I tend to listen to chillstep compilations and anime OSTs, sometimes it's trap remixes of OST songs. I kinda have to listen to music while writing tbh because my mind is sort of conditioned to being surrounded by music.. I'm primarily a musician so silence is sorta hard to deal with lol but yeah, it keeps me on track. Apart from that, it helps keep me in the mood of whatever I'm supposed to be writing.
A little too much in the mood sometimes tbh
One habit that I developed is that the scene dictates what music I'll listen to, right? The habit doesn't stop there. I also kinda push myself to feel the emotions. So, if I'm supposed to be writing a very emotionally heavy scene, I'll go out of my way to make myself sad or depressed. I strongly feel like people start talking differently when they're being emotional, you know? So, I personally find it a good way to see how their communication changes realistically by putting myself in their shoes for a second. And then once the heavy scene is finished, I'll go back to some easier songs to write with or just take a break and do something else.. after that, everything just goes on like normal~
I definitely wouldn't recommend this way of doing things to everyone, but if someone was like super in-check with their emotions, I think they might turn out fine if they tried it out. It'd be like method acting in a way lol
Back to your questions, yeah, instrumentals are the way to go for me. Vocals can get a little distracting, but if they're minimal, than it's not so bad and I can vibe with 'em. I recommend listening to Pulse8's hour-long "Lonely Nights" mixes and i'd also recommend my boi Kayou. bc he's been doing some anime OST remixes and the dude's got talent with it
My favorite Pulse8 "Lonely Nights" mixes (reuploaded by other people)
My favorite Kayou. anime remixes, Naruto spoilers on the last one