Drum VSTsDrum ProductionMusic Production

Best VSTs For Rap, Hip Hop, and Trap

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Production styles vary from person to person, but when it comes to the tools used in the process, many are known to be quite popular. Some of the best production tools music producers can use are VSTs, known for their ease of use and intuitive modulations for music production.

Also known as plugins or even AUs, VST stands for virtual studio technology, and they’ve been a significant player in rap, hip hop, and trap since the late 90s. DAWs changed the game for music producers, and the development of VSTs over the years continues to spawn new techniques and ideas.

1. Serum

Features & Specifications

  • Over 450 presets
  • 144 different wavetables
  • Offered as VST, AU, AAX 64bit
  • Ten effects modules
  • Cost: $189.00

Why Should You Buy?

Not only is this VST widely used among many producers and musicians, but it’s also a great starting point if you’re looking for some of the best synth instruments. Moreover, the customization features take it up a notch, as you can fine-tune each sound to your liking.

It also offers a visual workflow and a straightforward interface that makes it easy to keep track of your adjustments. 

You can import, edit, create, and morph wavetables with minimal effort, and each parameter can be manipulated in real-time during playback. 

Although the stock settings on each sound might work for you, Serum aims to remove limitations so you can craft the exact sound you need.

With the benefit of high-quality oscillators, you get precision resampling while minimizing the amount of CPU needed to perform such a calculated task. 

In addition, it excels at refining high frequencies while giving you a visual representation of the frequency spectrum, so you know exactly what you’re adjusting. It honestly comes with too many benefits to count, and the amount of modulation, wavetable manipulation, filtration, and built-in sound effects have kept producers happy for years.

2. Native Instruments Komplete 14

Features & Specifications

  • Stellar hardware integration
  • Many organic and synthetic instruments
  • Kontakt included, which is compatible with third-party instruments
  • Nearly 250 virtual instruments and effects
  • Upgrade from older versions of Komplete for a discount

Why Should You Buy?

Komplete 14 has some of the most organic-sounding instruments, providing producers and composers with an all-in-one approach to virtual instrumentation. It also includes Kontakt 7, an instrument-building tool, giving creatives almost endless options for their production ideas.

This is currently the seventh generation in the Kontakt series, and they’ve always kicked it up a notch with every new release. As a result, you’ll get some of the best sound quality Kontakt has ever had, in addition to their flagship sampler with HiDPI interfaces. 

Although it’s widely used in genres such as rap, hip hop, and trap, Kontakt doesn’t stop there, as it can be utilized for nearly any genre you can think of.

It features a refined UI that couldn’t be any easier to navigate, and producers can use hundreds of different instruments from some of the biggest manufacturers in the music industry. 

The VST comes with over 1TB of instrument samples, and at a glance, you’ll have access to acoustic, brass, choir, synth, vintage instruments, and many more.

3. Omnisphere 2

Features & Specifications

  • Over 14,000 sounds
  • 58 FX units
  • Expanded synthesis engine
  • Multi-faceted arpeggiator
  • Cost: $479.00

Why Should You Buy?

Built with synthesizers at the forefront, Omnisphere has been a fan favorite for quite some time. Their current version is Omnisphere 2.8, and it comes with more features and sound than you’ll know what to do with. 

This VST is hailed for its hardware synth integration feature, created by Spectrasonics, which transforms over 65 famed hardware synthesizers into digital controllers.

If you like to fine-tune your synths to be as unique as possible, Omnisphere is more than capable of providing the features you need to do it. You’ll also find that it’s compatible with a long list of hardware from brands such as Korg, Roland, Dave Smith, Novation, and more.

Regarding the specifics of what it’s known for, Omnisphere boasts an enhanced arpeggiator that comes with an updated preset library, chord voicings, new strumming modifiers, and many more customizable controls. 

The most current version of the VST also includes 1,600 new patches for its hardware library and an expanded synthesis engine with over 500 DSP wavetables, full fx modulation, and a doubled mod matrix.

The VST is so vast that there are too many benefits to list, but it’s important to note a few other features. Users can also import their own audio as a sound source, which can be manipulated using Granular Synthesis, Innerspace, Harmonia, and all the other creative tools Omnisphere has to offer—not to mention a high-resolution interface and over 14,000 sounds at your disposal.

4. Beat Machine 2

Unique hip-hop drum machine
Beat Machine 2

Specifically made for producers who require the huge range of Hip Hop drum sounds made famous over the last 30 years.

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Features & Specifications

  • 600 pre-mixed drum kits
  • 300 stereo kits
  • 50 midi drum patterns
  • Very low CPU usage
  • Cost: $80.00

Why Should You Buy?

If you’re looking to up your percussion game, Beat Machine 2 has everything you need. Focused on hip-hop percussion, the VST includes over 30 years of drums geared toward the hip-hop genre. 

With styles from the east and west coast to heavy boom bap and even trap, your percussion loops are bound to improve.

Featuring 600 pre-mixed drum kits, you’ll undoubtedly have endless hours of fun testing out different sounds and styles. 

The VST also includes over 1,200 drum samples that are already EQ’d with a professional sound to help simplify your mixing process. In addition, producers can take advantage of the 50 different MIDI drum patterns, which you can pick apart and customize at your discretion.

Beat Machine 2 also has built-in pitch and drive very flexible controls, in addition to analog-style reverb that’s quite versatile. 

People love this VST because of its low CPU usage and fast patch loading for a fluid and seamless experience. Although the VST includes many presets, you can easily program your own drums using all the individual sounds and tools it provides.

Similarly to many other VSTs, Beat Machine 2 is compatible with Windows and Mac operating systems, but it’s important to note that it won’t work with the Pro-Tools DAW, unfortunately. 

Some people have also expressed some concerns about bugs, but they don’t pose enough trouble to cause any frustration. You can take a point-and-click approach with this VST or use a MIDI controller for a more hands-on feel.

5. Ozone 10

Features & Specifications

  • Advanced stabilizer module
  • Vast dynamic controls
  • Great for multiband microdynamics
  • Imager module for natural stereo width
  • Cost: $199.00-$299.00

Why Should You Buy?

Although this article mainly focuses on various VST instruments, it never hurts to have a little help with your mixing and mastering as well. 

Ozone 10 from Izotope is loved by many producers, and it comes with every parameter you need to make sure your mix and master are on point. It comes with a mastering assistant that provides many suggestions as a starting point. 

You can even match reference tracks to give you an audible comparison between tone, dynamics, and stereo width.

Other features include:

  • A new stabilizer module that delivers adaptive mastering EQ.
  • An impact module for intuitively controlling microdynamics.
  • An intelligent limiter that doesn’t compromise the dynamics of your track.

It’ll cover all of your basic mastering needs and more, especially with the help of its imaging module, master rebalancing tools, and its ability to refine low-end frequencies.

You don’t have to stop there, though, as Ozone 10 also features a detailed equalizer for necessary metering and a spectral shaper that acts as a polisher for your song’s frequency range. 

As a result, this VST will offer an upgrade to your mastering while guiding you on what needs to be done along the way.

6. Spire

Spire by Reveal Sound

Spire is a polyphonic software synthesizer that combines powerful sound engine modulation and flexible architecture, and a graphical interface provides unparalleled usability.

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Features & Specifications

  • Over 1,000 factory presets
  • UI scaling up to 200%
  • Flexible modulation architecture
  • Versatile oscillation
  • Cost: $189.00

Why Should You Buy?

Spire is a polyphonic software synthesizer that’s a go-to choice for many producers. This VST specializes in sound engine modulation, flexible architecture, and ease of use. Offering a great blend of software and hardware synthesizers, you get the best of both worlds between organic sounds and full-on customization.

Its oscillators feature multimode polymorphing, in addition to classic, noise, hardFM, vowel settings, and more. Furthermore, with the unison engine at your disposal, you can utilize nine different voices on each oscillator and spread these voices by chords or octaves.

Spire also provides all the filter tools you might need, as it comes with two multimode filters focused on analog and digital styles. 

If you need a little sonic inspiration to get started, you can skim through the 1,000+ factory presets, which can be customized from every angle. 

Some of these customizations pertain to the fx processor, allowing you to adjust parameters such as phasing, shaping, delay, reverb, and chorus.

Aside from that, you’ll also find four macros, envelopes, LFOs, and multiple morphing shapes. The VST is also an excellent arpeggiator, featuring two different steppers that make creating sporadic and rhythmic melodies a breeze. 

Offering a blend of presets from leads, pads, plucks, arpeggios, bass sequences, drums, and sound effects, this VST will provide years of creative music production ideas.

The Bottom Line

These are just a handful of VSTs that are popular among the rap, hip-hop, and trap genres of music, but there are many more out there that have something unique to bring to the table. 

Regardless of your preferences when making beats, each of the VSTs listed in this article offers a powerhouse of tools that’ll inevitably improve your overall sound. 

Many of them offer demos or limited free trials, so you can give them a test run, but the benefits far outweigh the cost as you’ll be using the tools they provide for many years to come.

If you want more ideas specifically tailored to drums, check out our roundups of the best drum VSTs, free drum VSTs, and drum machine VSTs.

Lucas Modrall

Lucas has 14+ years of experience with various forms of music. For the first 6-7 years, he played classical guitari in an 11-person ensemble studying classical music history, composition, and various levels of music theory. Lucas now works in modern music production.

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