few chords that are heard.

The dynamics of the Ghetto story song are well balanced. All the frequencies work well together and no frequency range (low, mid and high) is very louder than the rest.
The vocals are also balanced well in the entire song with heaps of backings and harmony vocals. They sit well in the mix and stand out which makes the message of the track heard clearly but the audience.

In my song am quite happy with the instrumental as it’s well balanced but vocals brought my track to really loose a taste. They were roughly recorded in a rash and I ended up picking different pieces from different tracks combined them together to foam ones take which resulted in issues of balancing the volume.
So the final mix of my song has unbalanced vocals where different sections have different volume levels. This is so unprofessional and I will have to record my vocals and mix my track again.

All I could say is that I executed the instrumental fairly good but the vocals and the mixing were really bad. So to make my project good I will record to vocals very well, layer them and re-mix my entire to make sure all the instruments sound good before uploading it online.


Reflection on my AUD 230 Projects

An Introduction

For my AUD 230 Major project, I decided to work on two separate projects. One project was to produce an electronic track in the genre of ragga/dancehall music and also sample a live kit drum to create a sample that I will be using in my next trimester’s project unfortunately the I lost my drum sampling sessions so I will have to sample the kit again. The aim of completing these two projects collectively was to gain experience in producing tracks, design sounds electronically also learning how to use hard effects using the patch in lead cables in the neve studio.
After the projects both my reinterpretation and my final major project, my skills in using and applying electronic music production and understanding Ableton software and VST plugins has really improved.


Ableton Live


For all my project this trimester, I used Ableton live as my DAW because it the most used software used by most electronic music producers and because of its simplest that why I chose to use it. I loved the easy drumming programming view of Ableton which was easy for me to program in my drums and percussions.
I also programmed midi notes the way the drums are programmed in and I applied both Ableton native and non-native plugins (synthesisers) which I played around to created melodies, chords progression and harmonic sounds that are heard in my tracks.


The structure of both my reinterpretation and major project song was based on the song that I analysed in the pre-production process (Ghetto story Baby Cham ft. Alicia Keys). I am quite happy with the structure of my track but totally disappointed at the final mixing of the track mainly the vocals that I recorded to the tracks.

Mixing the tracks was the hardest part of this project. As am not good at mixing my own tracks. Simon’s vocals that I record for my reinterpretation track were great but I kind of messed them up in the mixing stage but it all learning stage and I believe if I practice more I will get better at it. My main problem is that I create my instrumentals first which I mixed perfectly as I go then try to fit in the vocals later which becomes a problem because I have to go back and re-mix my tracks after the production and this becomes hard for me to come up with a good mix.
Both my productions the instrumentals are way louder compared to the vocals. This is because am used to listening to songs which are heavy in the lows ends and it has affected much my ability to mix songs. So what I have taken away from both of these projects is to send my tracks to someone else to mix them for me.

Overall in the entire trimester I feel I have certainly gained more experience in electronic music production and I believe that with just a bit of more practice, I can become an excellent electronic producer.


I mixed and mastered my track for my major project in Ableton using the Ableton built in plugins and mad sure I keep my eyes on the metering level not to exceed the Australian standard industry loudness metering levels as this could make my track a low quality when played on radio stations as they are equipped with programs that automatically adjust audio levels making sure they are evenly spread in the perceived radio station loudness level. This help the listens not having to change the volume knob all the time as it would have been if every track played on a radio station was played without adjust its volume adjusted. They are all mixed and mastered at different levels

Today a lot of producers, mixing and mastering engineers have come to a sound war competing to see who is pumping out the loudest mix. Mostly the young electronic producers have a lot of issues when it comes to controlling the loudness of their mix. They use excessive compression, limiting and maximisation in their productions not knowing that this doesn’t not only increase volume but also affect the dynamics and quality of the production and it against the legislative laws.

In Australia, a domestic version of the ITU-R BS.1770 is followed. This is an international
Metering level used in measuring audio programme loudness.
It’s OP-56 which is used to measure the loudness units relative to the full scale and to make sure the levels of audio for broadcast in normalised.
This has been facilitated by commercial radio and streaming services as the replay level of the tracks will be automatically adjusted to ensure an even spread in the overall perceived loudness. With the advent of new technology, this is being applied to music streaming services as well as music players themselves

I used this information that helped me much in my mastering session and compared my final master to a commercial track.

Steps that I used to master my track
First I had to bounce final mix out of Ableton in a WAV 24 Bit Depth format. With a sample rate of 48 KHz and imported it back to new Ableton session.
I then started building a mastering chain which I used a master track put a multiband dynamics plug-in to it which I used to separate frequency into 3 separate bands (high, mids and Lows)

Multiband dynamics

I put the multiband dynamics plugin to audio effect which gave me easy access to control the 3 group band frequencies.
I turn down the lows in my mix as the track and boosted a bit of the mid to compensated for what I lost during the mixing

I drop an Eq eight o


I also applied a limiter to the master track and turned up the gain level 2db up.


I compared my track to ghetto story Baby Cham featuring Alicia keys which were very different the Ghetto sorry sold had the vocals sounding great compared to mine which was had different levels at different parts of the song.
The low-end frequency in my track was too loud compared to Baby Cham ‘track.
The mids in the ghetto story song seemed louder than mine also the kick and bass in my track were not punch as the one to my comparison track.



On Friday I managed to record vocals of my major project as I thought I couldn’t get them done due to the artist not turning up for the session. I had already set up the microphone and fired up pro-tool session ready to record. I transferred the audio files of my instrument from Ableton to pro-tools because I was going to use the neve desk and record into pro-tool then bounce the vocals take back to Ableton and mix them inside the box.
But my artist ended up not coming in for the session neither picking up his phone. All I had to do was to quickly write up a bit of lyrics for the track and using the remaining two hours of the booking to record them it’s a frustrating session as I had to think of the theme of the track and accompany its good lyrics.

After my booking finished I went and used the neve drum/recording room to record my vocals as the next person after my booking was just mixing their tracks and not using the drum room.


I recorded my vocals direct to Ableton using an AKG C414 microphone which I connected to a preSonus preamp and connected the amp direct to my laptop using a USB port.
The vocals on my track were not very clean as the I was of freestyling to the music and the microphone ended up picking up bleeds from the headphone that I wasn’t hearing while recording but were loud enough to be heard at the mixing stage. I knew I was going to spend much time try to edit the takes and pick out what was going to work out and leave what was going to work out.
The best part is I managed to get bits of good take that I ended up using on the track but had a hectic time trying to get all the takes to work out.


Budget of recording using limited resources

This process helped me learn that working under pressure and having limited resources can make one very production. So for those you who are looking at recording with a limited budget, this can be the way to go as everything can be done in the box. Invest in a good preamp and a good microphone but you should know that there is a hell of work waiting for you to edit and know that you going to end up with issues when mix.

A list of Showing the budget of equipment that I used.

PreSonus pre amp – $315
AKG C414 – $1,439
Mic Stand – $35

Mixing Vocals

I edited my vocals and cut out all the parts of the recordings that I didn’t want then I left the good part I liked to use. To make the good parts of my recording I had to arrange different takes which had different volume levels and twisted them and also levelled them to make sure they kind of much and blend in together.


This is a massive “must have” tool for producers most those who are going to be editing vocals and dialogues. I just wish I knew this before It a save me much time and don’t regret the hours I spent watching its tutorials by Scott Hirsch on Lynda because it just made me get ready for the unwanted sound and reduced from the phone bleeds then were record to the microphone all this is done using the spectrum view on the wave foam and it also blends in the sounding sound to fix the part cut out. I was so amazed the tutorial and the final product I got when I used it.


This was the tool that I didn’t with my mixing but applied it to my on vocals and pitched them up to act as my backing vocals because I didn’t have any backing vocals recorded I also used it the transform my vocals in an instrument that am definitely going to use for my CIU Hip Hop project because the transformed vocal sampled suited well with my production and sound like they are sample of a female vocalists. I used the amplitude tool of the program to levelling the volume of my vocals as they were all from different takes that had different tones and volume levels. because I pick various sample from lots of different takes. I tried to play around its built-in mixer but didn’t like it so I had to bounce out my tracks and imported the back to Ableton where I didn’t my final mixing.

I used the Ableton built eq eight to clean up all my entire vocals and celebrity cut both low and high ends on what I used as my backing vocals to give them the narrow telephone like sound and blended it with the main vocals that I layered together. I cut out the bad offending frequencies (mids) that were kind of crushing with the instrumental which I mix fast before recording vocal to it. I also cut out the low-end frequencies below 110 Hertz. The only problem I had was to try and fix the vocals the instrumental as it was already mixed. I also removed sibilance from the vocals using the waves DeEsser thou it it affected my vocal making them sound like i was signing in a palm fix. i back off the threshold and it went back to normal. Finally cranked up the vocal level using the wave Vcomp compressor.

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 9.47.51 PM

It was a very stressful process getting everything done it a short period of time and I believe I won’t end up with a good product but at least I managed to work under stress and got work done in a limited time using limited resources. I will never record vocals in a rush as it’s a hectic job to edit and mix them perfectly. what I have learnt in this project is to know that the project plan will never work out 100% as it drafted so I should always have a backup plan and solution to for a unexpected problems that might occur.


 Recording drums in the studios can be fun, exciting at the same time very complicated depending on how you set them up, the room you using (is it acoustically treated? or not), the type of drums and the microphones being used to record play a big role to sound achieved. A lot of people have different ways on how they approach recording drums and end up with either a clean good recording which saves much time that would have been spent in the mixing stage or some end up with recordings that might need much processing after the recording.

The complicated side of recording drums is that they sound good when you in the drum room with the drummer is playing them but once you go in the recording room, every sound you heard in the drum room changes as you listening to drums through the monitors in the studio.

Today I would like to share with you some of the drum miking tips and microphones that me and my friend max used to sample a full drum kit that we will put together for a sample pack. These tips would benefit you and will take your drum recordings to a higher level.

Before you start selecting microphones for drum recording, you need a have bit of knowledge about microphones, their characteristics, sensitivity and polar patterns as this will help reduce a risk of feedback, bleed and drum spills.


A full kit has different drums and instruments which include a snare drum, kick drum toms hi-hats cymbals and rides. All of the above instruments have different frequency ranges so each of them has to be miked up with microphones that are good at picking up its frequency response.

For example, kicks and floor toms with low frequencies need low frequency like AKG D112, Shure Beta 52A, Sennheiser’s e604, MD 421.

And sharp transient instrument such hi hats snare drum cowbell and cymbals need and high frequency response microphones like Shure’s SM 81, AKG’s C414 with small capsule to pick up the sharpness of those instruments.



As you know a kick drum has a low frequency and heavier/punchy bass sound. We used the AKG D112 that we placed the mic a few inches from the hole in front of the kick drum to capture the oomph (beefy) sound of the kick. The AKG D112 is a great microphone for recording bass sounds as it has a large diaphragms and a bass resonance volume chamber that gives a unique and punchy sound. The microphones also have high sound pressure level capability (160 dB SPL) and built in punchy EQ that can handle more bass sound without distortion. This microphone can pick up response below 80 Hz.

A kick drum can be miked in serval ways you can use one microphone or two microphones (kick and kick out). In case you want to use a second mic which in this case we didn’t use. You can insert the microphone inside the hole at the front head of the kick drum close to the bitter to record more attack from the kick. move it around the head to find a suit spot the emphasizes the sub sound that adds beef to the inside microphone.


Below is a Frequency chart of AKG d112 my favorite kick drum microphone





For a snare drum we were going for a snappy, crispy and poppy sound so we used two SM57 microphones on it. As are great microphone for picking up bright and clean sound with their good frequency response that range from 40 to 15,000 hertz. We placed one mic (SM57) at the top of the drum which, placed it between the hi-hats and the rank tom, two-three fingers away from the rim of the snare drum but positioned it facing towards the head of the drum to pick up more lows and crispiness

We We placed an sm57 and the bottom of the snare drum looking directly to the top microphone and we phase flipped it to cancelled out phasing issues. The aim of the SM57 at the bottom was to capture the crack sound of the snare drum and the rattle of the snares at the bottom of the drum.



For the toms we should the same microphone on three of our tom drums thou we were aiming to record the different tone the toms produce as they have different sizes.  We used the Sennheiser’s MD 421-II which are legendary cardioid microphone with a five position bass roll-off switch that enabled us to cut off low- end frequencies from the the floor tom. With the mic placement we approached same same we did with the snare top.



Off the hats we used the Shure SM81 unidirectional condenser microphone which we pointed close to the edge of the hats but with a offset direction from the snare. This captured the crispness and and a bit of air from hats but it controlled much of the snare from bleeding in the microphone. The SM81 is always great for the high frequency sounds because of it fabulous frequencies response range from 20Hz to 20 KHz.


Our drum our sampling didn’t good as we had a limited time frame of two hours to set up microphone and recording the drum. so end up rushing through the process tho we managed to get  some great sample of the drums but we definitely going to go back and resample the kit again to get good quality sample. through the process we learnt to mike up a drum kit and rum the neve desk for recording.



In this post I will be discussing and analysing the genre of Hip Hop music (Rap), its origin, the elements used in its production and I will also analyse one Hip Hop track called “The Motto” from drake featuring Lil Wayne.



Rap music (Hip hop) is said to have originated from the African American communities of South Bronx, New York City in the early 1970’s. It was introduced by DJ Kool Herc (Clive Campbell) a born Jamaican Dj who migrated to America and brought with him his Jamaican culture of huge sound systems where he organised, hosted street and hall parties and patrons who attended the events (Lewis, 2006; Zuberi 2003).

Kool Herc always melded percussive sounds from older records with new records to keep a continuously flowing of music (mixing) as he entertained his fans. Using his two turntables and a mixer (sound system) to mix tracks at his sister’s back-to-school party, DJ Kool Herc tried something new which gave birth to Hip Hop. He extended an instrumental beat (breakbeat) and started ‘toasting’ or talking over the records (MC’ing) to engage and entertain the crowd which marked the start of Hip Hop music (Laurence, 2014).

He was later on joined by other pioneering Africa-American deejays such as Grand wizard Theodore, Afrika Bambaataa and grandmaster Flash who formed a group that transformed hip-hop from music to a culture that changed the all music industry. The group introduced, developed and contributed to new skills that transformed Hip Hop music into a cultural movement. For example turntable manipulation (turntablism) also known as deejaying, Breaking ( Breakdancing), Emceeing,  and Graffiti art. All the above skill made up to what known “The fours elements of Hip Hop” (“The national museum of hip-hop”, n.d.).b-boy

Hip Hop Productions

Hip Hop production goes way back in the 1970’s where DJ’s used to play different breaks from different records for Mc’s to rap on at parties. They would get different live musicians mainly percussionists to play over a looping break beat and form original music which Mc’s could rap too. (Laurence, 2014).

This was all occurring live on stage until 1979 when “The Sugarhill Gang” opened another door for rappers to starting releasing their production on vinyl as the group’s (“The Sugarhill Gang”) “rappers delight” song that was recorded and produced on vinyl took rap music to mainstream when it went into the US top 40’s in 1980. (Lynch, 2014)

All song was produced using samples taken from different songs such as of “Good Times” song by chic where they lifted (ripped) and used its groovy breakbeat which was incorporated with others samples. “Not only was Chic’s disco groove used without permission but Big Bank Hank’s verses — including the line “never let an MC steal your rhymes” — were allegedly stolen outright from Grandmaster Caz of the Bronx hip-hop group Cold Crush Brothers” (Lynch,2014)

In 1980’s-1990’s, sampling ( an act of taking samples and snippet of audio from other sound recordings) became extensive in the hip hop production and the technique started to be used by many producers to create new music. Dr. Dre and DJ Yella of the NWA (Niggaz with Attitude) Rap group were among the producers that too sampling to the next level as they used sampled Jazz and Funk records, layered them with melodic elements to create tracks for their Straight Outta Compton music album that made the group gain much recognition and commercial success. (McGrath, 2011; Grant 2007)scratch

Today due to Technology, digital samplers both hardware and software have been inverted which have made sampling easier than it was before. So a lot of Hip Hop producers are making tracks from samples which they ripped off other audio sources, creatively engineer (pitch shift, reverse, speed up and distort) them and make new sounds using the sampled sound in virtual instruments.(Newton, 2008)

Today’s Hip production is still based mainly old techniques that were introduced by the DJ New production techniques such sampling short drum break beats from different records, scratching where needle dropping such as were introduced to Hip Hop by DJ’s as competition become big where each wanted to show their strengths Rapping/Emceeing in hip hop when rhythmic and rhyming speech or poetry is spoken or sang in time to a music beat. As rapping became more popular and the number of DJ’s increased, competition started to occur where dancing (breaking) battles from different groups to see who can produce a better production to the

Sound of Hip hop 

Rap music has always been composed of minimal sounds in its production as it originated from the ghettos and poor suburbs of New York city when producers never had enough money to afford music instruments which were expensive. Using samples ripped off records was the only way to make new songs. But as technology started improving and rap music got commercial producers started making money off music which they used to purchase new instruments (both hardware and software) then they started creating new and clean sounds.

The few instruments used to produce rap music include Drum beats, turntables, synthesisers and vocals (htmb,2015).


This has been the foundation or the heart of rap music. Rap started off with just playing a drum beat loop which is mainly composed of a kick drum and snare drum and bits of percussive hi-hats playing.  The old school hip hop has drum beats that are heavier and it sounds distorted as they were samples played off drums machine such as E-mu SP-1200 and Akai MPC60 while are other drum samples were ripped from a record.akai-mpc-renaissance-600921

But the genre today has cleaner drum beats used which are most of the time are digital samples downloaded from sample packs. They get layered with other samples to give them the hardness and punchiness to stand out in the mix. Other drum samples that get layered are Loud crispy snare drum (both samples and synths) with harsh hand claps are layered to produce a harsh snare sound (Veeger,2014).

In the current sub-genres of rap music mainly trap and grill music, producers has turned back to bring up the sound of the old sound rap music by using 808 drum sample which  they creatively engineer and incorporating them with electro synths sounds to create new production.


In rap music, synthesisers have played a big role to shape the genre where it is now as they have been used to create melodic sounds, bass lines, percussive sounds and even sound effects. In today rap music production, we can hear heaps of new sounds that have been generated from using of virtual instruments which have replaced real instruments and hardware synthesiser. Many young Hip-Hop producers are using  virtual instruments to create any sort of sound they produce and incorporate it in the genre which has made rap music to sound very different with heaps of complex and simple sounds compared to the old  Hip-Hop.

Vocals (Rap/Emceeing)


Rapping/Emceeing in hip hop has been defined as rhythmic and rhyming speech or poetry that is spoken or sang to a music beat. This started off as an act of DJs playing music at the same time motivating crowds by speaking over music. As rapping became more popular DJ introduced Master of ceremony/act (MC) who would speak rhyming words in time with the rhythmic tempo of the melodies that were played by the DJs (History of hip hop music,”1997). “Performers spoke while the music played; these were originally called MCs (Master of Ceremonies or Mic Control- ler) and, later, rappers. These early rappers focused on introducing themselves and others in the audience, with some improvisation and a simple four-count beat, along with a simple chorus.” (Michael Newman, pp. 402)

When rapping because popular, rappers started using more complex rhythms, flows, lyrical content and concepts in their music. This is when we started hearing the use of metaphors, similes, strong messages delivered in rap music using hardcore tones of voices. Rappers such as Tupac, Notorious Big and Nas were among the great act who delivered song message to the public through rap music. “All we know is violence, do tha job in silence. Walk tha city streets like a rat pack of tyrants” Lyrics by 2Pac Shakur. 2013 (VeloLyrics,2015).

Song analysis

“The Motto” Drake featuring Lil Wayne

The 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards - Show

onstage during the 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on January 31, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.

“The motto” is a hip-hop song by a Canadian recording artist “Drake” featuring an American rapper Lil Wayne “Young money”. This song was produced by T-Minus, released on 29, November 2011 and it was a success for the rapper as it sold 3 million copies and was nominated for the best rap sold at the 55th Grammy awards.


The track was produced with minimal instruments as most of the old school Hip-Hop had. The instruments used are 808 kick drum, claps, moody bass, hats, Synth and vocal of drake and Lil Wayne.

Kick and Bass

The 808 kick drum has a presence of low-end frequency which makes it sound heavy and punchier. It sounds to be layered with a moody bass synth that is side chained to it because the bass is loud but when the kick is playing its reduces volume allowing the kick to cut through the mix.  The layering of bass and kick drum has been introduced in hip hop music through its sub-genre called Trap music. Trap music originated from southern states of America, it uses low-end sounds that can be felt such loud kick 808 bass sound and snappy snare drum. The samples used in the genre originates from the TR-808 Drum machine. It also uses aggressive synths sounds that represent its background of the south. Where young adults use trap music to talk about the street life and hardship they live by daily also to express their anger toward the injustice system of the US government (Pepin,2014).Roland_TR-808_drum_machine

I believed the kick and the hats used in this track were sourced from the TR-808 Drum machine which they compressed to make them louder and pumping in the song.Both the kick and the bass are positioned in the centre of the mix.

Snare drum and Claps

They used a loud grimy, snappy, rhythmic snare drum which is layered with a clap to give it a sharp sound and compressed making it loud it the song. It plays rhythmic pattern with variations accompanying the melodic bass in the song and has a dry Reverb that gives it the short space sound.

The song has two types of claps which were used to produce the song. The main clap plays loud on every second beat of the song. This sharp and loud clap has a medium reverb used on it and is panned to mid left of the mix.

The other clap is the alternating clap which is automated with a panning (auto pan) effect that is moving from left to right in the mix. The alternating clap has been distorted to make it sound dirtier in the song keeping the sound of Trap music which is associated with dirty sounds. The clap also has reverb and delay used on it. Lastly, the clap has a low volume which makes it playing in the background of the mix.


The track has loud repetitive open hats which change patterns throughout the song. They have reverb applied them and they are heard will space sounds has if they are being played in the open space.


Both Drake and Lil Wayne lead vocals are positioned in the centre with a medium volume level that keeps them blending in the mix. The song also has backing vocals of Lil Wayne that are panned both to the left and right of the song. The used a bandwidth eq on them where both the high and low frequencies are cut off to make them sound like one was speaking on a telephone (telephone effect).There backing vocals and bit of the lead vocals have delay effect applied to them which make the backings repeat with echoes bouncing back after.

Lyrical content

“Getting paid, we’ll holla whenever that stop / My team good, they don’t really need a mascot / I tell Tune ‘light one, pass it like a relay’ / YMCMB, you n—as more YMCA,” Drake raps. Meanwhile, Lil Tunechi throws a couple lyrical jabs and indecipherable rhymes at his haters. He rhymes, “Talk stupid, off with your head / Money talks and Mr. Ed / I’m so Young Money / Got a drum on the gun and a desert bunny.” (Fitzgerald,2011)

According to the lyrics of the song, drake talks about the rich and high standard life  he lives.  The theme of the song “YOLO” which stands for You only live once proves that he doesn’t care and won’t regret the discussion he makes because he got enough money and his leaving a good life.

This phrase is used much by the young adults as it became used away enjoying life to the fullness with regret of what happen as they believe in YOLO. I believe this at the same time was drake’s target market for this track as what he signing about is enjoying like abundantly.

Today’s young purveyors of YOLO do indeed appear to be trying to work it right, though what that means is up for debate. Eble’s students illustrate its typical use, as a carefree tag to explain an impulsive choice: “You want to park illegally in this spot? YOLO!” “Should I buy these shoes or pay rent? YOLO!” The word has also found favor as a verb, as in this Yelp review of a Jersey City pizzeria: “All the times I come home after a night of YOLO-ing, I crave a delish slice to soak up the booze and sober me up.” (Zimmer, 2012).


In this blog, I have analysed the Hip Hop genre, talked about it origination, the sounds used in its production and I have analysed Drake’s “The Motto” Hip Hop song featuring Lil Wayne.


In this blog, I want to analyse a song called “Stir it up” by Bob Marley a known legend of reggae music who drove reggae from its roots in Jamaica and delivered it to the world during his music career. This song which was published in 1972 by Hal Leonard Music Publishing under a “Catch A Fire” music album was a massive hit song for Bob Marley which attracted attention of the regime’s stars like Johnny Nash an American reggae singer- songwriter known for his massive hit ‘I can see clearly now’ who loved the track, did different versions of the song and ever asked Bob Marley to tour and perform on their shows.
Stir it up is a five and 30 seconds song produced by The Wailers, Bob Marley and Chris Blackwell an English businessman and record producer who is the founder of Island Records which is one of Britain’s great independent record label. The song has a tempo of 76 BPM (beats per minute) composed in a key of A Major and a 4/4-time signature.
The song has minimal elements used in it production and this include:_
Drums (acoustic kit)
According to the sound of the drums on the track, they sound like they were tracked live in the studio as you can hear them in the song. They used 4/4 drumming pattern on the kick drum where the third beat is emphasised (third kick is kicked/ played louder than the other beats). This is one of the drumming technique used in reggae music production. The snare (rim shot) playing every second and fourth beat throughout the song is slightly panned to the right side of the mix and the hats are panned hard right in the mix. There is a compression applied to the kick and snare drum that makes them loud and stands out in the mix. The snare and the hats have reverb applied to them giving them the ambience space sound. This makes the song sound like it is being played live in a large open space or in a concert hall. The snare drum also has a delay effect on it which makes it play with an echo effect bouncing back after it is hit.
The toms heard at the beginning of the song are playing in the centre of the mix with a bit of compression on them. The snare drum also has reverb applied to it so do the hats which give the ambience that they present in the song. They sound like they are being played in a big open hall.

The track has a very groovy melodic bass guitar that plays the main melody and rhythm of the track and is accompanied by an electric melodic guitar which plays the same rhythm like the bass and adding a bit of harmony to the song. The guitar plays a different pattern the in the verses and in the bridge. The bass in this song is the loudest instrument as it is the case with other songs in the same genre. This gives reggae music a characteristic which makes it different from other music genres because its tracks have a presence of heavy low-end frequencies/instruments which are boosted and can be felt in the human body if played on a good sound system, for example, the groovy bass guitar and kick drum. The bass plays in the centre of the track and I believe it is driven by a compressor which made it loud enough than other instruments. The melodic guitar is panned to the right side of the track which makes the mix wide and cleaner as panning instruments in a song controls them from colliding or crashing with other instruments that have the same frequency response. There are other two guitars (acoustic and electric) that are used in the production of this track. The acoustic guitar panned to the middle of the track it has a low volume which is very hard to be noticed if close attention is not paid you can miss it out. It is playing the chords of the song which are A, D, E.
Lastly is the overdriven electric guitar that is playing the scratchy effect throughout the song. This effect contributes much to the entire rhythm of that song and has the same groove as the hats thou it is panned the opposite way to the hats (hard left). Both of the effect and the hats have a reverb on them which

Vocals and lyrics

The Bob Marley main vocals are moderately loud and they have reverb applied on them as they are heard with the ambience feel on them. The song has multi backing vocals and harmonies which have been doubled them to make them seem like a choir is backing Bob Marley up and they are panned left and right of the mix as the choir would be set up on the stage. The backing vocals have a combination of female and male voices and they have a presence of low, mid and high frequencies (bass alter and soprano).
The lyrics of the song show that it’s a sexual song written to praise a woman, I believe Bob Marley wrote this song to his wife by then.


In “Stir it up”, the harmony is played by a distorted and overdriven Moog synthesiser that is playing with a sweeping sound panned with an automation moving from right to left and backwards in the song. The overall sound of the guitars and the Moog synthesiser have brighter and warm tones. They are played in the high frequencies which add bite and clarity to them.

Form and structure

Below is the formation, sections and structure arrangement of the song and the length of each section.
Introduction – 16 bars
Chorus -17 bars
Verse -16 bars
Chorus -17 bars
Verse -16 bars
Chorus – 17 bars
Verse – 16 bars
Chorus – 17 bars
Solo – 56 bars
Outro – 24 bars

Producer Contract and Tax Invoice


Transafro Music

5/355 Zillmere Road

Zillmere QLD 4034


Phone: +61431313473                                                     


ABN: 12 345 678 901


The following shall constitute as a production agreement on this Monday 27th June 2015 between Nameless. (hereinafter referred to as “employer”) and Emmanuel Lodu (hereinafter referred to as the “Producer”) of Transafro Music for producer’s services in producing a Master Recording.

  1. TERM:

The term of this agreement will commerce on Monday 27th June 2015 and it will end on Friday 5th August 2016. A notice letter shall be written to the employer if the production exceeds the agreed period of time.

  1. SERVICES:  

The term of this agreement will commerce on Monday 27th June 2015 and it will end on Friday 5th August 2016. A notice letter shall be written to the employer if the production exceeds the agreed period of time.       


The producer is responsible to conduct the recording process and provide all the equipment to be used.

The producer will guide, counsel the artist and make critical suggestions to the production process. But it’s up to the employer to decide to accept or not to accept it.

The producer agrees to make changes suggested by the employer during the recording session.

Producer agrees to re-record recordings until the employer is satisfied with the final results


The producer shall edit, mix and arrange tracks for the final master recording in the agreed period of time.

The produce shall provide multiple formats of the master recordings to the employer upon completion.  For example, wav files, two stereos mixes, original tapes, rough mixes and a Master recording.


The producer agrees to find and send the employer’s Master recording to a mastering engineer for the final production (mastering). NOTE The employer is responsible to pay Mastering fees.

The producer shall promote your final product on the company’s social media sites.


The employer will pay the following payments to the producer.

a). A total of $616.00 AUD will be paid for all the producer’s services mentioned in this agreement.

b). A payment deposit of $308.00 AUD (50%) will be paid to the producer before the commencement of the producer’s services.

c). The rest of the balance must be paid upon the completion of the Master recording.


All the production and song writing credits are to be given to the producer. “Produced by Emmanuel Lodu of Transafro Music


Upon completion of the final product and full payments being paid to the producer, the product shall be a property of the employer.

The employer shall have the right to re produce remix and use the production in any way they chose too.

The employer shall own all royalties as long as the producer is given his production credit.

NOTE: This contract shall not be effective until its agreed too and signed by the employer, countersigned and stamped by an authorised staff member of Transafro Music.

If you agree to proceed with your production with us, please indicate by signing below




Agreed and accepted:




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Tax Invoice

Transafro Music                                              

5/355 Zillmere Road

Zillmere QLD 4034


Phone: +61431313473                                                     


ABN: 12 345 678 901

Bill To:                                                                                                

Bless Touch Records Inc.                                                    Invoice no.               0000001

55/98 Red bank Avenue                                                     Invoice Date            July 15, 2015

Brisbane QLD 4301                                                             Payment Terms     Due on receipt

Due Date                  July 13, 2016


Amount Due     $308.00 AUD


Recording Recorded Vocals and musicians (instrumentalists) 40.00       5 200.00
Mixing Edited, arranged and mixed tracks for final production 60.00      6 360.00


Subtotal                                   560.00

GST 10%                                      56.00

Total                                         616.00

Deposit Paid                             308.00

AMOUNT DUE           $308.00 AUD

Account Payments

National Bank Australia

Account name: Transafro Music

BSB: 112 878

ACC: 063 987 209


Thanks for Choosing Transafro Music. We drop the beats and make the hits!!



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Operator is an advanced and flexible synthesiser that combines the concept of frequency modulation with classic subtractive and additive synthesis. This Ableton built-in synth utilises 4 four multi-waveform oscillators that can modulate each other’s frequencies to create complex timbres using limited number of objects.

The waveforms that comes with operator include

  • sine (which is the default)
  • square waveform
  • triangle waveform
  • saw tooth waveform
  • noise waveformPicture1


Operator has a filter section, Low Frequency Oscillation, amplitude envelope, pitch envelope and Oscillators. I have used YouTube video to teach my self how to design synth and drum patches using operator and decide to share my step with you. All sounds in operator can be designed by modulating the global setting in the operator and tweaking around the different envelope setting in the operator’s global setting section.Picture2

Creating drum patches in operator 

The sounds that I have created using operator include kicks, snare, bass, Toms, hats leads and pads.

I have learnt much and had fun while creating my own drum patches and I will be sharing my step with you that will help you start off your sound designing using ableton’s operator synth.

Note before we start on sound designing step all sound can be played in different octaves on the keyboard to get the right sound3

Steps to create a kick drum sound

  • Activate operator and create a MIDI clip with four by four beats notes in it, use low octaves
  • set operator velocity to affect the volume (100)
  • change the envelop to trigger mode (if a note is played its going to be triggered once)
  • making a click, for this set the phase to 25%. it gives you the initial harmonic content. low the pitch to taste and if the tone for the click is high adjust the transpose in the pitch section
  • Enable the pitch envelope, set it to trigger mode.
  • raise the pitch to 100%
  • adjust the pitch envelope decay for different kick variates and types of kicks
  • adjust the release to set length of your kick

Adding patch and volume to the kick 

  • Add Eq 8 to your use the Ableton built in kick eq 2
  • Use saturator to raise up the volume of the kick
  • Over drive to add bait of distortion.

Note. For different variation of the kick at this point You can go crazy adding different effect depending from the sound of the kick you want.

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Sub bass

For the sub bass I only used one oscillator and below are the steps I went throughout to create my bass.


  • Activated an operator and turn on oscillator A with a sine wave foam
  • I decreased the volume to -3.8 in the global section, because the bass is always has a low sound.
  • Decreased the transpose in the pitch envelope to -12st to give it the sub sound and boom sound
  • Cut off the high frequency above 200Hz because the sub tends is a low frequency instrument that range from 40-100 (approximately)
  • In the LFO section I used the sine wave foam set it to low. I increased the rate to 25 and the amount to 13%
  • Lastly I added effects like compressor saturator and overdrive. note with effect you can apply any depending on the results you going for.

Rising sound effect

I created a raising sound effect to use in track as a build in to my verses and it was the easiest sound for me to make in operator. I used the ideas from the tutorials I watched and applied the it to my creations

Steps I followed

  • Activated operator and for this I used one Oscillator (A) with a square wave foam as it has a bit of body (beef) in it
  • wrote one long midi note which I automated the volume raising from the lowest level to the highest level to give it that raising effect.
  • In the midi clip I applied pitch bend and set it to rise from lowest to highest octave.
  • I automated the frequency in the filter section to rise from low to high and set the resonance to 2
  • finally raised the spread in the pitch envelope to 10% and applied effects like Eq to cut off all the low frequencies

Cleaning up my sound effect

I used an eq to cut out low high frequencies

  • Applied and auto pan and simple delay to create movement of sound
  • Used reverb to create the space sound (ambience)

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 3.28.53 PM

Below is a dropbox link to the folder with some of the patches (presents) that I created you can drag and drop them in Ableton to adjust and  use in your productions.

Here is a one minute loop track created using the patches i made.


AUS 230 Major Project


The aim of my major project is to try and find out a sound (production) that will make me stand out or be different from other producers out there, expand my knowledge of music production and to learn new production skills used by other producers that will help me in my future productions.

In this project, I will be producing two singles in music genres that I have never produced before. My track will in a fusion of afro beats and hip hop music produced with a combination of both acoustic and electronic sound to try find my own sound. To succeed with my project, I will research on both genre (afro-beat and hip hop) as also find help from producer who have a better understand of the above music genres to help me out with ideas that will take my productions to a different level.



I find my motivation and inspiration from the afro beat artists and producers such as Timaya, Wizkid and Patoranking all from Nigeria who have worked hard to uplift the African music (afro beats) to the global market. Today international commercial artists such as drake, Rihanna, Beyoncé and much more are seen are making hit records from featuring afro beat artists and making music in afro beat fusion. Recently drake made a successful song called One dance featuring Wizkid an afro beat artist from Nigeria. Rihanna’s work featuring Drake made from incorporating features from afro dancehall music like the beat and lyrics written in patois a language spoken in Africa and Caribbean countries.


2 Afro beat and Hip Hop fusion singles

  • Originally composed.
  • The tracks will be individually mixed and mastered in format of 48KHz/24 bit WAV file versions
  • Professionally Designed Art work (covers) for Each track.


The target market for these singles will be both African females and male between the age of 15-25 Year olds.

Living in East and West African region, Trinidad Tobago and Jamaica because its where afro-beat music is big and being supported the most compared to other parts of the world.

The fusion of hip hop music that I will be including in my Afro beat singles will attract attention from Hip-Hop lovers  around my target region.


 I will be using social medias like Facebook, YouTube and sound cloud to engage and target with customers of my product as it’s an international market which is far away from where am based.

I will buy radio time in east and west Africa for my music to be played on radio station to reach a wide range of people who aren’t connected to social media in these regions

I will send out my music to be published in my targeted regions by publisher and promoter working with the same kind of music that I will be producing.

I collaborate with Djs and producer based in my targeted regions ask them to promote and share my production to their audiences as I do the same with their production.

I will also try out and sell my production to my local fans and follower who knows they might end loving the product thus giving me a new market in the local region.

Methodology Graph

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 Emmanuel Lodu (Head Engineer/Producer)

–       Studio Recording

–       Mixing

–       Mastering

Zac Mergard (Co-producer)

  • Resourcing
  • Composing
  • Drum programming

Simon (Assistant Engineer)

  • Studio Recording assistance
  • Editing
  • vocalist

Below is the schedule showing how the project will be managed on a weekly basis.



WEEK 7 –       Research on the hip hop and afro-beats production techniques which include sampling, vocal chopping and hip hop and afro-beat drum programming.

–       Meet up with the collaborators and put down ideas together on how they will help me succeed with my singles productions.


WEEK 8 –        Record drums (sample live drums)

–       source and collect samples to be used

–       Produce instrumentals/beats for the tracks

WEEK 9 –       Record guitars

–       Create leads pads and chorus using synthesizers

–       Write down the lyrics to the song with the artist/s.

–       Rehearsal the tracks.

WEEK 10 –       Record vocals

–       Arrange them ready for mixing.

–       Design art work for the tracks cover

–       Listening sessions for feedback

WEEK 11 –       Mix all the songs

–       Reference the tracks to make sure the mixes are clean and good

–       Seek feedback from professionals and peers.

–       Re-adjust the mixes (if needed)

WEEK 12 –       Master the and Reference songs to make sure they are good quality.

–       Listening session for feedbacks

WEEK 13 –       Submit the final product for assessment

–       Release final product to the public via sound cloud

–       Present to the class.


 What can go wrong in terms of the process and production

  • Poor time management
  • Working with Unreliable artist/s and co-workers
  • Misunderstanding between producer and artist/s
  • Machine malfunction
  • Loss of data
  • Limited Studio time
  • Music piracy
  • Uncontrolled risks (injury or death)
  • Stressed artists (ergonomic and Physiological)

 Contingency Plan and risk management

  • Have multiple backs up storage of the project
  • Have multiple tools to use
  • Book studios in advance
  • Sign contracts and agreement between collaborators.
  • Rehearsal with the artist to know their strength and weakness
  • Work with committed artists/co-worker
  • Copy right music with APRA
  • Create a comfortable working place
  • Take regular breaks off work