Creating The Sounds Of Tyler The Creator


In this article we're going explore how to sound like Tyler The Creator.  From his iconic chord choices to his system rattling 808's, Tyler's music offers a glimpse into the psychedelic mind of one of Hip-Hop's true greats!  Taking reference from Rich's video tutorial, we'll cover using Toms for bottom end in your drums, processing 808 basses, combining vintage synths into your tracks & layering basses with Ableton's Wavetable.



Pitching Toms For Massive Drums 

When looking to add length to your bottom end drum elements the humble Tom drum shouldn't be overlooked.  With it's naturally long decay, we're able to control how long the sound carries on for by using the 'fade out' feature in Ableton's Simpler.  For extra girth we've pitched the sample down 7 semi tones, to fit within the key of our track.


Tip: Try using a 'tuner' plugin to check what note your drums are playing.  It's often hard to tell using just your ears.  


How To Sound Like Tyler The Creator_PitchedFloorToms


To support the bottom end we've re-enforced the sound with a kick sample.  The weight is coming from the tom sample so we're using


New to Ableton Live?!  Find out more about using Drums Racks in Ableton Live Here


Split The Signal For WIDE 808's

When learning how to sound like Tyler The Creator one can never ignore the importance of a huge 808.  The bedrock of modern Hip-Hop, this humble drum can be tricky but here's a few things that can help.

When processing 808's we want to do the following:

  1. Add extra harmonics and top end so it cuts through on small speakers
  2.  Add width for extra impact
  3. Be careful not to cause phasing that can make your 808's sound weak.


How To Sound Like Tyler The Creator_Split Signal 808 Processing


By using Ableton's FX rack we can can split the signal into an FX & Dry Version.  Both of these have the 808 sample going through them.  The only difference is he FX channel has the Decapitator & also Ableton's 'Utility' plugin.


How To Sound Like Tyler The Creator_808 DECAP


What we've done is highly distort the FX version adding extra harmonics and vibe to the sound.  We've then blown it out wide using the width dial set to 400%.  We can then blend in how much of the effect we want using the dB level.  Currently I have the FX. on -36 and the dry version at 0dB.


Tip: Test out whether it sounds better flipping the phase on the utility or click the 'bass mono' dial which will mono all sounds below 120Hz.




Add Texture To 808's By Using Wavetable 

Spoiler alert - We're not going to use an 808 sample for this one but instead build an 808 inspired bass sound using Ableton's Wavetable.  As mentioned before, getting subs to cut through on small speakers can be difficult so for this one we'll use a synth to help us.

  1. An 808 is fundamentally a sine wave so OSC-1 is a simple sine wave.  This pure waveform is ideal for subs and forms the bedrock of our sound.
  2. Envelope wise (ADSR) we want to fastest possible attack that then drops off as the sound continues.
  3. Varying the 'release' will effect how long the sound plays for.  This is incredible useful! How
  4. By layering up a second oscillator but, this time using a square / triangle waveform  we can start to reveal some top end information that cuts perfectly on small speakers.
  5. It's this combination of sine for weight and square for top end that will really bring your basses to life.
  6.  Lastly we'll reach for our trusty Decapitator plugin for yet more grit.


How To Sound Like Tyler The Creator_Detailed Sub Bass + Distortion For Harmonics


Explore more mixing techniques on the rest of our blog and check out these amazing bass mixing tips.


Combing Vintage Synths With Modern Drums

A key element when thinking about how to sound like Tyler The Creator is getting into the mindset of the artist.  Tyler consistently talks about his love of classic recordings, vintage hardware and timeless sounds.  It's for this reason we'd reach for something like the Tal V2 synth, a Juno Synth recreation.  This iconic synth has graced hundreds of records.


How To Sound Like Tyler The Creator_Vintage Synths + Glide


For our main gliding astro lead line the Juno is perfect.  By adding a small amount of 'portamento' the notes blend into one another as the notes change.  I trick consistently found in G-Funk leads and 70s RnB akin to Stevie Wonder!  The rich sound is produced using a combination of saw & square wave, providing a rich bed for the glossy note choice.