Ryan West Mixing a Hip Hop Song ft. John Legend

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01h 38min


Ryan West has worked with the biggest hip hop names in the industry including Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, and Eminem.

This tutorial is your chance to see how Ryan mixes the song "Break Bread" by Dujeous and featuring vocals from John Legend from start to finish.

See how Ryan handles:

  • Acoustic and electronic drums
  • Tons of keyboard tracks
  • Live horns and strings
  • Processing rap vocals and sung vocals (featuring John Legend)

Ryan shows you how achieve a hip hop mix all in the box and make your mixes sound larger than life. He goes through every step of his mixing process and even takes the time to experiment and have fun with some of the plugins.

Exercise files
Equipment & Software
  • Universal Audio Neve 1081, Neve 33609, 1176AE, Pultec Pro, Fairchild, SSL E Channel Strip, Roland Dimension D, Lexicon 224, Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor, Ampex ATR 102
  • Soundtoys Echoboy, Crystallizer, PanMan, Radiator, Decapitator
  • Wave DeEsser
Featured Music

Dujeous - Break Bread on iTunes or Spotify

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Ryan West

In addition to many Platinum, Gold and Diamond RIAA certifications, he's been twice nominated for the Album of the Year Grammy and has a further seven nominations to his credit as a mixing and recording engineer.

A skilled multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, Ryan also produces music for major label artists, film and television.

As of 2017, over 70 million albums have been sold worldwide that contain a credit to Ryan West. After moving to NYC from Youngstown, Ohio in 1997 he took a job at Sam Ash Music Store in Times Square where he began to buy recording equipment to record his own projects. A self-taught recordist, Ryan was approached by a music store client who needed help recording in his home. The client turned out to be an influential producer and A&R with Island Records. Over the following 12 months or so, he worked tirelessly to improve his abilities while recording Gospel artists like Dee Dee Warwick, Benjamin Love and others. At this time, Protools Digital audio Workstations were quickly gaining traction as the future of studio recording technology. From that early stage, Ryan developed an impressive level of speed and accuracy while recording and editing. He soon found out that those skills were exactly what the NYC hiphop community wanted and needed.

Taking the helm as chief engineer at the now defunct Soho Music Studios exposed him to top hip-hop artists and their production teams. For the next 4 years, he developed his skills as a recordist and mixer while he built relationships with artists and producers who were on their way to the top. One of those producers was Just "Just Blaze" Smith. Signing on with his management N.Q.C. Management in 2003, Ryan began a whirlwind of work with Blaze and some of the world's most successful artists and producers. He hasn't stopped working since.

Ryan helped forge the sound of hip-hop and rap music as we know it today by working with artists such as Eminem, Kanye West, Usher, Rihanna, Jay Z, Dr. Dre, Kid Cudi...



Kanye West


Ritchie Havens



What do you have to say?
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2020 Sep 09
Why didn't he show any of the vocal stack processing on the main vocal/verse?
2020 May 16
I watched Ryan on the daily webinars that PureMix is doing during this quarantine time. After Ryan's interview, I signed up for a membership and this was my first stop. It was great to see you mix this track! My main take away was your focused vision. You knew what you wanted to achieve before you started mixing and made your moves to achieve that goal. Thanks again! Tim (Columbus, Ohio)
2020 Feb 20
Whys it not loading???
2020 Jan 11
"That's a great place to start" 1h in the tutorial haha
2017 Feb 01
Thanks Ryan, knowing you're working fast in this to [mainly] demonstrate your techniques, it's impressive how even as you are just roughing it all in, it all begins to gel with great cohesion and depth. Really enjoyable track for a tutorial. An overview of your signal paths would have been really handy to see, but no matter, this tutorial has a lot to offer. Thanks again for sharing.
2016 Jul 19
Great vid but the camera poppin in and out of focus makes me nauseous.
2016 May 12
A very comprehensive mix tutorial working with world class acts and removing the illusion from the process at the same time. Its a pleaseure to listen to well recorded material and see how to work it all into a cohesive mix. I love hearing something in the mix that catches my attention and then seeing the instructor address that very thing. But its also great when I didn't catch something and they bring it to my attention like Ryan did many times here. It just adds to the way that I approach a mix. A+
2016 Jan 04
Ryan mixed it right before my eyes, and ears. I feel like I just witnessed a magical illusion, except that I know it actually happened for real. So many elements tied together perfectly. Whether you like hip hop or not, if you want to see someone mix something into an album/cd cut, sit back and enjoy. Total mastery. Subscribe, buy, and watch. You will learn mixing, and also humility. Thanks Ryan, Fab, and Scheps and everyone here, for allowing me to see you work.
2015 Nov 22
Thanks Ryan! Great Video, lots of info to digest.
2015 Oct 18
Muito bom !
2015 Aug 18
is it possable to adjust a Rap Melody thats already been recorded , my client is rapping over a Melody thats already been recorded . But my Melody needs work
2015 Jun 12
fantastic as usual. money I've spent so far towards education. It's funny because some engineers are grabbing plugs from this company and that, and Ryan pretty much kept that to a minimum and delivered a great mix anyway. Just shows its about staying pure to the track, the overall song, and using the right tools instead of using tools for the sake of using them. Thanks again!
2015 Mar 31
Wow , Ryan you are the man. What a wealth of info in how you think about a mix. Your practical use of plugins , and how to use them in itself was worth the price of admission. Thanks bro.
2015 Mar 23
I wasn't really excited by the beginning of the video. But when Ryan started to add eq and compress to the lead vocal and put everything back in... wow ! He blew me away. I really appreciate his vision of a mix : very subtle and smart. Kudos mate.
2015 Jan 06
Ryan West! What a brilliant mixer and also seems to be a super nice, down to earth guy!
Pale Pyramid
2014 Dec 13
Thanks Ryan. You have a nice philosophy about the overall big picture and a solid ear. The summed large difference your series of subtle adjustments eventually add up to was quite revealing.
2014 Nov 23
podrian agregar subtitulos en español, para este video ?
2014 Nov 14
Is there a reason why the session exercise files only include the verse 2 vocals, but there are 3 verses on the release?
Sonic Imagery Productions
2014 Oct 23
Error 0x80004005 with excercise file extraction. Checksum error in mixing_hip_hop_song_break_bread_with_ryan_west\Piano.wav. The file is corrupt. Can you make a fresh zip please? Thanks!
2014 Sep 08
angeloboltini... I have not. Sorry. Been quite busy!
2014 Sep 08
lwaidosch... It's been released for some time. There's even a video for it.
2014 Sep 06
Hey Ryan, have you checked what mic and pre were used on John? Just started the video but it's already amazing!
2014 Sep 02
Thank you Ryan for the great video! It's always amazing to have guys like you share their knowledge and experience! Really appreciate that! One thing: Love the song! Is it released yet? :)
2014 Aug 29
Total master class with respect to the EQ and comps on the final vox busses thanks Ryan!
2014 Aug 27
Recospok, I used 8 channels of Dangerous summing on the original mix, but not for the video. There was no outboard gear used. Completely in the box! Thanks for watching!
2014 Aug 27
Hey Ryan! Did you use any outboard gear for summing or anything?
2014 Aug 18
That's exactly right, Jornarild. I like having the ability to judge each track. Kind of like working on a console.
2014 Aug 18
Thanks Ryan, great stuff!! I didn't catch the reason for putting the low-cuts on alle the tracks in a group instead of having it first on the Aux? Is it to give you the ability to adjust them individually if needed?
2014 Aug 13
Hi Gepe, Thanks! I'm afraid that I didn't track John on this one so I'm not sure what was used. I'll ask the producer.
2014 Aug 12
Brilliant, Ryan!! Had real fun watchin' - and hearing John Legend bone dry ;-) BTW: Do you know which mics/preamp were used for the vocals? Cause, as you mentioned, the recording itself was very good and didn't need much treatment...
2014 Aug 07
Thanks for the great compliments!
2014 Aug 07
Very well-explained, Ryan. :) Thank you. You focused on "next level" elements of mixing, which is the feel, energy, and excitement of the individual elements and ultimately the finished mix. I now have some great ideas for my next project, but more importantly, a better understanding of why a mixer whom I respect does what he does, the effect he's attempting to achieve, and the difference that his decisions make within the final product. Cheers! :D ~Bill
not the mama
2014 Aug 04
Ryan West, you are a great teacher. I like how you break down and explain your approach before throwing plug-ins on tracks.
2014 Aug 03
Some people find using color coded tracks much easier to use, but I organize my sessions in a way that makes navigation simple!
White Cat Studio
2014 Aug 02
Great video but, you don't use any color code in your session? I think it's difficult to navigate in a session like this without colors....