Recreating Cardi B & Bruno Mars’ “Please Me”

Ever since Bruno Mars and Cardi B initially collaborated on “Finesse,” fans have been waiting for more projects from the two superstars.

“Please Me” delivers on fans’ expectations. The record combines throwback synth chords and melodies with a dose of modern trap drums. At the time of writing this post, the music video already has over 85 million views on YouTube.

In this blog post, we’ve recreated the hit record in Ableton 10 using Splice Sounds, Wavetable, Operator, Electric, and Serum – follow along for a breakdown of the instrumental and a free project file. “Please Me” is in the key of F# minor and at 134 BPM.

The harmony

One of the most important aspects of “Please Me” is the smooth R&B chords that give the song a more ‘sensual love’ feeling.

While the key signature is technically F# minor, we never hear the minor i, but instead a major I. This is a type of chord substitution, specifically where you borrow the chord quality from the parallel major.

Bmin7 (iv m7) – C# Aug5 (V Aug5) – E maj / F# (VII ) – F#7 (I) 

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This chord progression keeps the energy moving throughout the entire track, since it constantly oscillates between major and minor moods.

The bass

The bassline in “Please Me” is simply infectious, and it has a really nice walk down at the end of the phrase. One very subtle detail is that there’s an 808 at the start of every other measure (gray notes) – the actual bass instrument responds to these 808s in a call-and-response fashion.

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The drums

The primary drums (kick, snare, and hats) are solid but standard – the unique element here is the congas that sit on top of the beat. I would argue that without these conga elements, the track just wouldn’t have the same old school funk vibe. One other noteworthy element is the open hat that basically acts as a crash cymbal, emphasizing the beginnings and endings of each phrase.

We’ve put together a repack that contains all of the drum sounds that were used for this recreation, which you can check out here.

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Are there any elements of “Please Me” that stood out to you? Let us know in the comments below.

March 21, 2019

Nick Chen CX Lead @ Splice. Nick Chen is a producer / performer and educator known under the aliases “Enix” and “nickthechen.”