The average RMS level for mastering commercial Hip Hop songs varies between the range of -7 dB RMS and -8 dB RMS particularly for mainstream releases.

However, it may be much better to reference loudness using LUFS instead of RMS.

Either way, it's not uncommon for some tracks to have an average RMS reading of -6 dB RMS or sometimes even -9 dB RMS.

The Trade Off Between Loud Masters and Dynamics

The more you push a song up to contemporary and commercial RMS levels, the less dynamic range you will end up with. Meaning your music will sound squashed and squared off.

Nonetheless, if you want your songs to stand out then you might have to master your music to those average RMS levels since listeners are already accustomed to loudness wars.

N.B. RMS stands for "root mean square" and is a statistical measurement of the overall volume in music. This should obviously never be confused with output peak levels neither with true-peak level readings.

How The Bass Or The Low End Influences RMS Levels For Hip Hop Music

You should always be cautious about how the low end (or the bass frequency spectrum) is contributing to an average RMS level for your music.

If you listen to most mainstream Hip Hop songs you will notice that they are bass heavy and that on it's own can drive up the RMS level compared to LUFS level.

TIP: If you want to match your music to commercial RMS levels it is somewhat beneficial to carefully attenuate the unwanted rumbling bass notes during mixing and it will be happy days later on when slapping a brickwall limiter down the line.

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