Intersection of Hip Hop and Modular

I think if anything, this makes the magic COOLER for me, that sounds like a really great use of “studio-as-instrument”!


I’ve been watching some tutorial videos about hooking an MPC up to modular, using the pads as triggers and so forth. Anyone tried this? These two videos below are good examples. The music in the videos isn’t hip-hop by any stretch, but the implementation seen here could be applied:

The MakeNoise video includes a link to a pulse .wav file:

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and more here:

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I have an MPC 2000XL with the 8-out board, and I use it to send triggers to a dotcom sequential controller, to the individual ins. The triggers are just short rectangle pulses, which seem to work fine.


Nice. I’ve got a (borrowed) MPC 1000. When I have a little time, I’m going to give it a try for sure. I wanna mix sending triggers from some pads, and samples from others — live and programmed in both cases.



Don’t know if anyone here knows him already but Kubus makes a lot of his beats using a modular, also does live performances with it :slight_smile:

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My stuff was making this noise a couple weeks back… Don’t have loads of modules but can make some semi-chaotic patches which can be interesting when fed from a couple outputs on the mpc1000…

Never feel like I can control it well enough to produce a proper track with these techniques, guess the trick is to resample, cut and splice a couple variants on the weird noises into something more structured…


That sounds pretty good though!

Another stab at it. My fav part of controlling it is blending/balancing the bass in with my thumb on the 1u touch pads. Pressing back and forth on the tsmn and the 1u while playing the pressure points is a really fun way to interact with the modular. :slight_smile:


made this beat on saturday using 4 modules:

  • 3 sisters for the “beat”
  • just friends in sound/cycle mode for the “bass”
  • w/ playing a layered sample of me singing an improv’d chord
  • teletype for sequencing all three

added a little reverb, saturation, and EQ in ableton, but it sounded almost this grimey in the box.

how do you find rappers for beats???


There’s some established producers at the very least having a good time with modular:


email/tweet/etc indie rappers you like
often you can pay for verses, but if they dig your stuff and aren’t super well established, they’ll probably be happy to work together for free
see if you have a hip hop / rap open mic night where you live. Most amateur emcees are hungry for original beats.

Also, while I really liked what you did in this track… if there are no “drums”, it might be hard to find an emcee willing to work with it :stuck_out_tongue:

There are also tons of a capellas available, which are a great way to build your “resume” and/or get a feel for working with raps til you find someone IRL/online to work with!

signed, someone that’s worked with ~3 emcees in their life to various degrees of success

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I try not to think about this should be used for this or this should be used for that. Hip hop to me personally isn’t just a set of rules to adhere to. It’s probably the most diverse style of music/sound to ever exist when you study it as a whole and how many different styles of music and sound have lived inside of it cut up into so many ways. Sounds are sounds and fit where they fit. Staying inside of a box or checking off boxes to fit takes the whole authenticity away. Granted I don’t wanna come off like some asshole so really what I’m trying to say is just enjoy whatever you’re doing.


I have an awful lot of time for this.

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@photofractal - I appreciate this is from some time ago (and I would apologise for raising a dead thread from the catacombs, except it’s a fantastic thread and I missed out on it before so I absolutely will not apologise! :wink: )

I put out a thing this week that’s a collection of mostly old beats of mine, some of which have modular sounds (like “Sweat”, “Quarter Pounder Deluxe” and “Battery”). These are also probably some of the least “hip hoppy” sounding tracks on the beat tape but oh well. My newer music doesn’t sound anything like this but I figured I’d post in case anyone’s interested.

I find myself usually doing drum programming with ableton or on an octatrack and layering modular synth sounds (or sometimes filtering things through a korgasmatron), but it would be cool to have a large enough system to do everything on the modular.

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Some nice stuff on this - I think “The Minx” was/is my favourite.

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I remember a couple of years after Team Shadetek came out - when they’d signed to Warp - Matt and Zak came to do a show for us in Sheffield in an abandoned warehouse space (similar vibe to Elektrowerkz, if anyone has been there). I’m saying “us” - the collective I was a part of (c90) is more accurate. I just played a few times, really.

The music that was coming out of the Sound Ink label then was sailing really close to modular hip-hop…and then it was gone!

Resurrecting this old-ish conversation to mention the new Modbap Modular Per4mer, which looks pretty cool! They have a lot of interesting videos on their youtube channel & here’s one:


Ali the architect makes great modbap beats! Check it out: