Learn how to make a dancehall beat from scratch on BandLab

Dancehall is much more than just a music genre. The music which arose in the turbulence of the late 70s was one of Jamaica’s most influential musical exports along with reggae. Played in actual dance halls in the country’s capital of Kingston, appealing specifically to the working-class, dancehall music became a way of life. The dance hall became a place to forget about their hardships, a refuge for the marginalized.

The dancehall beat, which is usually an instrumental track, became referred to as a “riddim”. The beat was stripped down, relying heavily on drum and bass lines. The DJ would rap, or in Jamaican parlance, “toast” over the beat. The addictive chant – part talking, part singing in patois – gave a dancehall its unique voice.

Dancehall’s influence has been far-reaching. From Justin Bieber’s “Sorry”, Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” to Rihanna’s “Work”, the sounds from the streets of Kingston can be heard in mainstream chart-toppers today.

Read more: Beat maker series: How to produce a reggae track on BandLab

In this video tutorial, we’ll show you just how simple it is to create a beat inspired by the dancehall genre right here on BandLab. Our web-based DAW is free to use, and has all the tools and features you need to start making great music. All you need is your browser!

You can fork the dancehall beat we created in the video tutorial below. Use the track to start your very own rendition of the dancehall genre!

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