Autotune is a tool often used in music to improve a singer’s pitch, although sometimes it is used to artificially augment the voice. But since rap doesn’t often have pitched singing, do rappers use autotune?
Here’s what I’ve discovered:
Most rappers do use autotune in their recordings, including T-Pain, Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Future, and Travis Scott. While pitch correction doesn’t apply to spoken words, the way it enhances the tone is appealing to many rappers, fans, and producers.
Rap has always been seen as a raw genre of music in every sense of the word.
With that being said, many people would assume that rappers don’t use autotune. Although this is a fair assumption, a little research shows that some rappers use autotune.
It is important to remember that autotune, as well as other effects, can oftentimes be almost unnoticeable for the listener. In its truest form, autotune simply corrects the vocals.
However, some rappers use vocal effects such as autotune to a much greater extent.
— Entertainment Voice (@EntVoiceNews) April 29, 2018
What voice effects do rappers use?
Rappers use many different effects in their music, including autotune, pitch shifters, double-tracking the vocals, and de-essing software.
Many of these effects involve changing the way certain words sound together when spoke quickly together. These tools are important in the process of producing rap professionally.
One type of voice effects rappers use is De-Essing software.
This is important to most rappers because it takes out harsh “s”, “sh”, and “z” sounds that arise due to fast speech. Because rappers often reply on fast speech, this type of voice effect is most used by them.
Pitch shifting is another type of voice effect that rappers use.
This comes in handy for people who want to emphasize certain words or also change the vocals and add some variation.
You can almost hear this in the hook, or refrain, of a rap song; it takes a part of the song that is repeated but alters it.
Time alignment is another tool often used by rappers and their sound engineers. This is because many rappers record vocals for each part of the song, and they then layer them. This is sometimes called double-tracking.
When done, the rapper or singer records the exact same vocal part 2 (or more) times. Then they are layered together to create a fuller, richer-sounding vocal.
Time alignment allows the sound engineer to easily line up the layers so that it sounds the way it is supposed to.
— StyleZAP (@styleZAP) June 9, 2018
Which rappers don’t use autotune?
Two rappers who don’t use autotune are Pusha T and A$AP Rocky along with hip-hop legends such as Public Enemy’s Chuck D, and The Beastie Boys. Additionally, Jay-Z wrote a song called “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)” to illustrate his dislike of the technology.
Most rappers do use autotune in their music to some degree.
The use of autotune has grown tremendously among rappers over the last few decades. Of course, much of this is subtle, but there are many popular examples of rappers who almost solely rely on autotune in their songs.
Pusha T is cited as someone who does not use autotune in his music.
This is because Pusha T has been around for quite a while, and many older rappers are more traditional about their approach to music.
A$AP Rocky is another famous rapper who does not use autotune.
Although he is a younger rapper, he seems to want to approach music more organically. He has gained a great deal of respect for remaining true to not using autotune.
And as I mentioned, Jay-Z did a song talking about his dislike of the overuse of autotune.
And in fact, the album that his song D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune) is on, The Blueprint 3, has no songs on it that use autotune. They had originally recorded some, but after writing that song, he and producer Kayne West decided to remove all the songs they had done with autotune.
Live on #SixFamiliesRadio So Appalled feat. JAY-Z, Pusha T, Prynce Cy Hi, Swizz Beatz & The RZA by @kanyewest Authentic Hip-Hop 24/7 only on https://t.co/TVEjs6S0pd #TheCommissionOfHipHop pic.twitter.com/SETk0ovnE6
— Six Families Radio (@6FamiliesRadio) May 19, 2021
Which rappers use the most autotune?
A few of the rappers who use autotune the most are Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Future, and Travis Scott. But they tend to use it for how it augments the vocal sound more than just using it to correct wrong notes.
Justin Timberlake’s producers see it the exact same way. Timberlake clearly has an amazing voice and doesn’t need pitch correction. But his producers like how autotune changes the tone of his voice and how it sounds with the music.
But let’s look at some of the rappers that love autotune:
One example is Kanye West.
Despite being considered one of the greatest rappers of all time, many of his songs are heavily autotuned. Lil Wayne is another rapper who has been around for a long time but still chooses to use autotune.
He has been using the tool heavily in his music for quite a long time. Rap fans have never really criticized him over this.
Future and Travis Scott also use autotune.
These are newer rappers who have crafted their sound around autotune. Of course, they can rap on their own, but the robotic nature of autotune is seen as an important component to most of their songs.
goosebumps has just overtaken SICKO MODE as Travis Scott’s most streamed song on Spotify 🌵
Goosebumps is currently getting around 923k plays a day compared to Sicko Modes 709k pic.twitter.com/IU6lntmCqz
— Hip Hop All Day (@HipHopAllDayy) May 18, 2021
Why do rappers use so much autotune?
Rappers often heavily use autotune because it has the ability to make a song different and create an almost artificial sounding vocal performance that appeals to many fans and artists alike.
This gives the artists the chance to experiment with different sounds.
Outside of people who enjoy lyricists and wordplay, some people consider rap to be boring. Because of this, many rappers and producers seek to make it more appealing by having cool beats and using autotune.
This adds a texture to the song that did not exist before.
Also, the current trend in music is to add an abundance of autotune. This means that rappers also use it because it helps ensure that people will want to stream it.
Many fans truly enjoy the autotune effect, and rappers don’t want to lose their audience.
Another reason why some rappers use a large amount of autotune is to experiment with singing. Many of the rappers who use it are doing so to make their singing voice more appealing.
One example of this is Post Malone; his style of rap is oftentimes confused with singing because of the high level of autotune.
But he also admittedly does do more singing than most rappers.
— Rap-Up (@RapUp) May 19, 2021
How do rappers use autotune live?
Many rappers and other artists use autotune software live, which processes their microphone through the effect. However, unlike recordings, in live performances, there can be occasional audio glitches or a few milliseconds of delay as the processor tries to keep up with the artist.
This alters the vocals as the artists say them. This is one of the newer forms of autotune.
Everyone understands what autotune is and how it is often added to a song. However, autotune can also be added to live vocals. What it does is it corrects pitch while the artist is live on stage.
This comes in handy if a rapper misses a note or maybe has a different speech pattern.
The technology basically senses the flawed vocal and then corrects it. This is a way for an artist to present almost perfect performances.
The technology has gotten so great that even a trained ear would not know that the autotune was there.
Rappers have been using autotune to various extents for quite some time now.
The tool allows for many things. It can change the essence of a song, or it could simply correct it. Many fans enjoy the autotune effect.
This is the reason why so many rappers use it. There are some rappers who do not use autotune, but there are far more who do.