Pluggrnb: The music genre you didn’t know you’d love


Photo courtesy David Simmons

Senior David Simmons (right) and Churchill senior Ashvin Puri prep for Ken Carson’s X Man Tour at the Fillmore. The Aug. 8 concert included a guest appearance from Destroy Lonely.

From the depths of Soundcloud to Tiktok sound bites, a new sub-genre has risen to the top of music platforms around the country. Pluggrnb, a subgenre of the decade-old Plugg, has soared in digital music ranks. Sporting incredibly popular artists, like Yeat, Ken Carson and the legendary Playboi Carti, pluggrnb is a new name for a reimagined version of modern rap.

Pluggrnb is a subgenre of Plugg music, and while its origins aren’t clear, it is largely attributed to an unofficial 2017 collective of artists nicknamed Slayworld. This underground group was maximized by artists Lil Tecca and SoFaygo, who brought pluggrnb to mainstream media. Although this genre has multiple points of credit, it is only a minute portion of the bigger lens of plugg music.

Plugg music is infamous for its 808’s, a specific drum noise that mimics the sound of older car stereos. It is often found on synthesizers that have become increasingly popular in the music producing industry. Although 808’s were an integral part of hip-hop music from the 1980s, the use of 40-year-old samples has reinvigorated this older sound into newer music, paying homage to the producing legends of the past.

Pluggrnb incorporates the intensity of Plugg’s 808’s with the softer and melodic influence of RnB music, glued together with an extensive amount of autotune and boosted bass. “It combines the best parts of rap together. The words are easy enough to memorize, and the fanbase creates such a fun environment,” senior David Simmons said after attending Ken Carson’s concert in early August.

Pluggrnb reinvigorates the rave culture of the 1990s by utilizing the producing technology and lyricism of the modern day with the integration of old samples. Through social media platforms, like Tiktok and SoundCloud, pluggrnb has soared across young audiences and set a precedent for a new wave of upcoming artists.

“Once I saw Carti and what he could do on stage, it was over. That energy was untouchable, and there are so many new releases that you never run out of stuff to listen to,” sophomore Christian Smithson said.

Playboi Carti, one of the biggest icons of pluggrnb, cemented the popularity of the genre with his 2021 album Whole Lotta Red. While controversial at first due to its lyrical simplicity and intense instrumentals, the album was soon recognized as a true showcase of the versatility of production. WLR quickly hit number one on the Billboard 200.

Carti’s precedent led to a wave of young artists, hoping to make their mark on the genre. While Carti remains untouched, Yeat and Ken Carson have surely made their appearances. 

Although Yeat started making music back in 2018, the true pluggrnb sound wasn’t apparent until his 2021 album 4L. The Playboi Carti influence is overwhelming, and with this album, Yeat earned the title of one of the best up-and-coming rappers of the year. His popularity on TikTok doesn’t go unnoticed either, with dozens of his clips becoming popular lipsyncing audios.

Ken Carson, however, took a different route. His older singles have a XXX Tentacion-esque sound that can be found in early rappers attempting to establish their own sound. In paying homage to one of his greatest heroes, Carson dropped Project X in 2021, with the song Rock N Roll going viral on TikTok. The song originally gained popularity for its similarity to Carti, but his subsequent album X was worthy of a jam-packed tour and thousands of screaming fans.

“It’s the best hype music I’ve found. There’s something about it that is just absolutely electric, it’s addictive,” junior Waverly Nakashima said.

With rising artists Summrs, Autumn! and KanKan, pluggrnb is only expanding in versatility and fanbase, and will continue to make a refreshing mark on social media and throughout the music industry.