How to create a Lofi Beat

Sounds loud and intrusive? It doesn't, if it's Lofi.

This mellow brand of hip-hop is not about perfectly polished sounds and hifi quality - it's about minimalism and calm. Here are a few tips and tricks you can easily use to build chill lofi beats that sound both interesting and well-produced. First, let's take a look at what lofi actually means.

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What is Lofi?

Lofi is the short form for lofi hip-hop. The foundation of a lofi track is usually a downtempo beat, combined with jazz and ambient sounds to create warm and relaxing sound textures.

The sound and style of many productions are reminiscent of the beats of early 2000s hip-hop artists such as Madlib, Nujabes or J Dilla. They are considered to be the pioneers of the genre and have taken a unique approach to making sample-based music. Lofi productions often include sounds that feature crackling, background noises or nature sounds.

All this gives the genre its charm, its sound aesthetics and has influenced the current wave of casual lofi instrumentals. At the moment, artists such as Wun Two, Jar Jar Jr, Psalm//Trees and the sounds of Lofi Girl, Chillhop Music and Purrple Cat are very much in demand with fans of the genre. Their music provides the perfect soundtrack for reading, studying and relaxing.

Building a Lofi Beat

MUSIC MAKER offers you everything you need to build chill beats with a large selection of lofi Soundpools.

It's best to start with simple, laidback hip-hop drums. Lofi is all about slowing down, so the tempo is almost always between 60-90 BPM.

With a tempo between 80-85 BPM, the comparatively lower energy of your track can easily be balanced out with a rich, catchy bassline.

1. Select a Soundpool

The first step is to choose sounds that feel right. Some of the best examples include vintage drums, keys, guitars, electric bass and vibraphones.

MUSIC MAKER Soundpools offer a huge selection of lofi samples. The loops you choose give your beat a clear direction. Therefore, take enough time to get to know the individual Soundpools and the loops they contain.

For a good start, try the Lofi Hip-Hop Complete Bundle, the Chill Hop Bundle, and the Lofi Bangers Bundle for even more choice. If you want to incorporate nature or ambient sounds into your beats, sound effect or ambient Soundpools are also worth checking out.

2. Drop in your Drums

Drums play an essential role in lofi beats - especially the kick, snare and hi-hat, which always keep you in 4/4 time. Remember, we'll add variety as the production progresses.

First we take a simple beat with the kick on the first and third beat and the snare on the second and fourth beat of the bar. Soundpools offer you beats in many variations that you can use to make your tracks flexible and varied.

For example, let's take Dirty Beat and all the loops that go with it - A, B, C, D, E, F and G. With these variations, we can adjust the drums as we go along.

3. Add a bassline...

Now it's time to find a suitable bassline that gives your beat a proper low end and ensures that the groove is right. A good lofi bassline matches your drums and the key of the keys.

This way your sound feels harmonious but brings some diversity to your track. Let's choose a bassline loop from the LoFi Hip-Hop Soundpool that matches the groove of our drum loops.

4. ...and some melody

Lofi beats are full of loose, atmospheric sounds, that feel jazzy and simple at the same time. The Soundpool best suited for this is Brazilian LoFi. Just like with the drums, Brazilian LoFi gives you many additional options for each loop, so you can mix it up.

The keys are a great example: We love the Casa Keys loop and the associated variations from this Soundpool. Here, all the elements combine to create a relaxing, hypnotic floating groove. The sounds seem timeless, yet modern.

5. Arrange your track

Once you've found some loops, you can start arranging your beat. A good starting point is to work in 4-bar sections. Put your drums, melodies and bass in their respective tracks and loop them four times. Then create a variation for dynamics: loop the drums and bass, for example, but vary the key of the keys.

This gives your listeners enough time to enjoy the groove, but creates enough small changes to keep them interested. Use your loops and their variations to create an arrangement with a constant groove and lots of variety. How long should the different parts last?

What's the right point to add variation and a different element? You decide.

Author: Kevin McHugh | Illustrations: Helena Le and Isabelle Borgwarth

Which Music Software works for me?

MUSIC MAKER has everything you need to produce lofi hip-hop beats. With our soundpools you get all the drums, basses, melodies and sounds you need to create your own beats.

Plus, MUSIC MAKER has all the tools you need to make professional-sounding mixes of your songs. It's quick and easy and works in any genre.
A true must-have for producers!

In MUSIC MAKER you produce songs with sample loops. These are musical building blocks such as guitars, drums or synthesizers that you can assemble into a song very easily by dragging and dropping.
Start now with Lofi Bangers

The bundle offers a wide range of elementary sounds from boom bap and trap mixed with laidback lofi Soundpools. Get started now and produce beats that will pull the plug on you.

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