21 Savage is known for his dark and atmospheric beats. He has made a niche in the market for his style that others now strive to recreate. In this tutorial, we will outline the basics of creating and arranging a 21 Savage type beat. We will discuss the fundamental elements needed to create a track in this style, giving some useful production tips along the way.
A 21 Savage type beat sounds similar to a Metro Boomin type beat, because the majority of his hits have been produced by Metro Boomin. Everything between 130bpm and 170vpm is fitting, but the majority of his tracks fall into the 135bpm to 160bpm range. We wills stick to 150bpm.
Start by creating the melody: Pick a bell sound – we used one from Omnisphere 2 – and played a simple melody line in the c# Phrygian scale. Duplicate and shift up an octave for the second section.
Now we’re looking for an eerie sound for another melody channel. One of my go-to sounds for this is the theremin presets in Omnisphere 2. Because we moved the second part of the bells up an octave we can have the theremin play in the open space of the original melody, otherwise they would be clashing and make mix muddy.
Lastly give the whole melody some more character by running it through the RC20 plugin, Izotope Vinyl or similar. Also get a bouncy 808 line into play to round out the low end. The 808 can be pretty clean with just a little distortion, but nothing crazy.
Let’s add some drums!
In a 21 Savage Type Beat you often hear claps used instead of snares. The snare is more used to complements the groove. The kick should be short and snappy and hi-hat patterns are pretty straightforward, so 1/8th notes and a simple roll on the ups every now and then.
Now would be the time to details, live velocity, pitch bends on rolls, etc. For this tutorial we stop here though, because I have to run!
Voila! A 21 Savage Type Beat!
To get the drums knocking I mostly use the Ableton Drum Buss device or if you are not working in Ableton check out Camel Crusher and Transient Master!