Hip-hop beats are the rhythmic heartbeats of a genre that has been making waves for decades.
In the last ten years, these beats have not only pushed boundaries but have also shaped the sonic landscape of contemporary hip-hop.
They not only define the tracks they accompany but also contribute to the ever-evolving sound of hip-hop.
Devil in a New Dress (2010) – Kanye West ft. Rick Ross
Produced by: Bink! and Mike Dean
Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted FantasyKanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is a masterpiece, and Devil in a New Dress stands out. Bink! and Mike Dean crafted a lush, soulful beat that perfectly complements Rick Ross’s guest verse and Kanye’s introspective lyrics. It’s a testament to the power of sampling in hip-hop.
Rack City (2011) – Tyga
Produced by: Mustard and Mike Free
Mustard’s signature minimalist style shines in Rack City. The beat is stripped down to its core elements: a thumping bassline, snappy hi-hats and a repeating synth melody. This simplicity allows Tyga’s lyrics to take center stage, creating an unforgettable anthem for both clubs and car speakers.
Dreams and Nightmares (2012) – Meek Mill
Produced by: Tone the Beat Bully
Dreams and Nightmares begins with an iconic, haunting piano intro that sets the stage for an epic beat switch. Beat Bully’s production builds tension with orchestral elements before erupting into an aggressive drum pattern and frenetic synths. This beat perfectly mirrors Meek Mill’s journey from struggle to triumph, making it a standout in hip-hop history.
Versace (2013) – Migos
Produced by: Zaytoven
Zaytoven’s trap-inspired beat for Versace is an instant head-bobber. With its hypnotic piano melody, skittering hi-hats, and booming 808s, it became a defining sound of the trap subgenre. The beat’s catchy simplicity perfectly complements Migos’ flow and wordplay.
Tuesday (2014) – iLoveMakonnen
Produced by: Sonny Digital and Metro Boomin
Tuesday by iLoveMakonnen was a viral sensation, thanks in no small part to the hypnotic beat by Sonny Digital and Metro Boomin. The dreamy, ethereal synths and rolling hi-hats create an infectious vibe that captured the spirit of the mid-2010s hip-hop scene.
Look at Me (2015) – XXXTentacion
Produced by: Rojas and Jimmy Duval
Look at Me features a chaotic, distorted beat that mirrors XXXTentacion’s raw energy and emotional intensity. The beat incorporates aggressive drum patterns and unsettling SFX, creating a turbulent sonic landscape that’s both captivating and polarizing.
Panda (2015) – Desiigner
Produced by: Menace
Panda is driven by its dark and foreboding beat, produced by Menace. The beat’s eerie, rolling melody is complemented by thunderous bass and crisp hi-hats. It sets the tone for Desiigner’s frenzied delivery, making it an unforgettable track that catapulted him to stardom.
Bad and Boujee (2016) – Migos ft. Lil Uzi Vert
Produced by: Metro Boomin and G Coop
Metro Boomin’s production on Bad and Boujee is a masterclass in creating atmospheric beats. The dreamy, ethereal soundscape is punctuated by trap-style hi-hats and rolling snares. This beat perfectly complements Migos’ slick verses and Lil Uzi Vert’s melodic hook.
One Dance (2016) – Drake Featuring WizKid and Kyla
Produced by: Nineteen85, DJ Maphorisa and Noah “40” Shebib
One Dance features a laid-back, tropical beat that dominates airwaves. Its infectious melody, bouncy percussion, and subtle SFX create a dancehall-infused vibe that’s impossible not to groove to. The beat’s simplicity masks its brilliance in setting a relaxed, feel-good atmosphere.
Bodak Yellow (2017) – Cardi B
Produced by: J. White Did It
Bodak Yellow opens with a minimalist yet instantly recognizable beat. J. White Did It’s production relies on a deep bassline, sharp snares to create an unapologetically confident atmosphere. The beat perfectly complements Cardi B’s fiery lyrics and cements her as a hip-hop powerhouse.