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5 Things to Know About Mixing Rap Vocals 2: Advanced Techniques

Hi folks, Matt here.

I’m super super super excited to announce the release of Mixing Rap Vocals 2: Advanced Techniques, the latest installment in my in-depth tutorial series: Mixing Hip Hop

I’d like to break down the things that I feel people should know about the tutorial.

But first, if you’re new to the series, check out this video.

1. What’s the difference between the original Mixing Rap Vocals and Mixing Rap Vocals 2? And what makes part 2 “Advanced”?

Mixing Rap Vocals was all about process. It’s about learning how to listen and what to listen for and establishes a foundation for a strong Hip-Hop mix.

Mixing Rap Vocals 2 is about understanding context, putting that foundational mixing into perspective. And that’s what makes it advanced.

While there are a number of trickier techniques in MRV2, what really makes it next level is being able to make decisions that fit the song, the album, the artist, and Hip-Hop as a whole.

To short change the question: In MRV you learn how to clean a vocal and in MRV2 you learn why to clean it, why not to clean it and in what ways you can choose to clean it up or leave it dirty.

2. What’s the tutorial like? How are you teaching these “Advanced Techniques?”

When you’re tackling fully developed songs in the real world you run into all sorts of nuances and challenges. It wouldn’t be possible for me to teach how to tackle real world situations without using real world mixes. Therefore, half of the tutorial is taught by example.

I want you to hear how a raw vocal may come my way and how I interpret it. The specifics of all the “walkthrough” examples change dramatically, but the common thread is the process: What does this vocal want to sound like? What does it sound like now? How can I get it from point A to point B? What if I can’t feasibly make that work, then what are my options?

Sometimes I may choose to brighten a vocal with EQ, other times I may choose an exciter, and sometimes I may choose to darken it with the tone of analog gear — and I want you to understand why I’m making these choices!

The other half of the tutorial is more like the first Mixing Rap Vocals where I am workshopping specific techniques. I chose to focus on multiband dynamics, exciters and vocal doubles/ad-libs/choruses, because I feel these are difficult subjects but crucial in regards to mixing modern Hip-Hop.

3. What song are you using for this tutorial?

As I previously mentioned, I’m using real world examples.

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Because the real world has so much variety I didn’t want to stick to one song in this tutorial, or one vocalist.

In Mixing Rap Vocals 2 I’m using records that feature Snoop Dogg, Murs, Juicy J, Jay IDK, Business As Usual, and Arrested Development. This provides a wide spectrum of records and will be universally beneficial.

4. Will the content in MRV2: Advanced Techniques be over my head?

Depends on where you’re at.

If you’ve had a chance to learn and practice with the original Mixing Rap Vocals, part 2 tutorial will be accessible to you. I get into some heavy engineering concepts, but I feel I teach effectively and always keep myself available as a resource for those who are learning.

I do believe that engineers near my experience level, at my experience level or even those with a few more notches on their belt than myself will get a lot out of this video.

I also feel that this video will arm the aspiring engineers with techniques and approaches that will allow them branch out into the realm of serious mixing.

5. Should I purchase just MRV1 and Mixing Hip-Hop Beats? Should I only purchase MRV2? Or should I get the complete bundle?

The series is meant to work as a whole. For most people the complete bundle is definitely the way to go.

The exception is if you’re very focused on your specific needs. If you’re a producer who just needs to step up your mixing game so that your records can be shopped to labels, you might only need Mixing Hip-Hop Beats.

If you are a highly experienced engineer who has extremely solid foundation under your belt, then you might be ready to jump straight to Mixing Rap Vocals 2. But for most folks, I recommend all three in conjunction. Even if you are just starting out, you will eventually want to get into the advanced techniques.

I hope that gives you an idea about what this tutorial is all about! If you have one (or all) of my tutorials feel free to leave a comment — I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Matthew Weiss

Matthew Weiss

Matthew Weiss is the recordist and mixer for multi-platinum artist Akon, and boasts a Grammy nomination for Jazz & Spellemann Award for Best Rock album. Matthew has mixed for a host of star musicians including Akon, SisQo, Ozuna, Sonny Digital, Uri Caine, Dizzee Rascal, Arrested Development and 9th Wonder. Get in touch: Weiss-Sound.com

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