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How To Make ‘90210’ Style Beats For Travis Scott | RODEO

how to sample like sampling travis scott tutorial wondagurl Sep 30, 2022
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13 minute read.

 
 
 Hello beautiful person.
 
Welcome back to the blog. 
 
My name is Chu and Today we are going to be making a beat for Travis Scott, one inspired by his debut studio album Rodeo.
 
While a day one fan boy like me prefers some of his older work, such as the criminally underrated “Days Before Rodeo” and “Owl Pharaoh” projects, there’s no denying that “Rodeo” launched Trav into the realm of meteoric success. 
 
There are 3 main aspects we’ll be focusing on so that you come away from this tutorial knowing how to make god-level Rodeo style beats. 
 
First, we’ll cover sampling.
 
The use of sampling on this project is truly a masterclass on the interpolation of old records into new works of art. Travis has exquisite selection criteria when it comes to using samples in his music. 
 
There are even multiple cases of 3 or 4 samples being used in the same beat, with elements from different songs being layered on top of each other.
 
Fun fact: Travis actually used “Flashbulbs” by Coleridge Tayler Perkinson in his song on rodeo called “Oh My, Dis Side” featuring Quavo, before 21 Savage went on to really popularize the same sample in his song, “Bank Account.”
 
We’ll cover the best ways to find Rodeo inspired samples. Then we’ll go over how to chop and layer them so that you can use that to create amazing productions.
 
Next, we’ll cover drum programming. 
 
While it’d be easier for me to cover the Rodeo breakout single Antidote, and it's godly drum programming done by Wondagurl and Eestbound, I think that type of tutorial has been done to death by producers on YouTube, including me. Even though Antidote fits the criteria for this video, using the sample “All I Need” by Lee Fields, ie’ll be taking inspiration from the tracks 90210 instead, which has a really unique drum bounce that I haven’t seen addressed anywhere on YouTube. 
 
Lastly, we’ll go over arrangement.
 
This we’ll help us capture one of the keys to why Rodeo was such a great album, which is the structuring of the beats, and the overall sequencing of the project.
 
We’ll go over some Rodeo specific mixing guidelines as we move through the tutorial.
 
Because, as I always say, nothing else about your beat is going to matter if it sounds like ass coming out of the speakers. 
 
So…
 
  1. Sampling
  2. Drum Programming
  3. Arrangement 
 
With a bit of mixing sprinkled in throughout.
 
Got it? 
 
Okay, good.
 
Shout out to the comment winner from the previous episode (How To Make 'Huncho Jack' Style Beats For Travis Scott & Quavo).
 
 
Hit my YouTube channel and comment on the most recent video (that isn't a Short) for a chance to be featured in the next video.
 
Check out my free 4TEEN Drum Kit 👉 here
 
 
And as you do, I wish you a wonderful learning experience.
 
God bless you, and enjoy.
 

SAMPLING & MELODIES

 
I began this beat the same way I do when I’m working on an instrumental that emulates a sampled track…
 
With research!
 

Sample Research

 
Nerdy, I know.
 
But it’s extremely helpful and makes the actual beatmaking process more fun because I’m not stuck waiting for inspiration to come. You may think this is dumb becasue it isnt artsy farttsy to do something as lame as research when doing something as creative as making music.
 
But I urge you to think of it in a different way. I love this line from Cal Newport’s Book “Deep Work” where he’s quoting New York Times columnist, David Brooks.
 
“[Great creative minds] think like artists but work like accountants.”
 
This approach to music makes you a more deliberate creative, which puts you ahead of the heard over time. This, as I’ve discovered, is also the cure to beat block, but that’s a separate post for another day coming soon.
 
Anyways, my research on Rodeo led me to find out some really interesting things about 90210.
 
We’ll talk about all of that throughout this post, but one thing important to mention now is that 90210 samples this 1970s Italian blues song called Itinerario Romantico by Rigol, And The Blue Sharks. I found a bunch of helpful information about this song on Google and Tunebat that would help me later too.
 

Soundscape Templating

Something I noticed during research was that this sample was basically looped over and over again for the beat switch on 90210, which is the part most people remember when they think about how legendary this song is. Even though it’s looped over and over again through out, it sounds like a masterpiece because the producers did something I refer to as “SoundScape Templating.”
 
This is basically when a short song sample is used as a foundation to created a full musical work, to the point where the sample could actually be removed without ruining the musical competency of the song. Kanye West and Tyler the Creator are notoriously good at doing this, and I’ve even gone over how they go about doing this in a separate post which you can check out here.
 
Now that I had an idea for how I'd be approaching this beat, I could go find my sample and get started. I went off to Tracklib and started searching…
 
And searching…
 
And Searching…...
 
I did find a lot of cool stuff, don't get me wrong. But, nothing was really speaking to me the way I imagined the Itinerario Romantico sample spoke to Travis when he first heard it. 
 
So I decided to take a break, and do some research for another episode, the upcoming Honestly, Nevermind tutorial double header I’m working on.
 
And that’s when I found it...
 
 
Something many people probably don't know about Tracklib is that they don’t just have over 100,000 song samples from multiple genres and time periods. They also license access to loops from some of the most talented sample makers on the planet.
 
Just so you know I’m not gassing the roster, check this out👇
 
 
They even have Frank Dukes on here, so you know it’s legit af. 
 
And this is just one of the many reasons I love Tracklib
 
So, I did end up using the loop by Shuko, even though I initially wanted to use a more old school song. But, this just fit the vibe so perfectly.
 
I mean, just listen to it in the video above.
 
So, now that I had my sample, I could move on to creating my soundscape around it.
 
First, I chopped out the parts of the sample that I liked the most, and then created a loop that we could then layer everything else around. Then, I pitcehd it down 200 cents, or 2 semitones, bringing the key from B minor to A minor. 
 
I did this, just so we could more accurately match the vibe of 90210, which is also in A minor. For the same reason, I also brought the tempo down from 85 BPM to 81 BPM.
 
See man, that research always comes in handy.
 
Check out the video above to listen to how I arraigned everything. 
 
For FX, I just added an EQ to get rid of some unwanted frequencies. 
 
And then I added a reverb to give it width. 
 

Layering The Sample With Melody

Now we can start layering melodies and creating our soundscape
 
I started with a bass from Analog Lab. It’s an emulation of Prophet Bass and it’s so good, a legitimate go-to patch for me. 
 
Check out the video above to listen to the pattern I came up with. 
 
The lead guitar in 90210 is probably the most noticeable melodic element that isn't the sample. Now, I’m no Mike Dean, so there’s no easy way for me to emulate that.
 
But, I tried my best using this Fuzz Guitar patch from the Clavinet in Analog Lab.
 
Check out the video above to hear what I laid down.
 
For FX, I added Hardcore which is FL Stuido’s stock gutair rig plugin. Then, I added an EQ to cut out some unwanted frequencies. I also added  reverb, too. And then I added another EQ to make cuts to prevent this lead guitar from preforming in the same frequencies as the sample. 
 
Check out the video above to hear how these effects made the guitar sound.
 
During my research, I found out a few more interesting sampling facts concerning 90210.
 
First, the vox you hear that sounds like it’s saying “ballin” is actually from Kanye’s Family Business Track which is featured on the College Dropout Album. The vocal is saying “All that Glitters Ain't gold.” I think this comes from yet another old school sample, but this is as far as I could get with my research.
 
So, I isolated the vocals from Family Business and cut out the the same parts that Trav did for 90210. And of course, I pitch adjusted it to match the key of the song.
 
 
Check out the video above to hear how I laid it down.
 
The next sample I found was really cool.
 
So, 90120 has this super groovy drum pattern. Admittedly, I’m not the best at making drum patterns like this - I’m more of a trap bounce kinda guy, ya feel me?
 
So, back to Tracklib I went to search for a Drum Break that sounded similar and that I could rip to use in this beat. And then, it sort of just… hit me. 
 
I’d heard this drum break before. Even though I can’t make drum breaks, I’m a guy who knows his drums.
 
From Phil Collins to Artt Barkley, I'm an uber fan boy when it comes to legendary drummers. So I KNOW a Bill Withers drum pocket when I hear it, and this sounded just like one. 
 
This made me think that maybe the drums from 90210 were created using an old school break from Bill Withers. With some research, I actually found the exact song proving my theory right!
 
Kissing My Love by Bill Withers Starts off with the exact pattern!! So, I grabbed it, removed some noise from the overall sample, and cut the part of the drum break that was used in 90210.
 
 
And this brings us nicely into the drum programming section!
 

DRUM PROGRAMMING

So, it’s pretty clear that they didn't just plug and play the drum break in 90210. It was used more as a template for the pattern they came up with, similar to the way the sample from Rigol and the Blue Sharks was used to create a melodic soundscape. 
 
I wanted to emulate this, and did so with the following steps.
 
First, I cut up and rearranged the drum break into 2 new patterns. This is pretty similar to what was done in 90210.
 
 
Check out the video above to here how to chopped up the drum pattern to arrange each pattern for my beat.
 
Next, I layered the main drum arrangement heavily. You can hear that this was the case on 90210 as well. 
 
So I layered the snare with 4 additional snares. I also messed with their time shift within the channel settings of each sample so that they weren’t all hitting at the same time, but were still close enough temporally to take advantage of the Haas Effect. 
 
Then, I layered the pattern with a kick. And I layered the break with an open hat, as well. 
 
Oh, I also added a bongo stutter because the same thing happens in 90210. I thought it was a pretty cool element of the drum beat and wanted to emulate that. 
 
 
I also did some layering on the break down arrangement as well.
 
I added a clap to emulate the clap that happens from time to time in the 90210 drum beat. And then I layered a snare and a drum roll sample, as well.
 
 
Check out the video above to hear how my drum layering turned out.
 
For Drum FX, I just created a bus for all the drums and added Neutron 4 with the 'Transient Warmth' preset so that the drum break would be more present while gluing together the other samples I added. I also added a Drum Bus preset from Ozone 9 (see video above).
 
And I added Camel Crusher  and had it automate on at the end of some 4 bar sections so that the snares in the break would sound sort of like they were doing a gritty drum roll into the next 4 bar section.
 

ARRANGEMENT

One of the key elements to 90210 and pretty much every other beat on Rodeo is structuring. Not only does this album take advantage of amazing structuring, but it also has many memorable beat switches too!
 

 

Of the 16 songs on Rodeo, I counted 6 of them have beat switches. Even though most of us remember 90210 for the second beat, it actually starts with a completely different beat - it’s really 2 songs in 1.
 
To emulate something similar, I made my own intro. Now, this is where I allowed myself to get basic and spazz out on an Antidote style type of beat.
 
If you’re a fan of my channel, you already know what timing I was on. 
 
 
I picked it because it reminded me of the Lee Fields sample that Eestbound and Wondagurl used in Antidote.
 
Then, I just went crazy on the drums.
 
 
Check out the video above to see how I put this all together!
 
Now, I just had to transition my beat. I did this using tempo automation.
 
I began with the Antidote style beat at 131 BPM. I changed the project's entire tempo to 131 when I was making this part.
 
Then, I moved everything back down to 81 and I created a tempo automation by right clicking the tempo, selecting create automation, and setting my first automation points for the 90210 style beat by copying the tempo values and pasting them into the automation. Now that those were set, I could change the project tempo to 131, copy this tempo, and paste this value into the part of the automation that was covering the intro beat.
 
This allowed the beat to go from 131 BPM to 81 BPM, during the transition phase in the second beat. Check out the video above to see exactly how I did this and hear how it turned out!
 

IN CONCLUSION…

Rodeo is probably the most creative trap album of this century. Travis Scott deserves every good thing that has come to him as  a result of blessing us with this masterpiece. He set the standard.
 
I hope that this video was able to teach you a bit about one of my favorite musicians ever, as well as inspire you to make some Rodeo style bangers. 
 
Drop a like on this video on YouTube and share this blog post with a fellow rager.
 
 
Have a blessed day.

Talk soon,

Chu

“Stay happy, stay healthy, and always be creating. Just make sure it’s Dope Content Only.”

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