Beat structure or arrangement is so important and critical to hiphop beat production,
because it allows the listener to either have a good experience or a not so good one.
The basic Structure of a hip-hop beat is:
This structure has been a long standing one when it comes to hip-hop and
you’ll find it still being used in most modern music today.
Be reminded that this structure is not the only one that exists and this post
will explore more variations that you’ll find used in the genre.
But first let’s get into the basic structural components of a hip-hop beat.
The intro consist of a short introduction to the song and mostly has fewer instrumentation,
it is usually no more that 8 bars.
Some may be longer but it’s in the more rare cases in which the beat may
have something like a speech in the intro.
The most common length of the intro is usually 8 bars or less and is the
beginning of a song
The Hook or Chorus gives the listener the brief subject matter of the song
and will usually be 8 Bars. (Click here to learn how many lines make up a bar)
In some cases the hook maybe longer depending on the song type,
for example; a hip-hop song with a singer on the hook may have something
like 10-12 bars.
The verses explain the subject matter of the song in more detail and are longer,
usually ranging from 12 – 24 bars or even more.
The bridge is a summary of both the verse and the hooks,
it sheds more light on the subject matter of the song.
The OUTRO is basically the opposite of an intro and can termed as the
outro-duction which basically sums up the whole song and may include
shout outs to finish off the song.
It is usually 8 -12 bars and in some cases may be longer.
Now that we have a basic understanding of the parts to the structure,
let’s take a look at some structure variations of hip-hop beats.
INTRO – HOOK – VERSE 1 – HOOK 2 – VERSE 2 – HOOK 3 – OUTRO
The first structure basically starts with an intro that may range from 4 to 8
bars and will be followed by an 8 bar hook then a 12-16 bar verse
then a second 8 bar hook then a second verse then a last hook and an OUTRO.
INTRO – VERSE 1 – HOOK – VERSE 2 – HOOK 2 – OUTRO
This is another popular hiphop beat structure that begins with an intro and
falls straight into a verse then hook then another verse then last hook then
It differs from structure 1 and can be particularly useful in situations where
you have long verses and are trying to cut down on the length of the song.
INTRO – VERSE 1 – HOOK – VERSE 2 – VERSE 3 – HOOK 2 – OUTRO
This is pretty much similar to structure 2 the only difference is that Verse 2
and Verse 3 are combined and may only be separated by a transitional
This is another great method that can be used to particularly cut down the length of the song.
When it comes to beat arrangement or beat structure there is no general rule,
you can basically arrange it however you want.
The structures shared in this post are the most commonly used and may give
you some insight.
Also remember that it is not uncommon for a hip-hop song to start with a
chorus and no intro at all,
and it is also not uncommon to have more than 2 verses in a hiphop song.
The structures discussed here are the blueprint and can be modified to fulfill the desired goal.