Hip hop originated in the Bronx in New York City and has evolved over time to encompass various styles and cultural elements. Ask 100 different hip hop producers what hip hop means to them, and they would likely give 100 different answers. Just compare the style of modern trap music with 90s jazz rap. They are technically in the same genre but have an entirely different feel.
No matter which kind of hip hop you are working with, there’s no question how essential the beat and the baseline are. They are the foundation of the whole genre.
Today we’re going to look at some of the top VSTs for producers of all types of hip hop.
20 Best VST Plugins for Hip Hop
- Xfer Records Serum
- XLN Audio Addictive Drums 2: Custom XL
- Initial Audio Sektor
- XLN Audio RC-20 Retro Color Vintage Effect
- iZotope Ozone 9
- Loopmasters Bass Master
- Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2
- D16 Group Nepheton
- Vengeance Sound VPS Avenger Synth
- iZotope Trash2
- Future Audio Workshop SubLab
- UJAM DOPE 2
- D16 Group Decimort 2
- DopeSONIX Beat Machine 2
- Reveal Sound Spire Synth
- AudioThing Vinyl Strip
- UJAM HUSTLE 2
- Sugar Bytes Factory
- Future Audio Workshop Circle2
- AudioThing Hats
Serum is one of the most in-demand wavetable synthesizers currently on the market, and for a good reason. It features more than 450 presets in addition to a wide range of modulation options in a user-friendly interface. If you want a synth with a great selection of high-fidelity sounds, look no further.
The Serum gives you all the tools you need to recreate sounds from scratch. This synthesizer is an ideal choice if you want to have all the modern-day sounds you can possibly imagine at your fingertips.
- Highly visual interface
- Next level oscillator manipulation
- Tremendous selection of presets
- Lacks an onboard arpeggiator
- Takes up a lot of CPU
One of the top acoustic drum VSTs currently available is easily Addictive Drums 2. This is ideal for producers who want to integrate authentic drum sounds into their tracks. Addictive Drums offers a powerful engine with features that enable you to combine various kit pieces and mix and adjust individual sounds—and that’s just the beginning of what you can do with this VST plugin. Addictive Drums 2 also allows you to select 6 MIDIpaks, 6ADpaks, and 6 Kitpiece Paks.
XLN has your back if you are wanting complete flexibility and highly authentic drum sounds. You’ll want to add this VST to your collection if you are planning on including any drums in your tracks.
- Flexible MIDI capabilities
- The software has impressive power
- Many exciting expansion packs are available
- Not enough bleed options
Sektor is a very user-friendly wavetable synth plugin that offers a number of features that enable greater customization. Sektor stands out because it gives you high fidelity sound without putting a strain on the CPU. Each oscillator has 16 voices with parameters that can be shaped and customized, leading to the creation of dynamic sounds.
You have significant control over modulation and waveshaping with countless options for manipulating the sound in various ways. The versatility of this wavetable synthesizer makes it a very attractive option among its competitors.
- Awesome sound
- Many customization options
- Doesn’t take up too much CPU
- Some of the controls can be jittery at times
- Could use more filters
There is nothing quite like the distinctive sound of analog or vinyl and is the reason why many producers try to emulate this sound in their modern productions. If this sounds like something you are trying to achieve, we’d like to introduce you to the RC-29.
The RC-29 is a very innovative VST plugin that can help you shape your sound in an amazing analog way, with all of its loud, wild, and wobbly goodness.
The presets it offers are incredible and quite authentic for a true vintage sound. If you love the analog sound as much as we do, you need to get your hands on the RC-20.
- Authentic vintage sound
- Impressive processing power
- Space module has a disappointing sound
If you want to take your production to the next level, the iZotope Ozone 9 might be just what you need. Its modular design gives users all the tools they require to master their tracks either at home or in the studio. It features six different processors, including a maximizer, EQ, imaging, compression, and the spectral shaper.
It also offers a master-assistant to help get you started the right way according to which genre you are working with.
- Impressive mastering software
- Master-assistant is very beneficial
- High-quality GUI
- Steep upgrade price
- Lacks a true module bypass
Loopmasters has a great reputation based on their extensive sample libraries that cover just about any sound that electronic and hip hop music producers could be looking for. For their Bass Master plugin, they’ve put all the focus on the powerful bass sounds that drive so many tracks in various styles of music.
Bass Master has you covered for all your hip hop beats and hybrid beats that combine styles and genres like EDM, trap, and drum and bass. With its user-friendly interface, you’ll find the perfect bass sound in no time.
- Solid effects selection
- Incredible collection of bass tones
- Insane preset library
- Not enough modulation options
- Lacks onboard sequencing
We are not exaggerating when we say that the Omnisphere 2 might be one of the greatest synths ever released. The content in this synth VST includes nearly 5000 sampled sound sources and 7540 patches in addition to 64GB of samples. There are literally thousands of presets to choose from, or you can also load your own samples if you choose.
The cost of the Omnisphere 2 might cause you to look elsewhere, but it’s worth every penny. Make the investment and you won’t find yourself shopping around for another synth anytime soon.
- Crazy amount of presets and samples
- The option to input your own samples
- Flexible browser
- Certain presets are excessively loud
If you are working in on Southern hip hop or with trap music, the 808s are absolutely essential. Finding an authentic 808 sound can be tricky, but not with the D16 Group Nepheton. The Nepheton can deliver high-fidelity 808 sound like few other options on the market. Users also have access to all 16 instruments at one time.
Pattern making is a dream thanks to the onboard sequencer’s ability to be used with MIDI data.
Numerous 808 sample packs claim to offer a true 808 sound, but they often fall flat. That’s not at all the case with the Nepheton—it won’t disappoint.
- Completely authentic sound
- Impressive onboard sequencer
- User can save patterns and sounds
- Less versatile than other options
The Vengeance VPS Avenger Synth offers greater flexibility and higher-quality sound than many of its competitors on the market. Vengeance has developed a reputation among EDM and hip hop producers for delivering powerful, bold bass, drum, and synth sounds, and they continue that tradition with the Avenger VPS with a few additional features.
The amount of content in this synthesizer is insane with about 500 wavetables, 500 waves, and more than 1000 samples that you can play with. The VPS Avenger will push your productions to a new level with its massive sound and boundless versatility.
- Great modulation options
- Incredibly powerful software
- A crazy number of wavetables and samples
- The mod matrix should be larger
10. iZotope Trash2
If you find that your hip hop tracks lack that “edge”, you may want to pick up a distortion plugin to achieve a grittier sound. This is where the iZotope Trash2 steps in. This distinctive saturation plugin stands out from its competitors due to its dual-stage distortions and multiband interface, which are guaranteed to take your tracks to a new level.
The Trash2 provides 20 filter types to choose from along with 60 different distortion algorithms. It also offers super realistic speaker and space simulation. The level of signal distortion this VST offers is unlike anything else you’ll find on the market. It’s definitely something you’ll want to have in your collection.
- A good variety of filters
- A wide range of distortion algorithms
- Impressive waveshaping capabilities
- Lacks a split routing feature
If you’re working with a genre that requires a ton of bass, like hip hop, trap, or future bass, the SubLab needs to be on your radar. This synth is designed to deliver hard-hitting bass sounds that will elevate any track that relies on 808 sounds.
This synth VST also gives you the ability to sample, distort, layer, and widen your own subs and kicks to develop the most powerful low end you can imagine. The psychoacoustic sub-bass oscillator will ensure that your subs remain consistent, which is critical for any bass beat. It also offers additional effects that will drive your sound into new realms.
- X-sub technology helps create a consistent sound
- Offers a wide variety of subs
- Distinctive three-layer design
- Not able to visualize envelopes in the sampler
- Not velocity-sensitive
12. UJAM DOPE 2
Tired of getting bogged down with samples and loops? You might want to consider adding a quality beatmaker VST to your arsenal. One we would recommend is the UJAM DOPE 2, which offers a great selection of samples to add some flavor to your tracks. No matter what style you are working with, you can count on this VST plugin to supply you with the perfect beat.
The features of the DOPE 2 include a top-notch mastering system and multiple audio outputs in addition to 1180 phrases to play with. To make your life as a producer a little bit easier while also pushing up the quality of your tracks, you need to take advantage of this plugin.
- A great selection of drum sounds
- Solid mixing capabilities
- Could use more options for better sonic control
D16 has developed a reputation based on producing high-quality vintage modeled plugins. If you are wanting to achieve an authentic analog sound, Decimort 2 is where it’s at. This plugin perfectly replicates the hardware from decades past to create that distinctive warm vintage tone.
You might find that some of the sounds they offer are simply too clean as is, but with a few adjustments, like decreasing the sample rate and boosting the warmth, you will have that perfect sound in no time.
- Incredibly versatile
- High-fidelity sound
- Perfect GUI
- Not able to work in split stereo
The DopeSONIX Beat Machine 2 was made with the hip hop producer in mind. This top-notch plugin offers samples from over 30 years of hip hop history, conveniently categorized by era.
The Beat Machine 2 provides 600 pre-mixed and EQ’d kits to save you from having to comb through an overwhelming amount of samples. Another feature that can push your creativity even further is the 50 MIDI drum patterns that you can play around with. If you are a producer of any style of hip hop music, you’ll want this hip hop plugin in your collection.
- An impressive range of samples to work with
- Comes with MIDI drum patterns
- Ideal for producers of any style of hip hop
- Not an ideal plugin for editing
The Reveal Sound Spire Synth is the perfect combination of hardware sound and software convenience. You can develop just about any synth sound you can imagine with its four polymorphing oscillators with options that include vowel, classic, AMSynch, hardFM, and sawPWM. You can use these to develop a complete range of synth sounds.
Each oscillator features various high-fidelity filters, an arpeggiator, nine unison voices, an FX processor, two-steppers, and a flexible modulation system. This means that no matter the complexity of the sound you are going for, the Spire can help get you there. With all of the exciting features and capabilities of this synth, you might never guess that it’s a debut product from Reveal Sound.
- High-quality modulation matrix
- Flexible oscillators and modulation
- User-friendly interface
- Lacks a visualizer for envelope shapes
- Menus can be a bit touchy
That classic vinyl sound is in high demand these days, which means that the cost of producing that sound can be high too. Luckily, there is an alternative option in the AudioThing Vinyl Strip, which will help you achieve those sweet tones without breaking the bank. Its six different modules will help you develop the perfect sound. The modules it offers include tilt EQ, bit crusher, vintage reverb, distortion, compressor, and vinylizer.
Another bonus to working with the Vinyl Strip plugin is that it’s not a CPU hog. That’s one less thing to worry about when you install this software. The sound quality far exceeds what you would expect at its price point.
- Numerous customization options
- High-fidelity vinyl sound
- Great sound
- Doesn’t have an L/R mono selector
17. UJAM HUSTLE 2
The UHAM Hustle 2 is perfect for any producer who wants to inject some Dirty South sound into their mix. This distinctive style is dependent on solid drums, hard-hitting beats, and irresistible grooves that bring everyone to their feet. And if that’s what you’re looking for, Hustle 2 will not disappoint. UJAM has put together an enviable collection of the highest-quality Dirty South samples out there to push your sound into a new category.
When you dive into Hustle 2, you’ll find an abundance of drum patterns and kits along with multiple audio outputs. Its master section will give you everything you need to maximize, saturate, EQ, multi-band, and sweep all of your tracks. If you’re looking to capture the soul of Atlanta-brand hip hop, Hustle 2 is what you need.
- Awesome trap sounds
- User-friendly interface
- Strong mixing capabilities
- Not a whole lot of sonic control for individual samples
Sugar Bytes developed the Factory modular synthesizer for producers who like to experiment with sounds and complex beats. Factory should be your go-to synth if you are searching for beautiful, organic sounds. This synth features 2×10 oscillators, a five-color noise generator, a mod matrix and sequencers, and a sub oscillator with ring modulation—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what this poly synth offers.
If you’re a hip hop producer who is up to the challenge of working with intricate, complicated sounds, Factory is the perfect tool for you. There is no limit to where your creativity can take you with this synth.
- Ideal tool for sound design
- Powerful oscillators
- Vibrant interface
- Lacks a numerical mod depth display
The Circle2 is another great option from Future Audio Workshop with an abundance of modulation options right at your fingertips. The Circle2 keeps things simple with everything you need found in one window. This means you can get to work quickly without having to worry about bouncing from window to window.
All you have to do is drag the different colored circles around to develop energetic sounds that will elevate your mix. The VPS technology gives you the ability to develop unique harmonies and tones that will give you exactly the sound you are looking for.
- A great selection of presets
- VPS oscillator offers distinctive tones
- Effective modulation routing
- Not able to apply a filter in bucket delay mode
- VPS oscillator does not have a synch option
20. AudioThing Hats
AudioThing Hats stands out because it is completely focused on hi-hats and cymbals. It’s comprised of two different sources—a synthesized noise section and a sample section.
In the noise section you will find six square wave oscillators with various pitches and phrases that emulate the Roland TR-808.
In the sample section, you’ll find more than 50 options to play around with that include hi-hats, acoustic cymbals, and analog samples. Once you pick a sample to work with, take advantage of the various effect features in order to develop the exact sound you are trying to achieve.
- Impressive range of sounds
- User-friendly interface
- LFO can only target one parameter at a time
Take Your Beats to Another Level
So there you have it. There are many factors to consider when looking for the best hip hop VST to suit your needs, like the style of music that you produce, for example.
In order to create the specific sound you want to achieve in your tracks, you need to have some solid VSTs at your disposal. These tools will not only make your job easier but also will take your work to an entirely different level.