How skilled are you at recording (or making hip hop instrumentals)? One piece of gear that is a great buy is the Golden Age Pre 73. The vocals on this sound clear and warm and its only $350. Most Hip Hop Producers swear by the Shure brand of microphones for great recordings. A few top hits were even recorded on a $79 Shure 58 dynamic mic, and by the way, they sound smooth through the Pre 73. If you are trying to get a decent vocal chain for cheap, you cannot go wrong with buying this moderately priced Neve 1073-esque preamp.
Are you recording vocals over your hip hop instrumentals or tracking a band? Doesn’t matter! The Golden Age Pre 73 is one of the best preamps under $1000.