Phonk, the music genre that’s taking the internet by storm, has a unique sound that’s unlike any other.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the origins and rise to fame of the phonk music genre, some of the best phonk songs, and its cultural connections and influences.
Table of Contents:
What is Phonk?
Phonk originated in the southern United States, with roots in Memphis rap tapes and DJ Screw's chopped and screwed sound. The genre's distinct sound is characterized by the use of heavy bass, slow tempo, and chopped-up samples from old funk and soul records. Phonk often features pitch-shifted vocals, dark and distorted sounds, and a general feeling of melancholy.
How did Phonk music become so popular?
Phonk has gained popularity in recent years thanks in large part to social media platforms like TikTok, where its signature sound has become a popular choice for short videos. The genre's nostalgic vibe and use of vintage samples have also resonated with younger audiences, who are drawn to its unique and often haunting sound.
What are some of the sub-genres of Phonk?
Phonk has given rise to a number of sub-genres, each with its unique take on the genre. One such sub-genre is "Lo-Fi Phonk," which incorporates lo-fi beats with phonk elements. "Gangsta Phonk" is another sub-genre, with a focus on dark and gritty lyrics and aggressive beats. "Phuture Collective" is a more experimental sub-genre, with a focus on incorporating electronic elements into phonk music. "Brazilian Phonk", my personal favorite, is an upcoming style of Phonk which prioritizes strong bass.
Lastly, the Drift Phonk subgenre is another emerging collection of phonk music that is characterized by its use of drifting car sounds and samples from racing video games. Drift Phonk is a sub-genre that's closely tied to the car culture and racing scene and is quickly gaining popularity among fans of phonk and electronic music. The sound of Drift Phonk can range from fast-paced and energetic to slow and introspective, depending on the track and the artist.
For all of the best phonk music, check out our official curated phonk playlist on Spotify!
Or, read on to learn more about some of the biggest hits from the genre!
10 of the Top Phonk Songs
Now, let's dive into ten of the best phonk songs around.
1. Murder In My Mind by Kordhell
This track features a haunting piano melody over a slow, heavy beat. The vocals are distorted and chopped up, giving them a surreal quality. The lyrics describe the artist's inner turmoil and struggles with mental health. The track's use of sampling and lo-fi production techniques adds to its raw, gritty feel.
2. GigaChad Theme - Phonk House Version by g3ox_em
This track is an interesting fusion of phonk and house music, blending the heavy, low-end beats of phonk with the upbeat, danceable rhythms of house. The track's use of vocal samples and synth leads creates a playful, energetic atmosphere that is sure to get listeners moving.
3. |BONKERS| by staplegun
This track is a classic example of the phonk genre, featuring a slow, heavy beat with chopped up vocal samples and eerie synths. The track's use of sampling and distortion techniques gives it a surreal, dreamlike quality that is both unsettling and captivating. The overall effect is a track that is both dark and hypnotic, drawing the listener in and immersing them in its haunting atmosphere.
4. WORTH NOTHING by Twisted & Oliver Tree.
This track features a more upbeat, melodic sound than many other phonk tracks. The vocals are clean and clear, and the lyrics focus on themes of self-worth and inner strength. The track's use of guitar riffs and synth leads creates a bright, energetic atmosphere that is both uplifting and infectious.
5. Demons Around by yatashigang
This standout track features noth a haunting sample and eerie melodies create a dark and moody atmosphere, while heavy drums provide a driving rhythm that keeps the listener engaged. The track's title is fitting, as it feels like a journey through a haunted house, with each turn revealing a new demon lurking in the shadows. Yatashigang's use of vocal samples and sound effects adds to the track's horror movie vibe, and underground style of dark phonk music.
6. MIDNIGHT by PLAYAMANE & Nateki
"MIDNIGHT" is a standout collaboration between PLAYAMANE and Nateki, two rising stars in the phonk scene. The track opens with a haunting piano melody that sets a melancholic tone, before transitioning into a heavy beat with distorted vocals and chopped-up samples. The contrast between the somber piano and aggressive drums creates a unique sound that is both intense and introspective.
7. WARNING - Sped Up by MC ORSEN
"WARNING - Sped Up" is a fast-paced, high-energy track that is sure to get your blood pumping. The frenzied beat and chopped-up vocal samples give the track a sense of urgency, while the distorted bassline adds to the intensity. The track is a great example of how phonk music can be both aggressive and danceable. MC ORSEN's use of vocal samples is particularly impressive, as he manages to create a catchy hook out of seemingly random phrases.
8. GO! by MoonDeity
"GO!" is a standout track from MoonDeity, one of the prominent drift phonk producers who has been making waves in the phonk scene in recent years. The track features a catchy vocal sample that is repeated throughout, giving it a hypnotic quality that is hard to resist. The heavy drums and distorted bassline give the track a sense of urgency, while the subtle use of sound effects and vocal chops add depth and complexity.
9. Slapper by DVRST
"Slapper" is a hard-hitting track that lives up to its name. The heavy drums and aggressive bassline create a driving rhythm that is impossible to ignore, while the chopped-up vocal samples add a touch of melody to the mix. The track is a great example of how phonk can be used to create music that is both aggressive and catchy. DVRST's use of sound effects and vocal samples is particularly impressive, as he manages to create a sense of tension and release that keeps the listener engaged from start to finish.
10. Crystals by Isolate.exe
"Crystals" is a dreamy track that stands out from the rest of the tracks on this list. The track features a beautiful piano melody that is layered over a chilled-out beat, creating a relaxing and introspective vibe. The vocal samples are used sparingly, adding to the track's dreamlike quality. "Crystals" is a great example of how phonk music can be both introspective and atmospheric.
In conclusion, phonk music is a rapidly-growing genre that originated in the southern United States with roots in old Memphis rap tapes and DJ Screw's iconic chopped and screwed sound.
In fact, phonk music's ties to both hip hop and EDM make it a bridge between stans from each of the massive genres of music.
The genre has given rise to a number of sub-genres, each with its unique take on the genre, such as Gangsta Phonk music and Drift Phonk songs.
Overall, phonk music is a genre that's not afraid to experiment with different sounds and styles, making it an exciting and ever-evolving genre to watch.
Be sure to listen to all the best the phonk music genre has to offer with our handpicked Spotify playlist.