How to make the Sicko Mode Snare
A Dubstep Style Snare Immediately Grabs Your Attention
November 7, 2018
Why Is A Snare So Important?
Travis Scott's hit single Sicko Mode is an all around great song. It's one of the hottest Hip Hop tracks of 2018 for a reason. Drake has a feature on it, so you knew it was going to blow up. At the time of this writing, it currently has over 300,000,000 streams on Spotify.
When I first heard the song, two things jumped out at me from a music production stand point, the snare and the bass. Not necessarily what the snare was doing or the bass line itself, but the sound and sample choice for each part. The hi hats are pretty basic, and I'm a big fan of creating rolls and unique hats patterns when I'm making a Hip Hop beat. But the basic hats weren't even noticeable to me until I started to recreate the beat. I'd be willing to bet that's because my ears were focused on hearing the fresh and unique snare sample and bass preset.
Hip Hop has been obsessed with 3-5 snare samples for the past two years. Nearly every track uses one of these snare samples. We're part to blame, we made this style of snare in our top selling sample pack The OVO Drums. That's what impressive about Sicko Mode, it bucks that trend.
Understanding Why It's A Unique Sound
If you wanted to categorize the snare in Sicko Mode with a genre, most producers would probably say it leans towards Dubstep or Future Bass. It's got a very pronounced tonal quality that is common place in those genres.
So lets get philosophical for a second. The Sicko Mode snare isn't unique sounding to someone who makes Future Bass or Dubstep. What makes it unique is that it's used in a Hip Hop track. It's unexpected which makes it fresh. So I guess we should be saying it's unique in the way it was used. Using the "wrong" sample
It's not a difficult snare sample to recreate, and you can get really close to that sound following a few simple steps in the tutorial video below.
Any snare sample can can be broken down into 3 parts.
If you can isolate those three parts, you have a really good chance at making or recreating any snare sample.
The main thing to take away from this video, isn't that you should be using this snare in your next 3 tracks. You should come away realizing that if the genre you produce in has "sample standards" meaning typical sounding kicks, snares, basses, etc., you shouldn't be afraid to try some new types of samples.
I remade the beat for Sicko Mode and swapped out the snare and bass for more genre-typical sounds. The result was shocking. The beat just wasn't the same from a vibe perspective.