Inspiration, Pond5 Playlist

Phonk vs Drift Phonk – Know the Difference


Hip-hop is the root of many contemporary music genres. It is an integral part of our lives and inspires artists worldwide. Artists no longer need to belong to the same regional “scene” IRL to be inspired by each other, and the rate of musical evolution happens at a breakneck speed. The hip-hop genre, Phonk, was one of the most popular genres on Soundcloud from 2016 through 2018. However, its subgenre, Drift Phonk, has surpassed it in popularity. Both were born on the internet, and both incorporate powerful basslines. But can you hear the difference between Phonk vs Drift Phonk music?

If you hear the term “Phonk” and immediately think of viral TikTok videos accompanied by hyping music and the distinctive cowbell-heave sounds, high BPM, and heavily edited vocals, slow down and read on.


What is Phonk music?

Phonk is a subgenre of hip-hop that emerged in the early 2010s, characterized by its distinctive blend of Memphis rap, chopped and screwed techniques, and lo-fi aesthetics. The term “Phonk” is derived from the word “funk,” emphasizing the genre’s focus on soulful and funky samples. The genre often features slowed-down, heavily manipulated samples from old-school Southern rap and R&B tracks, creating a nostalgic and gritty sound.

Phonk is an underground genre of hip hop and trap, as well as the umbrella genre for jungle Phonk, Phonk wave, Phonk house, plug Phonk, and, of course, drift Phonk. Famous names of Phonk include Three 6 Mafia, DJ Smokey, X-Raided, Tommy Wright III, Phonk Beta, Soudiere, Mythic, DJ Yung Vamp, NxxxxxS, Lowpocus, and SwuM.


What is Drift Phonk music?

Drift Phonk is a subgenre of Phonk that emerged in Russia in the late 2010s. The producers have been going viral on TikTok with the distorted and progressive cowbell-heavy take on the Phonk genre. The tracks are used in compilation videos of Japanese Domestic Market cars drifting around narrow corners. And that’s how the subgenre got its title. Videos about weight lifting, drifting, and street racing cars often use Drift Phonk music. As the popularity of Drift Phonk increased rapidly, it took over and established the public’s definition of Phonk. As a result, nearly every tutorial on YouTube incorporated the Drift Phonk style rather than the original Phonk genre. Notable producers include Pharmacist, LXST CXNTURY, MC ORSEN, and more.


3 Creative uses of Phonk or Drift Phonk in your projects

    1. Since Drift Phonk got its name from videos featuring drifting cars, why fight it? Sometimes, the most obvious choice is the right one. Think of it as shorthand. Your viewer can fully immerse in your project by using music that already feels familiar to the subject. Fast cars = Drift Phonk. Use it for your intro or bumper in your podcast or YouTube channel if your niche is weightlifting or street racing. This will allow your listeners or viewers to understand your content immediately. For example, if your channel gives tips on weightlifting, Igniter (Drift Phonk Edm) by Pond5 creator MardusSchulze is an excellent choice for a bumper.
    2. The use of electronic music in both Phonk and Drift Phonk creates traditional dystopian or futuristic vibes. A song like Swagger Phonk by the creator, musicandpictures would be a perfect addition to your Sci-Fi project.
    3. Consider using a Phonk sound for your horror genre project. Many Phonk songs have dark undertones. One example is Phonk / Trill Beat “Still Moving” by Carelean. The song gives a sense of anticipation, and the sound of the clock is a classic tool used in the horror genre.


While Phonk evolved into Drift Phonk, they are separate and distinct genres. Once you know each genre’s characteristics, it’s easy to tell the difference. Impress your friends with your newfound knowledge. And don’t get caught using Drift Phonk when you meant to use Phonk.

A Pond5 music subscription gives you access to original Phonk and Drift Phonk tracks.