Mixing Hip Hop Vocals (Honorable Mention from a member "deRaNged 4 Phuk'dup")


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Peace and Blessings to all the FP fam/Mods/Admins and founders.
I haven't been on here in almost 16 years. (yeah, you read that right, 16 years.) Nah I haven't done a bid :ROFLMAO:
As a microminute update, I was first brought to FP back in 2007 when I was working in the City (NYC) as a HelpDesk Rep at a Non-Profit. A great friend and colleague
told me about this site when it was in its infancy/adolescence stages. I was starting out using Fruity Loops 5XL (yeah I'm really dating myself) 😶‍🌫️ (with the Myspace Pages and doing backgrounds/pages for people) back when putting ringtones on Nextels and Sidekicks was a thing ROFL! Well very briefly, I came upon a forum on FP that was very insightful, and it was by a user
who is probably no longer here or has changed their Username. I still have the printout of it so I'm going to type it up the best way I can. It may be outdated as today's music recording formats have possibly changed. I will stand corrected, however, I will do this as "Insightful Nostalgia" as you will. May any moderators/admins categorize this as you see fit? I hope the OP of this information is here or at least amongst the living. I pray all is well! So now without further ado, here are the transcribed notes from July 28th, 2006:

"Mixing Hip Hop Vocals" (A deRaNged Tutorial)" (7-28-2006)
Wassup, I thought I'd do a lot of beginners a favor and give them a template for mixing. Keep in mind there are no rules to mixing, and I don't want to be chewed out by people who disagree.
This is however what works for me, and keeps my studio clients happy. In Panning, I will refer to right and left often. To achieve the mixes I get you'd have to either do this exactly or do the exact opposite. (go left when I say right). This is about hip-hop vocals, it can be used for other genres, but other FX would often come into play.

I end up with about 8 tracks. The order isn't concrete, you may record the chorus 1st, this is based on a song where the verse came 1st. Any FX should be applied in light amounts barely noticeable without headphones or top-of-the-line monitors. (about 5-10% wetness)

Track 1 - Beat - stereo / no panning/fx: compression, eq if needed

Track 2 - Lead Vocals - mono/pan 10% to left / FX: delay (optional) if more than one rapper is on the song, use automation to keep all the artists at close to the same volume.

Track 3 - Backing Vocals/Doubles (the exact words from the main vocals just respoken where needed) - Mono/pan 20-30% right / FX: chorus (optional), delay (optional, you do not want to use if it already used on track 2. Turn the background vocals down to the point where they don't drown out the lead vocals. You want them to sound like a guy is in the background reciting the song alongside the lead vocalist without overshadowing or "upstaging" them.

Track 4 - Adlibs (all the "yeah, uh huh, that's right, and ya don't stop" being said throughout the song.) - mono / pan20-40% left / FX: reverb (optional), delay (if not used on track 2 or 3) these shouldn't be mudded up with any other FX's. leave them as clearly spoken as possible so they can be turned down to the point they're damn near subliminal.

Track 5 - Chorus 1 - Mono/Pan 40-60% Right / FX: Bus tracks 5 & 6 to the same stereo Aux and use a small amount of reverb (5-10% wetness) "hallway and cathedral" presets are good.

Track 6 - Chorus 2 (Same chorus/hook recited a second-time word for work. Gives your chorus/hook more color) - mono/pan 40-60% left/ FX: bus track5 & ^ to the same stereo Aux and use a small amount of reverb as well (5-10% wetness with hallway and cathedral presets. (Your chorus/hook should be slightly louder than your lead vocals so that when they come in they catch the listener's attention. The reverb and stereo separation provide a lot of this.

Track 7 - Sound FX (optional) - Stereo / no panning / FX: None. Use stereo sound effects with a lot of stereo effects to them. Paste and Go.

Track 8 - Anything extra - use your best judgment, explore, experiment, and have fun!

Apply trim and eq to each separate track as needed. (small amounts if any) Then bus all tracks except 7 (SFX) and Beat (track 1) to the same stereo AUX. Afterward apply compression, de-essers, and noise reduction (all optional or applied to each track before the mixdown) to all your vocals at once. Make sure your final mix is lower than 0.0dbs (out of the red on most DAWs) by adjusting the Master Volume or on each track. The rule of thumb is neither track should be peaking or seeing red. give it a buffer which gives room for compression and effects that call for vibrance and volume.

Afterward, you may choose to apply dynamics (compression, eq, limiting) to the entire mix (optional if you are getting it mastered.) If you want to do it yourself, try a finalizer plug-in that mentions "dynamics/compressor" or limiter in the title. If you can manually get results from these, awesome, if not, dig through the presets until you find one that sounds good for your final mix. (most have presets like "final master" or 16-bit CD Master or 32 Bit Master etc)

Let me know if this helps, Good Luck.

Thanks for taking the time to read this possible gem. Thanks for the incoming warm welcomes. I will be here more as im setting up my own home studio.


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