For those just starting out in Hip Hop, you might find yourself asking what you would like to focus on as you move forward. Am I going to be a rapper, a producer, a beat maker, or all of the above? On the one hand you are eager to try your hand at everything, but on the other you do not want to spread yourself too thin. If the ultimate goal is just putting together an excellent song, sooner or later you are going to come across instrumental hip hop beats.
The lyrics and performance of your song are entirely up to you. But when it comes to what backs you up on the track – the beat, the instruments, melody, and the overall structure of the song – you might not know where to start. So the obvious choice is to just go out and download some free instrumental hip hop beats. That is a fine place to start, but to get real for a second, you are probably not going to find any high quality beats with something that has 'free' in front of it. You get what you pay for, and the only people who are putting up free beats are either inexpensively or putting out a lousy product.
Free instrumental hip hop beats are OK if you are just starting out – especially if you have never practiced rapping or soloing over a beat before. It will at least give you the experience of working within that structure and you will soon realize that your style and lyrics will have to evolve and change to fit the beat. Occasionally you should graduate to paying for your instrumentals – if an instrumental is worth paying for, you can be sure that your audience is going to find it worth listening to.
Now hopefully those instrumental beats that you got for free were made by people who ever want to sell their beats. Make sure to build a relationship with these guys, especially if you like their beats. Start a conversation about what you want – behind every great rapper is a great producer who can collaborate to create the perfect harmony between the beat and the lyrics. There are a lot of beats producers out there creating their instrumental hip hop beats in a vacuum: they get no feedback and have no idea what rappers want.
Budget what you can afford to spend on hip hop instrumentals. And keep in mind if you are interested in creating your own, you are going to need to invest in some beat creator software to get the job done. If you are planning on going down that road, think long term: the money you invest in it could easily be made back once you start to sell beats.