Trap and Hip-Hop have both been experiencing a glorious ride at the top of the current music trends.

Naturally, designers have been contending to bring out the best possible tools to help keep up with this musical wave, and it can be a little overwhelming trying to find the ideal devices for your production.

Today’s article is a collection of the best plugins for trap or hip-hop production. Each section of this list covers a crucial area of composition or mixing specific to these genres, and I’ve also included a few options to suit budgets of all sizes.

Best Reverb Plugins For Trap & Hip Hop

There is a variety of mixing techniques and devices that one can utilize to bring your trap and hip productions to life.

When building or mixing these arrangements, I generally place a reasonable amount of attention on the reverbs that I am using, as this effect can be more prominent in trap and hip hop than in other genres. Below is a list of useful reverbs that I find very useful for these styles of hip-hop.

Plugin #1: My Absolute Favorite – IZotope & Exponential Audio | PhoenixVerb (99$)

Recommended For – Trap, Hip Hop & Any Other Genre

This plugin is definitely my go-to reverb. I literally use it for anything.

Tone

I love the tone of this plugin, simply because I can configure it to be whatever I want it to be.

It allows you to change and manipulate every aspect of the reverb, so you’re not limited in any way.

It lets you control the damping, the diffusion, the width, the low-mid balance, the size, the early reflections and tail levels, and more.

It has three reverb types, which are all great for vocals – plate, chamber, and hall. And a massive amount of presets for every element that you throw it at. Especially for vocals.

Dry Vocals –

Dry Vocals – PhoenixVerb

Wet Vocals – PhoenixVerb

Wet Vocals – PhoenixVerb

Features

This plugin nails the necessary features and has an amazing feature that gives you extra control (details below).

As written above, this plugin lets you control every element and every aspect of the reverb so you can configure it to sound just how you want it.

This plugin has a simple internal equalizer, damping and diffusion options, ADSR control options, and reverb gain control options.

Another great thing about this plugin is that it allows you to control the early reflections, the attack, and the tail’s sound and ADSR separately so you can easily balance and fit the reverb into your mix.

(ADSR – Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release).

Interface

The interface of PhoenixVerb is pretty simple, so there aren’t any unique design stuff, but it’s excellent for your workflow because it lets you configure its settings quickly.

The thing I love the most about this interface is that it makes so much sense.

Every knob is positioned right where you’d expect it to be, is big enough, and has a clear, definite value representation, so you don’t have to strain your ears while looking at the screen.

Pricing

This plugin has two versions – PhoenixVerb Stereo (99$), and PhoenixVerb Surround (299$).

Normal producers and mixing engineers won’t need the Surround version at all since all songs today are produced in stereo.

Therefore, I would only talk about the PhoenixVerb Stereo’s price.

When considering the fact that it matches every mix easily, and that this would be the only reverb plugin you’d need, I think that it’s a reasonable price.

I’d recommend anyone who wants an advanced reverb plugin that he can use easily and that sounds great to get this plugin.

Pros –

  1. Easy to use
  2. Sounds amazing
  3. Has lots of presets
  4. Has all the necessary features
  5. Lets you control the three parts of the reverb separately
  6. Has a reasonable price

Cons –

  1. Nothing

Check out PhoenixVerb on Plugin Boutique’s website

Plugin #2: Fab Filter Pro-R ($199)

Recommended For – Trap, Hip Hop & Any Other Genre

Fab Filter also offers a massive range of top-tier plugins that cover almost every crucial area of the process. The Pro-R is their device that focuses primarily on reverbs, although it has a few presets that can be utilized as delays. 

The most attractive and useful feature of the Pro-R is the spectrum analyzer. This visualizer is a standard feature on all of the Fab Filter devices and is one of the most reactive real-time visualizers I’ve ever worked with.

The reverbs can be filtered and shaped to the frequency response of your signal for very meticulous processing. 

A common problem with reverb is that it can sometimes muddy up a mix when used incorrectly. This particular reverb is a fantastic remedy to this issue, and it sounds superb on complex mix elements like rap or hip-hop vocals. 

Fab Filter Pro-R ($199) On Plugin Boutique’s Website

Plugin #3: Mutant Reverb ($39)

Recommended For – Electronic Trap

Mutant is one of my personal choices for the most underrated plugin of its time. The device sounds great on the majority of arrangement elements like vocals, guitars, drums, and percussions. 

This plugin gives you all the necessary fundamental reverb types in one neat package. There are hall and stage verbs for large spatial treatment, springs, and plates for some slapback style sounds, and rooms to add subtle air on top of certain instruments.

There are also some presets that are unique to Mutant that sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie. 

Mutant’s coolest feature is the ducking toggle that integrates with the reverb. This effect works much like a sidechain without you having to route any insert to have it trigger.

You can shape the entirety of your ducking and reverbs by tweaking the attack, pump, and tail of your effects. All in all Mutant packs a mean punch for the price its retail price. 

Mutant Reverb ($39) On Plugin Boutique’s Website

Plugin #4: Valhalla DSP ($0-50)

Recommended For – Trap, Hip Hop & Any Other Genre

The Valhalla DSP is actually an entire collection of fantastic-sounding spatial effects, including some instantly recognizable reverbs. Their complete series is highly recommended and some of these devices won’t cost you a single penny to download.

Valhalla offers a very powerful handful of reverbs – Vintage, Plate, Supermassive, and Shimmer. The first two are modeled on classic analog reverb rack units and you can switch between Classic or Vintage sounding emulations.

The second two reverbs have a more modern digitized tone. Special mention has to be given to Shimmer. This particular device generates harmonic reverbs that make just about any trap element sounds heavenly. 

You’ll often find at least one of these used in every submission that’s won a Kenny Beats beat battle. For the amount of color and texture that they deliver, these devices take little to no load off your CPU, making them ideal for integrating into an effects chain. 

Valhalla DSP ($0-50) On valhalladsp.com

Best Vocal Plugins For Trap & Hip Hop

Vocals can often be the central element of a trap or hip-hop production. Producers either compose a track around a rap or sung vocal, or they will process a vocal hook and use it as a melodic element in their composition.

The latter technique is one of the most defining elements of trap music and has been adapted to other styles like indie or folk. The vocal VST’s below should give you more than enough ammo to build some deadly vocal compositions.

Plugin #1: My & Everyone’s Pick: Antares AutoTune Pro ($399)

Recommended For – Trap, Hip Hop & Any Other Genre

Anyone that is a serious production or beat-making nerd knows about the Antares Autotune effects series. The original plugin was designed by a seismologist with a keen interest in coding and has completely revolutionized the hip hop and trap industries alike. 

The Auto-Tune Pro is the Premium version of all the Antares Autotune devices – and encompasses all of its singular devices in one grand package.

Users can set the autotune speed as well as the formant to help humanize your autotune or to give it the signature overprocessed sound that we hear on a lot of hip hop production. 

The best part of the Antares Autotune Pro is the effects. Adding effects such as the octave, robovox, distortion or crusher really bring out the signature characteristics of modern Autotune Pro.

There are even presets available made by the legendary Mike Dean, who is now most well known for producing the likes of 2Pac, Travis Scott, and 2Chainz.

Antares AutoTune Pro ($399) On Plugin Boutique’s Website

Plugin #2: My Pick For Vocals Samples & FX: Exhale ($199)

Recommended For – Trap, Hip Hop & Any Other Genre

There aren’t a lot of instruments on the market at the moment that can quite compare or compete with Exhale. The VST is billed as a modern vocal engine with an emphasis on helping you generate sounds that are apt for modern trap-style production. 

The synth is essentially a sampler that focuses on using vocals chops and loops. You can add and combine layers as sources in the engine and save your own creations as presets. There are over 500 stock sounds to browse through and they all have incredible clarity and warmth. 

The sounds in the Exhale’s stock library are a wonderful compilation of the most commonly used adlibs and phrases in trap and hip hop, as well as a few slightly more unique expressions.

The central GUI has macro-mappable sliders that allow you to warp and transform your sample playback in real-time. You can also dive into the engine tab to give each of your sample sources in-depth shaping and envelope treatment. 

Exhale ($199) On Plugin Boutique’s Website

Plugin #3: Vocal Synth by iZotope ($49)

Recommended For – Electronic Trap

Vocal Synth is both an effects unit and an instrument. As the name suggests, the plugin focuses primarily on shaping and transforming vocal samples to utilize them as an instrument. You might have heard instances of this technique on records produced by Kanye West or Timbaland. 

The interface of the Vocal Synth is quite user-friendly, with simple on-off toggles on most of the devices for easy experimentation. The plugin has four primary modes that determine the overall style of your processing: BioVox, CompuVox, TalkBox, and PolyVox.

Added to this are a bevy of effects that you can tweak using an interactive animation that is way too much fun to play with. 

This plugin can work for your hip hop or trap production in one of two ways. You can either use it to treat your vocal takes for some classic trap-style vocals, or you can use it to turn chopped-up vocals into samples for further composing.

This plugin is not just limited to vocals and does feature a few other modes and sounds that work well as horns or synths in trap production. 

Vocal Synth by iZotope ($49)

Best Sub Bass Plugins For Trap & Hip Hop 

Basslines are the crucial cornerstone to any memorable trap or hip-hop production. More often than not an instant classic will have a bass riff or melody that is instantly recognizable.

There are a few devices and methods to produce hip-hop or trap basslines. The bass plugins below are all designed by hip-hop heads and should give you a healthy head start when trying to come up with new grooves. 

Plugin #1: My Pick For 808s: Sub Lab by Future Audio Workshop ($40)

Recommended For – Trap, Hip Hop & Any Other Genre

Sub lab is fast gaining cult status in the underground trap circuit as the go-to instrument for sub-production.

I can support these notions, as I’ve used the plugin almost exclusively every time I’ve needed to quickly build a fast reliable 808 groove. 

Sub lab operates using three primary components – a synth, a sampler, and its signature X-Sub engine. Each component has customization options, and you can blend all three to taste while designing your sub.

There are some insane stock sounds available that have been used for hip hop gods such as Kendrick Lamar and Tyler, The Creator.

You can monitor the frequency response of each respective component of your output signal using the color-coded spectrum analyzer – which makes for very accurate signal shaping.

The device also features a filter, compressor, and overdrive that can be manually activated and tweaked. 

This device is simple, compact, and very easy to understand, even novice producers shouldn’t have much trouble finding the sound they desire.

I’ve yet to find a Sub Bass plugin that competes with Sub Lab’s workflow, signal quality, and stock library. A word of caution though, this plugin is almost too loud at times and can tend to swallow your mix-use wisely.

Sub Lab by Future Audio Workshop ($40) On Plugin Boutique’s Website

Plugin #2: Bass Monster by Loopmasters ($59)

Recommended For – Electronic Trap

For a more diversified approach to your basslines, Bass Monster is a great option. The device is essentially a bass synthesizer that hosts over 300 ready-to-go presets.

There’s a crazy amount of sonic options in this device, as the wave shaping combinations add up to thousands of sound design possibilities. 

This device operates by layering two oscillators together, the first acts as your instruments’ primary voice, and the second focuses on the sub-frequency areas of your signal output.

You can adjust certain parameters like the filter, pitch, and glide. There are also effects such as a chorus, distortion reverb that increase the character of your sounds. 

I enjoy this plugin mostly for its interface. Each of the knobs and parameters is quite straightforward and you don’t feel intimidated to navigate any of the controls while shaping your sounds. 

Bass Monster by Loopmasters ($59) On Plugin Boutique’s Website

Best Drum Plugins For Trap & Hip Hop 

No hip hop or trap beat can function without a strong drum beat. These styles rely heavily on rhythmic flair and precision, and strong backbeats generally make it easier for producers to write over.

Trap and hip-hop share similar drum sounds, which consist mostly of drum machines, loops, or sampled on shots and breaks taken from older records.

Plugin #1: Hats by AudioThing ($49)

Recommended For – Trap, Hip Hop & Any Other Genre

There are not many elements that are as infectious as a trap hi-hat – when played or sequenced correctly. Hats are a fantastic drum synth that is solely focused on generating hi-hats and cymbal sounds for rhythmic production.

The sounds are generated using two oscillators that emit square waveforms similar to the classic 808 drum machine. You can also choose one of the 50 stock samples to kickstart your sound design. 

These hats can be shaped using pitch, noise, and envelope editors, and further tweaked using a nifty effects rack.

There is a filter, reverb, crusher, and ring mod for extra coloring. Hihats are an essential part of the trap genre, and this device offers you quite a bit of control to hone in on your hat game.

Hats by AudioThing ($49) On Plugin Boutique’s Website

Plugin#2: Beat Machine 2.0 by DopeSONIX ($80)

Recommended For – Vintage Trap & Hip Hop

Beat Machine is an incredibly dense drum machine that also offers its easy seamless workflow and fluidity while composing.

The plugin comes with close to a thousand drum kits to select from, all organized and divided up into each of hip hop’s defining eras from the last three decades.

I enjoy the simple layout of this plugin’s interface. It resembles a basic analog drum machine that hosts 5 triggers – a kick, snare, hi-hat, and two miscellaneous slots for things like shakers or percussion.

You can opt to play these triggers live to compose on the fly using a midi controller. Alternatively, draw the midi notes into a piano roll for more precise compositions. 

The strength of the Beat Machine plugin lies in its minimalism. Often we can get a bit lost searching for the right drum sound while composing.

Beat Machine comes loaded with hip-hop-ready sounds locked and loaded, and you’ll be able to piece together a decent backbeat effortlessly using this device.

Beat Machine 2.0 by DopeSONIX ($80) On Plugin Boutique’s Website

Plugin #3: Addictive Drums 2 by XLN AUDIO ($329)

Recommended For – Vintage Trap & Hip Hop

For the beatmakers looking to vastly expand their drumming pallet, I recommend Addictive Drums 2 by XLN Audio.

This plugin consists of a collection of fantastic live drum samples, ideal for emulating a live drum kit to act as a great backbone to your beats. 

The Addictive Drums plugin lets you choose from a great list of drum kit emulations. These kits range from big stadium kits to smaller, crispier vintage setups (perfect for Boom Bap beats).

You can even build a custom kit using elements from different kits. You can also tweak the gain output and mic placement of each drum part so that your beat has some additional natural dynamic. 

As with Beat Machine, you can either program your drums in or use a keyboard or controller to play and record them in real-time. This plugin is amazing for any producers that are looking to develop their finger drumming technique.

The stock samples give you a studio-quality drum take at just a fraction of the price, which makes the device a very smart investment for budding hip-hop producers.

Addictive Drums 2 by XLN AUDIO ($329)

FINAL THOUGHTS

There are so many unique and dynamic composing and mix elements that helped shape trap and hip hop into the definitive genres that they are today.

If you wish to grow your skillset in these genres, you’ll want to find a balance between mastering the fundamentals and discovering sounds and techniques that are authentic to you. You can use the plugins listed above as a reliable toolkit to help develop and explore your production game. 

If you’d like to learn a bit more about making beats from your bedroom, take a look through our guide to Song Structure And Production.

We’ll provide you with a handful of tips to help unlock your full composing potential. Thanks for taking the time to read through our list of the best plugins for trap and hip hop. 

Similar Posts