The keyboard and piano both have their positives and negatives. A piano definitely feels better to play and learning the piano can make music theory that much easier. A keyboard can play a wide variety of different instruments, including drums. Pianos can only play one instrument. Keyboard are tougher to play and have less quality when it comes to the keys and feel to them. So what is the best thing to learn to play for Hip Hop instrumentals.
I believe that learning the piano can never hurt anybody. However, I do believe that learning to play on a keyboard is better for Hip Hop. Hip Hop music uses a wide variety of different sounds which you can access with a keyboard. There are very few Hip Hop instrumental that use pianos as the main instrument. If that is the case, you can always put the keyboard in piano mode and play any kind of piano you want including: grand piano, toy piano, or any other kind of piano you can think of.
Keyboards can play any instrument that can be programmed to your keyboard. For instance, my keyboard has around 10 different sound expansion packs with around 10 gigabytes of sounds. I can’t begin to count how many instruments that is but I can tell you that it would take me a month to play around with each sound. I even have expansion packs that emulate vintage keyboards that are more popular. That means I have the sounds from those keyboards as well as the sounds that came with my keyboard. I can tell you that no piano in the world has this ability. Also, my keyboard wasn’t even close to the most expensive. The more expensive keyboards come with better keys and may even feel like a piano when playing. Mine features cheap plastic keys but it still playable. I use this keyboard for producing all of my instrumentals.
There are many keyboards good for starters before you decide to buy one made for producing. You can buy a used CASIO keyboard for a relatively cheap price. I have a used CASIO keyboard that I use to play songs on the piano. I use that instead of my producing keyboard because it feels a little bit more like a keyboard and features a screen that tells you what keys to play for the song. It also plays background music to make the full song. These kinds of keyboards are the best kind if you are looking to practice. Playing on a keyboard made for producing isn’t the best choice.
In conclusion, I would recommend buying a production style keyboard to make instrumentals and a used CASIO, or another brand, for learning like a piano and practicing. Some CASIO keyboards, like mine, even have MIDI outputs that can be used to produce beats as well. It is all up to you. You can chose whatever path you want to learn, but I wouldn’t recommend starting with a piano for Hip Hop. Buy a piano and play it when you are rich from your production!