Summer night, the wind blows pleasantly through the window of your drift car. The engine roar is at full volume as you speed recklessly around corners. Your wild behavior riles up your neighbors who are shaking their heads in disapproval. Beautiful girls can't help but admire you and even virgins on bicycles start to feel a thrill at the sight

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Drift music: what is phonk and how contemporary artists have changed its sound

It's enough to be a racer at heart to immerse yourself in phonk, the subgenre of hip-hop and rap that has grown exponentially on the Internet like mushrooms after rain. It's been lurking for several decades beneath the surface of musical soil, but how did a separate subculture of street racers influence an entire genre? Let’s break down this fascinating story.

Back in the '90s there was Memphis rap, which had nothing to do with memes or social media trends but was steeped in low-quality dark sounds and 808 bass beats created on Roland TR-808 drum machines. This underground movement grew when DJs started mixing such music – DJ Screw pioneering it alongside Three 6 Mafia. Unfortunately, the movement fizzled in the late 2000s, spending a decade languishing and forgotten. But then the unexpected happened – rapper SpaceGhostPurrp revived phonk at the beginning of 10s, bringing attention to this almost-forgotten subgenre with his tracks Pheel tha Phonk, Bringin' tha Phonk, Keep Bringin' tha Phonk and finally PHONK.

Through genre dungeons and approval from all sorts of audiences, phonk found its niche on SoundCloud and started developing even further. Classical music and jazz were sampled while rappers made use of modern recitative prowess. Low frequencies, atmospheric samples from horror movies and 808 bass rumbles rounded out this unique sound that has since established itself as a powerful and widespread subgenre in the Internet environment. Even though it's now low-fi for street racers, music detectives will continue to dig up the gems of this atmospheric, stirring sound. This is how phonk came to be the most listened to genre on SoundCloud and influenced an entire genre that was not even created in the world.

The aesthetics of phonk remain connected with cars, mostly domestic – roll sideways going into corners at an angle. It’s enough to be a racer at heart to immerse yourself in this unique sound! All this goes to show how influential culture can be over time if we pay attention and let inspired minds contribute their creative skillset. Phonk has proved that in the music industry there’s always something new and exciting to discover! Who knows – maybe your next favorite genre will be a phonk offshoot. Make sure you listen carefully. What kind of music will we be grooving to 10 years from now? We can only wait and see!