The hip hop genre is traditionally heavily sample based. The sampling comes in many forms such as sampling individual drums, sampling a whole drum loop, sampling an instrument section or even sampling vocals. These samples are normally patched together to make a whole track. In the 80’s and 90’s the MPC was one of the proffered devices to use however nowadays people tend to use PC or MAC Digital Audio Workstations (DAW). However there are still MPC similar devices such as the Maschine and Ableton Push, however these devices work more like controllers with the software on the computer rather than on the hardware itself.
Searching through samples or “Diggin’ in the crates” can be rather time consuming for many people, therefore many revert to downloading samples and loops for Hip hop production. There are many out there with massive sound libraries however you will still end up having to go through hundreds or even thousands of samples if you are very picky about what you would like to use in your productions. Most sample packs are rather generic anyway and don’t really allow you to sound too original, however samples of course and be tweaked and filtered to suit your taste.
For R&B or Neo Soul on the other hand, samples may be good however the music theory can be a big hurdle for many. If you have some old Roy Ayers type samples you may be able to remix and sing over like Mary J. Blidge, however in most cases you will want to write or compose your own R&B tracks.
The music theory for R&B and Neo Soul can be rather complex and many are put off by the theory involved, however useful MIDI files as per below will help you out a lot. You don’t need a sample beat e.g. Bass, drums, keys, horns etc. All you need is chords or even the MIDI file for them.
See below for a free sample