Beat Breakdown: Ice Cube’s Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It – Part 2: The Melody
Last week, I showed you how to recreate the drumbeat in Ice Cube’s “Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It.” Now I’ll teach you how to compose part of the looped melody heard in that song. For this tutorial, I highly recommend that you begin with the drumbeat from my last article. This way, the melody won’t sound too weird by itself.
If you wish not to start with the drumbeat, begin the composing process by, of course, opening FL Studio 12 and changing the tempo to 87 bpm.
Once you’ve done that, or you’ve created the drumbeat from my last tutorial, add FL Keys to “Pattern 3.” (To keep separate from your drumbeat if you have that.)
When the FL Keys screen displays, make sure to add it to the mixing board. You don’t need to adjust the volume or change the name or color. (Do this with other instruments, too.)
Now open the Piano Roll on FL Keys. To recreate the piano chords heard on “Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It,” you’ll need to start by inserting what’s in the red circle below.
Now shorten the notes, like how they sound in the song. To do this, start by selecting “none” under the magnet icon.
Now select all notes (by left-clicking and dragging from the lower left to the upper right inside the Piano Roll). Once they turn red, meaning they are selected, shorten just one note slightly. They should all shrink, too. Like so.
Now copy this “cluster” of notes four times at the same places in all four bars, as shown. (To make the repetitions snap precisely to the beginning of a beat, go back to the magnet tool and click “½ beat.”)
In the 5th through 8th bars of “Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It,” the piano chords are different from bars 1-4. To create those changes, copy the whole entire cluster of notes you see in the Piano Roll above (all four repetitions you just copied) and paste them between bars 5 and 8, in the positions you have them between bars 1 and 4. (Copy is Ctrl+C and Paste is Ctrl+V.)
Now with the notes you just copied, select all E6’s in bars 5-8 and move them to the G6 spot. Then move all C6’s in bars 5-8 to the D6 spots.
Bars 5 through 8 should look like this.
(Do not change anything in bars 1-4. Only 5-8.)
Also, in the song, there is a slight variation of the chords in the 8th bar, too. Rearrange the notes in bar 8 so they look like this.
Your piano work is done.
Now add a “Pattern 4” for a bass track. For this bass, we will use “Classic 80.” Find “Classic 80” under packs > instruments > bass and add it to the Channel Rack. (This is not heard in the actual song, but it’s darn close.)
Go to the Piano Roll and simply create this.
In that red circle, there is nothing. You’ll need to add 12 tiny 16th notes to generate an effect similar to what I hear in that point of the song. Widen the Piano Roll display until you are able to shrink the second-to-last note, which is already there, and add the 16th notes shortly after.
Inside the first black circle is the shortened note before the 12 small 16th notes in the second black circle. The red circle contains the volume of the notes, which is lower than the others. To change them (make their volume softer), simply left-click those notes at a slightly lower point than where they were before.
(Make sure you are adding these “voices” to the mixing board and adding the Patterns to the Playlist.)
Once you add all these to the mixer and playlist, you should have a nice-sounding yet incomplete melody, similar to that in “Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It.” It’s not the best, but it’s pleasant and slightly accurate.
Interested in hearing my finished track? Give it a listen below:
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