The core of the Hip Hop Progressions library (produced by Hoodee of the Groove Criminals) is a set of 30 “drum kit” folders ranging from 80 to 110 bpm. Each contains four programmed 2-bar loops of increasing complexity, as well as all the samples and subloops the mixed loops are built from. The sound is sparse but engaging, each featuring a big crunching kick and a variety of interesting ornamentations ranging from normal drum and percussion sounds through vinyl noise to kettle drums and other tonal elements.
In addition to this is the Bonus Beats folder, which contains another 69 highly useable drum loops ranging from cleverly programmed, understated beats through big-room acoustic kits to blown-out distortionfests. There are also folders of over 130 bass, guitar, keyboard, and “music” loops, again mostly two bars in length, neatly organized into tempos of 80, 90, 100, and 110 bpm.
The relative shortness of the loops and lack of related variations is less of a problem with this library, because the central genre is based more around repetition and stings. These loops are also interesting enough to hold attention while being sparse enough to layer easily. Beyond the drum loops, there is a wide variety of single hit effects, record scratches (most done to tempo—nice touch), human beatbox loops, and vinyl crackle beds. A second CD contains the samples as audio.
The vibe is immediate and street-wise, while managing to fold in a wide range of genres. For example, the instrumental loops contain acoustic strumming and orchestral strings as well as psychedelic licks and sci-fi synth warbles. The result is a lot of material useful for anything from progressive hip-hop through downtempo cool lounge to nu metal and industrial electronica. It is rare that I’ve heard a single library that inspires so many different compositional ideas.