The first things you need to figure out is whether you are going to buy hardware, such as the Akai MPC 300, or you are going to use your Windows or Apple PC. For many home-based producers, using the PC you have in your home is one of the easiest ways to get started. While die-hard Apple computer users will tell you that a Mac is the best platform to record on, you can have equal results/success using your Windows-based PC as well. Fortunately, software such as Pro Tools made the leap from Apple to Windows platform a few years back.
Providing your computer is modern (3 years or less), you most likely have the minimum specifications to run a music production software or digital audio workstation (DAW). But there are a few things you should be aware of. As a producer, sound quality is going to be a constant struggle with using your computer. Look at it this way, your computer's sound card is probably not magnetically shielded. This means if you plugin a microphone to the back of your computer, there is a good potential for line interference. This means your recordings can come out distorted or have a mechanical hum or hiss.
The first thing you will want to look for is a pro audio sound card. If you are familiar with how to upgrade computers, you can look for an internal sound card that can be installed into your PC's motherboard. If that sounds like a foreign language to you, fortunately, there are many external sound cards that only require a Fire Wire or USB connection. Aside from better signal quality for your recordings, many pro audio sound cards have multiple inputs. For example, a stock sound card only has one mono input for a microphone. A high-end sound card will have two or more channels of audio and accept connections like XLR (standard connections for Professional Microphones) and 1/4 inch (standard connection for most instruments).
Having multiple inputs means multiple recording sources simultaneously. This is called multi-tracking. Many DAW's will allow for you to record each microphone/instrument on it's own channel. This means you can adjust levels and add effects to the sounds independently. Learning how to record using your sound card and DAW is a major stepping stone on the road to becoming the next super music producer.