Online studio
Make music
Drill artists: Ice Spice, Central Cee, & Fivio Foreign

How to make a drill beat

Drill music, a sub-genre of hip-hop, originated in the early 2010s in Chicago, thanks to influential artists like Chief Keef and producers like Young Chop. This genre, with its gritty lyrics and aggressive beats, soon crossed the Atlantic, evolving into UK drill with distinct influences from grime and garage music. Eventually, this new sound found its way back to the U.S., shaping the Brooklyn and Bronx drill scenes.

In this article, you will learn how to make a modern drill beat in the style of Fivio Foreign, Ice Spice, and Central Cee using Soundation – your online music studio.

Start with a blank project or a template

Create a project

Drill beat

Drill beat


Drill drums share a similar character with trap drums but are slightly snappier and more textured. The tempo typically falls between 140 to 150 BPM, but at half-time, making the perceived tempo around 70 BPM. This use of half-time provides a higher resolution to work with rhythmically.

The drum pattern is what sets drill music apart from hip-hop and trap. The kick can be sparse with long pauses or more complicated and syncopated to fit a higher-energy beat. The snare is typically placed on the third beat of the first bar and on the fourth beat of the second bar, giving the track its off-kilter half-time feel.

  • Drill drum beat

One of the most distinctive features of drill drums is the hi-hat pattern, based on the tresillo rhythm. This rhythm, made up of two dotted eighth notes followed by an eighth note, creates a staggered, triplet feel.

Tresillo rhythm
  • Tresillo rhythm

Chords and harmony

Drill chords are often dark, moody, and minimalistic, favoring minor keys. The chord progressions usually revolve around two or three chords that loop throughout the track. This simplicity allows the rhythm and lyrical content to take center stage.

The voicing of the chords can be manipulated to create variations, making the progression feel more dynamic even with minimal changes. This technique helps maintain the listener's interest while staying true to the genre's repetitive and hypnotic nature.

  • Drill chords

808 bass

The 808 bass is a staple in drill music, known for its long, sustained notes and distinctive glides. The 808 pattern in drill often mirrors the kick drum pattern by playing the root notes of the chords.

Experiment with the length and timing of 808 notes. Stopping the bass at specific points, like the snare hit, can create a clean, punchy effect. Adding catchy melodic glide riffs, for example at the end of a four-bar progression, can also enhance the beat.

  • Drill 808 bass


Melodies in drill music tend to be simple yet haunting, often using repetitive motifs that complement the dark harmonic structure. These melodies can be created using various instruments, from synth leads to orchestral sounds like strings or choirs. The goal is to add a layer of eerie, atmospheric texture to the beat.

Counter-melodies are also common in drill beats, providing a call-and-response dynamic that enriches the overall composition. These secondary melodies support the main motif, adding depth and complexity without overshadowing the primary elements.

  • Drill melodies


By focusing on distinctive drum patterns, dark chord progressions, powerful 808 bass lines, and haunting melodies, you can create a drill beat that captures the essence of this intense and evocative genre. Whether you’re drawing inspiration from the streets of Chicago, the grime-infused sounds of the UK, or the vibrant scenes of Brooklyn and the Bronx, mastering these elements will help you produce compelling drill music. Don't be afraid to experiment and find your own voice within the genre. Push the boundaries, blend different influences, and innovate to make your mark in the drill scene.

Final result

  • Drill beat - Full mix

Make your own drill beat

Join for free