Event (English) – Details

RC-808 “Drum Rap” Contest

Welcome to Drum Rap contest!
Today’s DAW allows us to create easily a drum pattern with various gate time and pitches. But then again, drum machines still don’t allow this to happen. I had inspiration to create a drum rap while I was designing MIDI protocol 40 years ago. Consequently, I designed the RC-808 that enables drum rap, and now my project team Analog Mafia is promoting this concept via a contest.
Follow us on Instagram at @the808isonlythebeginning, post your Drum Rap made with RC-808 with hashtag #recreate808, and win a ReCreate 808 T-shirt with my autograph.

Analog Mafia Leader Tadao Kikumoto

Make an original "Drum Rap" data and take part in the contest!

Entry Begins: Thursday, Sep 9th 2021,
Entry Deadline: Tuesday, Nov 30th, 2021

Post your own work onto your Instagram account with hushtag #recreate808.
Click here for details!

| Concept | Background | Contest outline
 | Rules and Guideline | Reference songs  | Prize | FAQ |

Update history

Welcome to Drum Rap Contest

A half century ago, Mr. Kakehashi met Don Lewis who was playing the organ with specially attached expression pedal in order to give accents to the drum sounds at the NAMM show.
It was the first Groove expression on the simple rhythm box in the music world, we believe.

When the TR-808, the Rolandʼs first drum machine for studio use was released, people laughed at it to know they could expand the decay time of the kick drum sounds. But a creative DJ used the controller to make a Rhyme, in rhythm.
Moreover, Rick Rubin sampled the long decay of the sound, and changed the pitch to use it as a bass sound. The deep bass begun to flow the drum, Kikumoto thought.

Without knowing that the new music tide was emerging, he was designing an electronic musical instrumentsʼ communication system with computer which became a prototype of MIDI later.

He wondered why onboard drum machines do not have pitch nor duration parameters.
Because they are non-tuned percussion? But at that time, synths could provide frequency and envelope curves to match their needs and tastes. Isnʼt this lack of these parameters a result of stereotypical way of thinking or “prejudices,” in other words, that still limits the representation of drum sounds to a certain concept?
When he proposed his colleagues to incorporate the parameters to their new drum machine later, they did not laugh but looked confused.

In 2019, we launched software-based 808 named RC-808 for free, to overcome the analogʼs limitations of TR-808. RC-808 enables you to create new rhythm patterns by using any drum instruments which equip virtual foot pedal just like hi-hat. Now, you can use open/closed kick drums, snares, and so on, and that was the scheme Kikumoto abandoned himself to install on TR-909.”
Unfortunately, however, the concept was not accepted well. We thought it is because the demo
song did not fully explain the advantage of this software.

The background to the contest

In 2021, we decided to hold a contest of new drum patterns using the open/closed drum instruments.
Kikumoto asked Chang Jiang, a member of Analog Mafia which is a group of engineers retired from Roland to make the demo songs.
At first, he looked confused by Kikumotoʼs unusual request. One day when Kikumoto was investigating a Hip-Hop article in the web, he came up with an idea to apply the three main elements of rap music, which are lyrics, rhyme, and flow to open, close, and pitch of the drum
sounds metaphorically. He told Chang Jiang to think of this analogy between rap and articulation of drum patterns. Chang Jiang immediately felt inspired by his idea, and created ten pieces of music. And indeed, they were more than we had expected. We are very lucky to have such a talent in the team.

However, Chang Jian is not a specialist of Hip Hop nor Rap, and we wondered if we have created something laughable. In fact, Kikumoto thought, such a series of “laughable” product developments has been the history of our instrument development. So, we sent the piece of
music to Ken Fujimoto and Hisashi Saito asking if the piece was something new or stupid.

They were both very positive. H. Saito encouraged us saying the Drum Rap would be a good challenge for musicians. Then Kikumoto asked if H. Saito could stand as a provocateur. He agreed to join us on his credit. That was not flattery, but he was serious. You can read his comment from here.

Purpose of Drum Rap contest is not a promotion of unfinished RC-808. We would like to provoke musicians to challenge to create a new music MEME.

Drum Rap contest outline

The scheme of Drum Rap is not so particular. All instruments of RC-808 synthesizer are equipped with virtual foot pedals that can control the decay time of the sounds.
Like playing the hi-hat, you can create new rhythm pattern on any instruments.
Analog Mafia provides a number of drum kits with Open(long), Normal(mid), and Closed(short) sound of instruments. Some kits may include several same instruments with different pitches, The instruments are assigned to the Note Numbers on the track or Channels of the sequencer. You can use piano roll sequencer of RC-808 Standalone.
You may use RC-808 PLG edition with DAW for more accurate and complex control.
Assigning instruments is not so simple, but you can challenge to create your own drum kit by adjusting drum kits provided by Analog Mafia. It would be a hard work. Sorry but we cannot support you for that.

Details of the contest will be informed here. Please check frequently. 🙂

Drum Rap Contest Rules and Guideline

Entry Begins: Thursday, Sep 9th 2021, (Japan Time)
Entry Deadline: Tuesday, Nov 30th, 2021

How to entry

  1. Follow the808isonlythebeginning on Instagram
  2. Create your original Drum Rap using RC-808 standalone or Plugin version.
    – You can download RC-808 for free.
    – There is no image specified, but if you need an image for your post, you can use this image.
  3. Tag #recreate808 and post on Instagram
  4. The winner will be contacted via DM in mid-December 2021

* We will share the winning entry on our official web site and RC-808 official Instagram account.
*Contest Prize is the RC-808 Original T-Shirt autographed by Tadao Kikumoto.
*Participants will be deemed to have accepted to the contest terms and conditions when below conditions are fulfilled:
 1. Follow RC-808 account, accept follow request by RC-808 account
 2. Post with hashtag #recreate808

Contest Terms and Condition


  1. The work must be the one that uses only RC-808*
  2. Participants accounts must be public (not private) during the duration of the contest.
  3. Participants must follow “the808isonlythebeginning” Instagram account and accept follow request by RC-808 account.


  • You may use any sequencer
  • You may use the existing parameters provided in RC-808 (Drum Kit(.allprm) or you can edit the ones inside the Inst to create the original one. You can also use the individual Inst (.prm) in the Standalone version to make your original Drum Kit; combination use of these is no problem.
  • We are aware that Drum Rap can be created easily using digital DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) and existing sound library but for the purpose of this contest, please note that any music work using sound sources other than RC-808 will be disqualified.

The winner announcement

We will DM the winner and post the winning entry on our official web site and RC-808 official Instagram account.


  1. Your entry will be invalid if the requirements are not met
  2. Your entry will be invalid if it violates the copyrights and public order and morals
  3. The winning entry will be shared on the Website and via SNS
  4. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with, Instagram
  5. The contest may change the posting method or be cancelled without notice
  6. Multiple posts for the same music work is not permitted. However, you are welcome to post as many as you wish as long as they are different entries
  7. We will send a DM only to the winner
  8. The winning prize is to be cancelled if the winner does not contact us on shipping information (name, address, email) by the date we set in the DM, or in case the shipping information is not correct or if there is any illegality regarding the contest entry.
  9. Participants are responsible for the cost of Internet connection and service fee to participate in a contest.

Warning: below acts are prohibited:

  • Infringement of intellectual property rights such as copyrights
  • Reproduction without our permission
  • Interference with contest operation or infringement of privacy of others
  • Postings that may lead to crimes
  • Posting false information
  • Impersonation
  • Violation of laws and regulations, public order and morals, and any damage to other users or third parties.
  • Other acts that the Analog Mafia deems inappropriate

Reference songs

DJ Saito Demo Track specially made for this contest!!! Bi-g THANKS to DJ Saito!!!

Analog Mafia’s Chang Jian Demo Track


Excellent works will be selected by Analog Mafia and the judges of this contest, and the winner will receive an original T-shirt (autographed by Tadao Kikumoto, if you want. ;))