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Guide: How To Make A Boom Bap Beat With An Online DAW

April 23, 2024 - Discover how to craft authentic Boom Bap beats using an online DAW like Soundtrap. Dive into history, and techniques, and create your own hip-hop sound!

Man holding a Boom Box

Boom bap represents a pivotal chapter in hip hop's history, embracing the genre's original spirit with its distinctive sound. 

Born in the streets of New York during the late 1980s to early '90s, the style is a nod to hip hop's fundamental elements—DJing, emceeing, breakdancing, and graffiti. It's defined by its raw, gritty beats and a rhythmic patterning that often mimics the onomatopoeic phrase "boom bap" – the deep, resonant "boom" of the bass drum and the sharp attack of the snare "bap."

Boom bap's essence is in its simplicity and emphasis on the drum beats, allowing MCs to interweave complex lyricism and deliver powerful messages. The subgenre keeps faithful to the original intent of hip hop, which was to provide a voice to the voiceless and to reflect the reality of life in urban America.

Beyond just a musical style, boom bap is a canvas for storytelling, with producers and artists using looped samples, scratching, and instrumental breaks to set the scene for narratives delivered through rhymes.

I think it's extremely important for us producers to study the history of music, especially any styles related to the genres you want to work in. It provides you with a solid footing within your style, and once you understand the historical context, you know what rules are okay to bend and where the genre will potentially head next.

As you can see, it's not simply about nostalgia; it's about recognizing and appreciating the roots of a culture that continues to evolve while staying true to its core values, and learning how you can apply the style influences within your work.

You should immerse yourself into the world of boom bap and connect with this foundational piece of hip hop's identity, one that has influenced generations of musicians and shaped the sound of hip hop as we know it today. 

Read more: How To Make Pro Beats: Step-by-Step Guide

Historical Context

Boom Bap is a genre deeply rooted in the fabric of East Coast hip hop. Studying its historical landscape reveals the prominence of key figures and how the genre continually evolved over time.

Key Figures

DJ Premier

DJ Premier is an essential architect of the boom bap sound, often recognized for his work with Gang Starr. His beats often feature hard-hitting drums and moody samples that evoke the feel of the streets.

Pete Rock

Known for soulful beats, Pete Rock seamlessly merges jazz samples with boom bap rhythms. His influence extends to a multitude of artists within the genre and beyond.


KRS-One released the seminal album "Return of the Boom Bap," which helped solidify the genre's identity and pushed it into critical acclaim.

Rick Rubin

Although not exclusively tied to boom bap, Rubin's production work in the 80s helped lay down the gritty, bare-bones beats that would influence the Boom Bap style.

Evolution Over Time

The late 1980s

The formation of boom bap emerged as a rebellious music style, breaking away from the more disco-influenced tracks of earlier hip hop.

Early to Mid-1990s

The sound achieves peak popularity, with artists flourishing in raw lyricism and rhythmic complexity.


While no longer mainstream, boom bap maintains a dedicated following and continues influencing modern producers seeking a classic or authentic sound.

Men mixing music in studio

Technical Aspects

Let's check out some of the precise instruments and production techniques that give boom bap its iconic sound.

Defining Instruments

Snare Drums

Central to boom bap, the snare drum snaps provide the sharp, crisp sounds often called the "bap" in the genre. This striking backbeat characterizes much of the rhythm in boom bap tracks.

Kick Drum

The "boom" component comes from the kick drum, a deep and hard-hitting bass drum that lays the foundation for the drum loops in the track. Its resonance is key in driving the beat forward and establishing the downbeat.

Drum Loops

A drum loop in boom bap is typically a bar of a drum pattern that's repeated throughout the song to maintain a consistent rhythm. Generally, this loop is made up of the aforementioned kick and snare drums, often with the addition of hi-hats playing sixteenth notes to add a sense of movement.

Production Techniques

Drum Pattern

Your drum pattern is the backbone of any boom bap track. It often includes a heavy emphasis on off-beat sixteenth notes and employs 'swing quantization' to ensure the rhythm grooves with a funky feel.

Sample Choice & Layering

Boom bap production frequently involves slicing precise drum hits from different samples and layering them together to create a unique drum sound. This could involve mixing the body of one kick drum with the attack of another or blending multiple snare samples to achieve the desired snapping snare effect.

Using these production techniques, you can begin to capture the essence of boom bap in your own music.

Cultural Impact

Influence on Artists

Boom Bap ushered in a new wave of artists deeply rooted in the genre's raw authenticity. 

Joey Bada$$

Artists like Joey Bad$$ emerged, drawing on its gritty beats and introspective lyricism to bridge past and present sounds. His music is inspired by classic Boom Bap sounds with a modern twist and infuses his music with the essence of New York City's hip-hop history.

J. Cole

Similarly, J. Cole frequently nods to Boom Bap influences in his work, showcasing the genre's lasting impact on individual artistry. He incorporates Boom Bap's narrative storytelling and organic beats and reflects the genre’s influence in both his production choices and lyrical depth.

Modern Revival

A different filter now captures Boom Bap. Modern artists tastefully revive the genre while integrating new elements, and tracks pay homage while adding contemporary flair and demonstrating the timeless quality of Boom Bap's essence.

Music technology and social media platforms have also provided a catalyst for aspiring artists to express themselves while embracing the Boom Bap aesthetic. This genre's simplicity and accessibility offer a foundation that celebrates heritage as well as innovation.

How To Make Boom Bap Beats

Music Production With Modern Tools

We live in an incredible time when it comes to music production tools. With advancements in technology, the approach to music production has transitioned.

I think one of the most exciting advancements in music production is how far the modern Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) have come. They reduce your need for expensive hardware to the bare minimum, as many effects and instruments are digitally simulated.

There are even some online DAW platforms like Soundtrap that allow you to produce music with enhanced accessibility and collaboration features that were not possible before. With Soundtrap, you can craft that signature boom bap sound with layered drum patterns and precise sampling, all from your web browser.

Soundtrap has made production more accessible, fostering collaboration across different geographies.

How To Make A Boom Bap Beat In Soundtrap

Focus on crisp, pronounced drum loops with a heavy kick (boom) and snappy snare (bap). Listen to some of the influences I mentioned in this article and you'll hear the unique types of samples typically used for Boom Bap.

The Soundtrap Neighborhood: Old School Hip-Hop Sound Pack is a great sample pack to get you going in this style.

You can do this by clicking on Add New Track, then choosing Loop Library, and searching for the Neighborhood sound pack. Preview samples by clicking the play button next to their name.

Check out some of the samples and choose a loop with a solid kick and a big, snappy snare that sounds like it would fit your idea. 

Load the loop to a new track in Sountrap by dragging and dropping it into the arrange window.

Since Boom Bap often also incorporates samples from funk, jazz, and soul tracks to create its characteristic sound, you should also look for some cool chord progressions and jazz-influenced melody samples to incorporate in your project. 

Load those on separate tracks in Soundtrap as well.

You're now ready to start building an arrangement using the loops you selected.


In recent years, the return of the boom-bap style of hip-hop has gained momentum, capturing the attention of both seasoned producers and new talents alike.

If you want to produce professional-level boom bap beats, it's crucial for you to understand the historical context and production techniques of boom bap; the essence of hard bass drum kicks and sharp snare attacks, combined with samples from funk, jazz and soul. 

Use this knowledge, combined with your music taste, to start creating new ideas that embrace this raw, authentic style.

With the easy access provided by online DAWs like Soundtrap, you can easily get started with a minimal hardware and software setup.

About the author

Tero Potila is a professional music composer and producer. His career combining knowledge and experience from music, TV, film, ad, and game industries gives him a unique perspective that he shares through posts on

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