Rich Keller Mixing Hip Hop Vocals

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When it comes to mixing Hip Hop, vocals can be some of the most fun elements to work with. Other times, they can prove difficult with a broad dynamic range, problems with the original recording, and having to fit them into a two-track instrumental when you cannot get the multitrack.

In this exclusive, Hip Hop mixing mogul, Rich Keller, teaches you the techniques he has used on thousands of smash hit tracks on a song from Nicky G, produced by Baby Winsch.

See how Rich Keller:

  • Creates a harmony of the lead track to enhance the hook and add dimension
  • Enhances a two track beat from the producer
  • Breaks down his classic vocal setting for the Distressor he used on classic records from Nas, DMX, and many more
  • Makes the vocal shine with subtle moves on an SSL eq
  • Uses the dynamics section of an SSL channel strip plugin to make the vocal sit in the track, adding a glue between the vocal and the mix
  • Adds dynamic ambience to the vocal using Valhalla Shimmer and the Boz Imperial Delay in series
  • Explains his approach to the mix bus, using the Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor, Fabfilter's Saturn saturation and Pro-L2.
  • Teaches how to use the latest version of the Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor
  • Uses the Fabfilter Saturn across the mix bus to add harmonic excitement and top end sheen
  • Dials in the Pro-L2 to control peaks

Watch Rich Keller, mix "Hero" from Nicky G. Only on

Equipment & Software


  • Antares Auto-Tune Pro
  • Boz Iperial Delay
  • Braniworx bx_console SSL 4000 E
  • Elysia Nvelope
  • Fab Filter Pro-L2
  • Fab Filter Saturn
  • Shadow Hills Class A Mastering Comp
  • Sound Toys Little Alter Boy
  • UAD Distressor
  • Valhalla Shimmer
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Rich Keller

With 4 Grammy Award nominations, 29 Platinum albums, and over 75 million albums sold, it is no surprise that Rich has continued to be a first call mixer and producer for hip hop and R&B royalty like Snoop Dogg, DMX, Jay Z, Nipsey Hussle Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz, Lil Wayne, Mariah Carey, Method Man, Rick Ross, and many many more.

Rich's career spans the breadth of hip hop since 1992, earning him official "OG" status.

Rich attended North Texas State University and the City College of New York where he studied jazz bass with legendary bassist Ron Carter.



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What do you have to say?
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2022 Nov 29
Exactly what I was looking for. Got thrown into logic doing just this. Thanks for removing the mystery!
2021 Mar 06
Aos 04:40 quando encaixou o beat... oh... eu quase chorei, genial ! abraços do Brasil !!
2021 Jan 23
This may be my favorite puremix video! A skilled veteran, doing triage, in pitstop record time! But, given the reference to diatonic scales, "listen to what's in front of you", I think one of those monks has got to give himself up... the only F natural in the track was the one that got added. There are F#'s in the guitar part that would make parallel 4ths idea all good until that one word. You know the one, right?
2021 Jan 23
Anybody notice the F natural in the auto tune harmony part? A segment on engineers who what to be producers would be interesting.
2021 Jan 07
With all due respect and I am just a student but wouldn’t the vocal have benefited from some repair work before hand due to the distortion baked in from the lack of gain staging during tracking? Izotope de-clip would of done a great job smoothing this out to make mixing less tedious. In my humble opinion and respect to the teacher
2020 Dec 06
2020 Nov 25
A lot of negative comments here. But the reality is that in the modern era of 'audio engineering' this is actually an extremely useful video because of: A) how quick he mixes the song B) how minimal his mix is as far as tools he uses C) how minimal the production is and how he manages to make 'more' out of having 'less'. If you're a 'lower level' professional engineer like myself or most engineers in the industry, these are issues that frequently come up in day to day studio situations when your bread and butter are nickel and dime artists with low budgets Thanks for the great content guys!
2020 Nov 22
And again... Clipping due to no gain staging. A little disappointing tbh
Phantom Studios
2020 Nov 19
Excellent video, perfect length with lots of useful information. Thank you!
2020 Nov 15
the distressor part - to my ears it isn't smoothed out, it's ruined (specially the part 'hero' where you pointed at). The word is just ruined, not leveled.. Other than that great video!
2020 Nov 12
It would help if we could get a more in-depth tutorial on 2 track mixes or just more in general. This appears to be one of the biggest challenges with mixing hip hop today. This was a great tutorial by the way especially with the use of single vocals and making them come to life. Also, will we be getting the session files for this to work with on our own?
2020 Nov 11
What is so wrong with dynamic vocals? Soundcloud, YOOOOTUBE and the like are going to destroy it anyhow.
2020 Nov 11
yesssss sir do more use the uad plugins and protools. but Recording over the stereo track is big in hiphop rap we need more knowledge on this guys thanks again keep knocking it out the park.. #madd Love from northern Ca
2020 Nov 11
True Master at work!