The Instigator
Pro (for)
6 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Rap beats should have more complexity

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/7/2014 Category: Music
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,066 times Debate No: 61392
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




I argue that rap beats should have a more complex rhythm and tempo. While a simple repetitive beat is good, rap beats should have a diversity of sounds.

First round acceptance


Rap music which is part of the Hip Hop culture is very diverse in its beats or production.

Like many American based musical genres, it's development was based off of the growth from earlier genres such as gospel, blues. R&B etc.

As a result, Rap is often a growing genre that is now integrating great diversity in using classical samples:

Xzibit - Papparazzi

Which uses Barbra Streisand's
Pavane (Vocalise)

Diversity in electronic sounds.

OutKast's B.O.B

and groups like Wu-Tang which use obscure sounds, Kung Fu movies sounds, samples and Asian instruments.

Every one of these martial arts movies samples were used in their rap beats:

Some rap songs also change production mid song, like the classic Scarface album The Fix, with the Kanye West produced "Heaven" (changes at 2:20 mark or so)

This is just the tip of the iceberg, when you study Rap and the Hip Hop culture in depth, it is very diverse and evolving in sound.
Debate Round No. 1


While i appreciate old school hip-hop and the best lyrical rappers have excellent flow, i find these beats too repetitive. The rhythm, snares, kicks, etc. are at the same consistent pace then it repeats again several times. Why is that a flaw? Because if you pay more attention to the beat than the person's rapping, you'll find that the same simple pattern repeats itself. The rapper's flow is simply going to hide that.

I'll use Eminem as an example:

Now here's the instrumental without the vocals:

Notice that the same pattern of rhythm repeats a lot throughout the song.

In classical music, melodies don't repeat themselves.

I think it's time for rap to incorporate a similar technique. Rappers should use more modern instrumentals such as trap beats. If i were making a rap beat, i'd use different tempos, rhythms, melodies, place the snares, snare rolls, kicks, bassline, etc. in different patterns. I would also adjust it to as i change my flow. At the most, it should only repeat at least twice or not at all.


This is where things are subjective to the person"s individual taste.

Many people like that Eminem song and it sold millions of records. Certain things affect sales like demographics, median income etc. But a major thing that turns people off about Classical music is that it doesn"t register with the times.
Rap, Rock and other music beats which are less complex than classical music outsell it just about every day. Not to mention it is pretty much off the radar in pop culture today.

Is Classical Music Dead?


Classical music in America is dead.

By Mark Vanhoenacker

Also, if were grading Rap beats by preference, I would likely go with Eminem's greatest producer Dr. Dre's body of work over PRO"s production ideas personally. Again this is subjective and about personal taste.

Also, Rap is so diverse we have many artists that have created hybrid songs. One example is arguably the greatest Hip Hop band in The Roots. The group writes their own songs, plays their own instruments in their diverse productions.

Some of the most artistically creative Rap tracks are where less is more. For example on Kanye West"s classic album My Dark Twisted Fantasy, he uses a great beat backdrop to feature his emotional lyrical confessions and artistic visuals on Runaway (Caution language):

Now, if you want something that is more out of the box and experimental, you can look at more modern rappers like Chance the Rapper featured on Skrillex's track The Coast is Clear (again, caution for language). The soundscape on this song is very diverse, featuring the Chance's Rap lyrics.

Some prefer the simpler tracks and some the complex tracks, Rap can accommodate all of those tastes. But it really depends on your preference, I personally prefer Rap over Polka and other genres that may have more accordion or cowbell ;)
Debate Round No. 2


While i agree classical music doesn't fit with the times, we cannot disagree that it takes more skill to play classical music than any other kind of genre. Just because it sells, doesn't mean that it's creative. I'm not saying that you should completely base music off of classical, but that complexity can take on many forms.

While yes you have a point that less is more, but it still should be unique.

Kanye West's "runaway" was more fresh and groovy than emotional in my opinion. It's hard to convey emotion in rap and very few artists can pull it off without sounding "tacky." Now it may be true that less is more for words, but as for the beats, i think they should incorporate more enhancements and effects with the modern technology we have at our disposal. In any case, great emotional songs have some level of complexity to them.

I consider Lil Wayne's song "How to Love" to be emotional and at the same time complex

Notice how smooth the hook was with the guitar opening up then proceeds to the beat. The chords change as his flow has a smooth transition throughout the song. There is a consistent beat with the snares. His lyrics are at a decent length. Emotion just builds up in the song. I consider this a great example of complexity in the beat and creativity in a song.

A very unpopular "gangsta" rapper: Alley Boy also creates an emotional song while still having some complexity to it

He seems to have an unusual instrument in his hook then transitions to the beat and chorus. He auto-tunes it at a slower pace then his flow speeds up to a steady pace.

Still not convinced?

He uses a pop singer's "Lana Del Rey" for the chorus of the song but mixes it with a trap beat. Of course this has been done before, but this rapper builds up the intensity of the emotion as the rhythm of the beat blends very well with her singing. The song content also mixes.


" It's you, it's you, it's all for you
Everything I do
I tell you all the time
Heaven is a place on earth with you
Tell me all the things you wanna do
I heard that you like the bad girls
Honey, is that true?
It's better than I ever even knew
They say that the world was built for two
Only worth living if somebody is loving you
Baby, now you do"

Lana Del Rey "Video Games" for comparison

Now his flow transitions smoothly throughout the song and keeps the momentum going throughout the song as he vocally inflects strong emotion.

While your right that at times less is more, but that should not prevent complexity and creativity in some form to be expressed in rap.


Rap is a genre with a huge skill emphasis placed on spoken word & poetry, this is a skill no classical artist emphasized in their classical works. Rap also uses DJ turntablism, break beats and sampling; skills classical artist couldn't use or master during their era. (other than Parodies like Youtube's Epic Rap Battles, where even then I'm not really impressed with Mozart's flow)

All the instruments classical artists used for their pieces also can be used in Rap records, so the skill point is moot imo. Hip Hop and Rap can use every skill classical composers used and then some, the choice is if they want to use or master it in their work.

Again, classical music doesn't sell and also is very expensive to genuinely replicate live or in the studio due to expenses of hiring musicians for a full orchestra.

Rap is also much more creative than classical music, because as we debate there are current rap artists creating new sound and music to influence future audiences. Classical music is a dead or dying genre with much fewer modern day composers reaching audiences with any mass success.

Sales doesn't equal creativity true, but let's look at the definition of creative:

adjective \krē-G2;ā-tiv, G2;krē-G6;: having or showing an ability to make new things or think of new ideas
: using the ability to make or think of new things : involving the process by which new ideas, stories, etc., are created

Pretty much all historically great classical composers are dead as far as I know, so few to none are creating new music, works or ideas in comparison to great rap artists who are putting out new music in this modern era. In the 17-1800s Classical music was creative and innovative, but in the modern context Rap is much more innovative and creatively productive.

Even when deceased, rap artists like Tupac has had supporters create a greater share of successful posthumous albums than someone like Bach or Beethoven. As Dave Chappelle noted:

Few can argue that many rap records were unique, that Kanye West album was hailed as a classic by critics, won awards and sold very well. Here"s an excerpt from the album"s Wikipedia:

"Noted by music writers for its varied elements, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy incorporates musical components from West's previous works, including soul, baroque, electro, and symphonic elements. The album deals with themes of excess and celebrity, with transparent lyrics expressing emotional extremes, ego, uncertainty, and references to drinking and drug use. Its subject matter also explores consumer culture, race, and the idealism of the American Dream. A short film set to the album's content, Runaway, preceded the album's release. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was promoted with free songs released through West's GOOD Fridays series and four singles, including Billboard hits "Power", "Monster", and "Runaway", and the international hit "All of the Lights".

Debuting at number one in the US, the album went platinum and spent 32 weeks on the chart, also charting within the top 10 in several other countries. Upon its release, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy received rave reviews from music critics, some of whom viewed it as West's best work. Critics praised its ambitious musical range, opulent production style, and West's dichotomous themes. In their year-end lists, the album was critics' consensus pick for best album of 2010. Despite its acclaim, it was overlooked by the Grammy Awards' Album of the Year category. Since the album's release, many critics have placed the album on "greatest" lists."

Kanye's work is much more complex, emotional in critics reviews in contrast to the positive but less glowing critics reviews of Little Wayne's "how to love." Although a talented artist with a few good albums like The Carter 3, I personally wouldn't view him as a complex, emotional artist widening my understanding of love rather than a cautionary tale of Promethazine affecting music choices and lyrical potential. Here are some interviews of Wayne high:

To be fair no one is perfect personally which goes for the artists I mentioned, and many great artists have used drugs as a creative vehicle for better music. But I think Wayne isn't one of them, or anywhere near one of the elite highest ranked rap artists historically.

And Alley Boy has consistently had bad reviews for his work and nothing has suggested his approach to music is worthwhile in comparison to other Rap artist"s body of work I"ve listed:

Alley Boy: War Cry mixtape

XXL Hip Hop Magazine Rating: Medium ( below average)

A highlight is "Cocaine", reminiscent of Yo Gotti and Gucci Mane"s "Pure Cocaine", where the Duct Tape CEO pulls in his Louis V Mob teammate Fat Trel to pay tribute to the drug game. War Cry"s brightest moment is the soulful, Gutta Girl-produced "No Love", where Alley Boy and Yo Gotti share their experiences with the cut-throat nature of street life. "I"m pouring liquor, too many homies lost in the system/ Leg wound, 60 years, who"s the real victim/ Too many trust issues, the scars deep-rooted/At 14 catching bodies, the whole hood polluted," he reflects. Moments like this have always been Alley Boy"s best, taking a step back to analyze his environment. The unfortunate thing is that with the exception of that track, the tape doesn"t offer much that cant be found in today"s thick catalog of street music.

Alley"s biggest strength is his passionate storytelling abilities, but he doesn"t spend a lot of time putting together coherent anecdotes for the majority of War Cry

Again this is subjective and varies on taste.

In discussing uniqueness and diversity of sound I posted artists to show rap's influence in many countries and cultures around the world. Here we have an Irish rap group, an comically unorthodox American male, and an Orthodox Jewish male artist's beat selections and varying complexity.

It's important to note Rap beats are always used to emphasize the spoken word. Just like you wouldn't separate ingredients from a delicious recipe or paint strokes in valuable artwork, the beat and lyrics complement each other and are necessary for the complete work to be successful imo.
Debate Round No. 3


While we agree this is subjective, we also agree that there are certain things which music should have.

i consider all of these artists creative, this is a topic on rap beats. Con's logic is because classical music is not with the times, it's not as good as rap, however the same logic can be applied to old school hip hop. 90's rap is old, so lets stop listening to it.

House of Pain - Jump Around has the same repetitive beat, it's not good with the times. Matisyahu is not a rapper, he's mostly a reggae artist.

Rap puts more emphasis on spoken poetry, i agree. My argument is that rap hasn't made much progress on the beats. Tu Pac is well known for his influential music and was probably the greatest rapper of his time, however his lyrics were average and so were his beats. Eminem's lyricism and flow are widely recognized, but very rarely do i hear of his beats.

While rap had influential artists and great lyricists, it still as a genre needs more progress on it's musicality. Rap is music so as a genre, it should contain more complexity in the beats to enhance lyrics.


I agree musical taste is subjective, but I disagree with PRO"s logic in his statement that there are certain things which music must have. By the very nature of agreeing that something is subjective, one is saying that what it should or shouldn"t have is up to that person"s individual taste.

80s, 90s and 00s Rap is much more with the times than classical music. It"s one thing to have something not register with the decade or year. It is another thing entirely when the music doesn"t register with the century.

Who can reminisce to memories of wild partying with their friends while listening to Bach or Beethoven? How many can relate to enjoying an intimate moment of love making with their significant other with that Mozart playing? Very few, if any imo.

Meanwhile, 80s, 90s, 00s and present day Rap is playing a role in parties and reproductive conception likely as we speak.

Old school rap may be old, but judging by sales, concert tours and radio play it"s listened to much more than classical music.

For example, here is a listing of "Jump Around" being played in pop culture:

In popular culture

This song is also a tradition in college football. When a team is blowing the opponent out or a game-changing play happened, you're more than likely to hear this song.

University of Wisconsin"Madison[edit]
At home football games at the University of Wisconsin"Madison, students "Jump Around" to the song between the third and fourth quarters. The tradition grew out of the men's varsity swim team members playing it over a portable CD player and broadcasting via a smuggled-in megaphone to sections O and P during the games to rile up those sections...

University of North Carolina[edit]
In 2004, the North Carolina Tar Heels men's basketball team began using the song as it was a favorite tune among Rashad McCants and others on the team. The song has played at the beginning of every home game at the Dean Smith Center since that year. Just as in Madison, during the song the entire student section jumps up and down. Occasionally, the players are seen dancing to the song as well. When the Tar Heels won their most recent national title in 2009, the song was played over the Smith Center loudspeakers after the final buzzer.

When the Tar Heels moved a 2010 game against Texas to the Greensboro Coliseum, Jump Around was played before the opening tip of that game as well.

Starting with the 2012 season, the UNC football team started playing the song before home games at Kenan Stadium.

San Francisco Giants[edit]
This song was played at AT&T Park during San Francisco Giants baseball games when closing pitcher Brian Wilson entered the game and warmed up.[7]

New York Mets[edit]
The song was played during 2011"2012 season in Citi Field when New York Mets Third-Baseman captain David Wright went up to bat.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim[edit]
This song is played at Angels Stadium during Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim baseball games in the late innings...

Very good with the times imo.

Here is a description of Matisyahu as an artist:

Matthew Paul Miller (born June 30, 1979), known by his Hebrew name and stage name Matisyahu ("Gift of God"), is an American reggae rapper and alternative rock musician.

Known for blending Orthodox Jewish themes with reggae, rock and hip hop beatboxing sounds, Matisyahu's 2005 single "King Without a Crown" was a Top 40 hit in the United States.[1]

Yes, among a medley of other things he is a rapper and Hip Hop beatboxer. He may have chosen a musical direction since then, but at that time he was beatboxing and rapping on King without a Crown.

Eminem and Tupac are just two of a great ocean of Rap and Hip Hop talent, as diverse and appealing to varying tastes as one is willing to explore. Tupac was a genius whose influence and music is studied and taught at classes in Harvard, NYU and Berkley. The power of his artistry and message behind his beats and lyrics was far beyond average.

Sometimes complex metaphors, entendre, breathing patterns and a wide range of varying beat developments are necessary to convey a successful message, other times succinct raw emotion, galvanizing production and clear lyrical portraits of reality many can visualize or relate to are much more powerful.

Lyricism is for another debate for another time (and if invited, I can show you incredible lyricsim which isn't my focus this argument), but just to show you the wide range of Hip Hop artists and their lyrical diversity here is a graphic that made national news about rappers with the highest vocabulary, with comparisons to Herman Melville and Shakespeare:

Rap is at the forefront of American musical development in it's progression of beats. I'll use a short excerpt from Nas, who briefly touches on it in Bridging the Gap.

"Bridging The Gap from the blues, to jazz, to rap
The history of music on this track...

The blues came from gospel, gospel from blues
Slaves are harmonizin' them ah's and ooh's
Old school, new school, know school rules
All these years I been voicin' my blues"

Nas is speaking about how Rap and Hip Hop uses the entire range of African American musical genres and it's musical progression:
African-American Music

African-American music is an umbrella term covering a diverse range of musics and musical genres largely developed by African Americans. Negro spirituals, ragtime, jazz, blues, house, doo-wop, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, funk, hip hop, soul, disco and technoconstitute the principal modern genres of African-American music. Their origins are in musical forms that arose out of the historical condition of slavery that characterized the lives of black Americans prior to the American Civil War. The modern genres were developed during the late 19th century by fusing European musical styles (characterized by diatonic harmony within the framework of equal temperament) with those ofAfrican origin which employed the natural harmonic series. The exceptions are hip hop, house and techno, which were formed in the late 20th century from earlier forms of African-American music such as funk and soul.

Following the Civil War, black Americans, through employment as musicians playing European music in military bands, developed new style of music called ragtime which gradually evolved into jazz. In developing this latter musical form, African Americans contributed knowledge of the sophisticated polyrhythmic structure of the dance and folk music of peoples across western and sub-Saharan Africa. Together, these musical forms had a wide-ranging and profound influence over the development of music within the United States and around the world during the 20th century.
The earliest jazz and blues recordings were made in the 1920s. Later periods saw considerable innovation and change. African-American genres have been highly influential across socio-economic and racial groupings internationally, and have enjoyed popularity on a global level.

More music to showcarse diversity in complexity, tempo and rhythm: slow almost screwed down beat, fast horn based with high BPM and minimalistic with only spoken word and acoustic guitar.

Debate Round No. 4


While you bring up good information on the history and diversity of rap, that's not the main focus of the debate. The debate is whether or not rap beats should be more complex.

I don't see on wikipedia where Tu pac and Eminem are known for their beats, so if you can point that out in the debate, i will address that.

Like i said, the artists which you brought out do have diversity in sound, but not necessarily complexity.

I ran out of things to say, that being said, i will let votes decide who won.


PRO has only shown only their own subjective taste for why rap should have more complexity in it's beats. I've shown objective evidence in the form of music variety in complex layered Hip Hop beats with classical music and dozens of instruments to minimalist with only acoustic guitar and spoken word; as well as diversity of sound, uniqueness, a wide range of tempo in beats per minute & varying rhythms.

Other evidence was presented in sales and how rap has an ocean of beats and artistic talent that can accommodate for subjective taste in both simplicity, complexity and is still evolving in sound from the myriad of American music genres it already incorporates in it's beats.

Judging by demand, Rap is a part of popular culture and underground niches all over the world. One person or a small group of people shouldn't dictate what a genre of music should or shouldn't have, that is up to the at large supporters of that art form's own subjective taste and the artists themselves. And those many millions global supporters, in the form of sales, tour tickets, illegal downloads and media ratings they continue to watch Rap evolve as a successful art form.

Sidenote: if you only want beats, many Rap artists make instrumental albums that change in complexity throughout. For example, J Dilla's Donuts, MF Doom's Special Herbs and Oddisee's instrumental albums.

Bonus: Jay-Z - Public Service Announcement with a full orchestra- Live At Carnegie Hall
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Truth_seeker 2 years ago
These are exactly what i'm talking about, the beats are too repetitive. While simple Old School hip-hop beats are good, i think rap should take it to the next level.
Posted by JediMindScrew 2 years ago
I live up to my moniker ;)

Actually I took your statement to mean rap wasn't diverse enough and should be more diverse in sound, say in comparison to other genres like Rock etc.

That the rap beat status quo is too repetitive, simple and narrow in tempo/rhythm and should change.

I was disagreeing and arguing that the status quo is very diverse and evolving as it already is.

But that's cool, glad we agree lol.
Posted by Truth_seeker 2 years ago
Complex meaning that the beat is not looped to repeat over again. Though i like Eminem and Pac, their beats are simplistic and repetitive


I like Pac's beat, but it's also simple:

Ice cube's beat:

Bone Crusher

As for Con, i think we are in agreement lol
Posted by dmussi12 2 years ago
I'm curious to know what kind of beats you consider repetitive; I find a lot of modern rap beats to be quite complex, but we may just have different definitions of complexity.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by ShadowKingStudios 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Both of you erred in your classical music analysis: it doesn't fit these time. This is juvenile talk. Classical music may not be for some people while other may like it. You both said "times" instead of "people" this is one of many errors you both made. Therefore who made the least amount of errors: Con. However, Con argued from a bias position (continued to harp on about classical music in R3 as did Pro even though he exposed it as weak logic). It is this tidbit about rap music in general, that Pro exposed, very friendly, that Con lacked objectivity of Hip Hop musical history. Con didn't seem to do his homework involving his dissertation against Classical music in Hip Hop, as Pro continued to slam dunk him with the evidence to the contrary. [ ] Con receives a penalization that leads Pro to making the MCA of the debate & fulfill his resolution. [Conduct pt. is Con's evidentiary penalty].