Rap-Metal KeyIn this series of articles we’ve focused on developing the proper performance technique, groove vocabulary, and sound to play a wide variety of tunes. In our final installment, we’ll be combining two types of grooves in a rap-metal tune titled “Lincoln Park West.”


Genre: Rap-Metal
Many of the biggest rock acts have fused the aggressive elements of hip-hop and heavy metal into one cohesive sound. This style often incorporates syncopated beats and rhythmic elements into a guitar-heavy alternative rock/metal setting. The new genre was brought to the mainstream by bands like Rage Against the Machine, Korn, and Linkin Park.

The Grooves
Within this play-along, you’ll find a few different grooves and textures. The A section features a light and consistent two handed 16th-note hi-hat pattern alongside a staccato and syncopated bass drum and a strong backbeat.

Rap-Metal 2

The groove in the B section features a sloshy 8th-note hi-hat alongside the same bass drum and snare sounds as in section A.

Rap-Metal 2

Performance Notes
This chart utilizes many of the same articulations found in the last few articles. The bass drum will employ a bury-thebeater approach, which uses the entire leg and foot to make each stroke.

In the A section, play the snare drum in the center of the head (no rimshots). For the B section, use full rimshots. The center-of-the-head approach in the A section complements the light hi-hat sound within this groove, while the loud rimshots in section B fit perfectly alongside the wide-open hi-hat. For both sections, play the snare drum very consistently, striving for equal volume and tone with each stroke.

For the 16th-note hi-hat part in section A, play evenly so that you can hear every note clearly, and use a dynamic of piano (soft). In order to achieve the proper sound, you’ll use the upper shoulder of the stick, about 1″ beneath the tip, and strike the edge (not the top) of the hi-hats. This will give you a very thick yet controlled tone. And by bringing the hi-hat volume lower, you create a dynamic illusion that makes the bass drum and snare appear to sound louder within the overall drum mix.

During the B section, play the wide-open, sloshy 8th-note hi-hat pattern evenly and forcefully, at a dynamic of fortissimo (very loud). In order to achieve this sound, use the middle shoulder of the stick and hold the cymbals open about 1/2″. The open hi-hat gives the illusion that the B section speeds up slightly, generating musical excitement.

This song’s sixteen-bar AB form is augmented with a four-bar intro and a four-bar re-intro. During both sections, the drums lay out. There’s also a four-bar outro where the drum groove changes so that the snare and bass drum play quarter notes alongside the sloshy 8th-note hi-hat. Since the snare is now pulsing on each beat, the tendency will be to speed up, but make sure to keep the tempo steady.

Rap-Metal 3

The chart ends with a short 16th-note snare fill on beat 4 that leads into two 8th-note hits on beat 1 of the last measure. Play each note as a rimshot, and be sure to keep them in time.

Rap-Metal 4

Obviously, you could try a limitless number of variations and grooves within this tune. However, it’s extremely important that you not think “drumistically.” You should be playing the drums to the music—not over it. You can download the chart, as well as play-along and demo MP3s, for each of the articles in this series at moderndrummer.com. Best of luck!

Rap-Metal 5

Rap-Metal 6


Donny Gruendler is the director of performance programs at Musicians Institute in Los Angeles and the creator of Hudson Music’s download series Seeing Sounds and Private Lessons. He has performed with DJ Logic, Rick Holmstrom, John Medeski, and Rhett Frazier Inc. For more info, visit donnygruendler.com.