This article not only gives you my mastering approach for the genre, I also factor in client feedback so your audio masters will make them happy too. But remember, A/B comparison and matching is always your goal. This section assists you in doing that.
How To Master Hip-Hop And Rap
Ratings - I rate each sonic quality on a scale from 1-10 (5 is an average amount). Except for overall loudness, I use my ReplayGain recommended levels.
Clarity (7) Hip-hop and rap songs are very clear. They're basically bright & clear with a big boomy bass. The lack of prominent LOWER-MIDS is the reason why.
Brightness (7) Hip-hop and rap are pretty bright genres. They need to be because the bass is so big, the vocals and UPPER-MID instruments need to be bright enough to cut through.
Bass Volume & Boominess (9) The boomiest and biggest bass of all genres! You want that sub-bass to ring loud.
The LOWER-MIDS don't play much of a part in hip-hop and rap. I don't want the song to be thin and tinny, but usually the big boomy bass in the LOW Band is enough to give the song its thickness.
Overall Compression (8) These genres are played loud, so I can't have then breaking up.
Stereo Width (5) You never want a narrow song, but many times hip-hop and rap mixes don't have much audio material on the outsides (which means a mono sounding mix).
If you're working with clients, you'll get in a lot of hip hop mixes that are stereo files, but sound mono.
Overall Loudness ReplayGain Number (99-99.5) Metal/hard rock and hip/hop rap are the loudest genres. This recommended volume works well.
For more of my articles on mastering your own songs, check out - Audio Mastering Secrets.