How to Make Phonk In FL Studio

Hey Industry Hackerz!

In this tutorial, I will show you how to make phonk in FL Studio.

But first, you need to understand a little about the inspiration of the genre Phonk and where it comes from – this way you can understand what sorts of samples and plugins you might wanna get hold of once you've mastered it with basic FL Studio plugins!

How to make phonk on fl studio

Although I highly recommend you read the entire guide, if you want to grab the TL;DR and go… I get it!

How to Make Phonk in Fl Studio: TL;DR

how to make phonk in fl studio infographic
how to make phonk in fl studio infographic

About This (not-so-new) Hip Hop Sub-Genre: Phonk

Many people think it is a brand new genres, but Phonk is a hip-hop sub-genre that originated in the early 2010s and is known for these characteristics:

  • vintage instrumentals,
  • Memphis rap samples,
  • distorted trap drums

Step 1: Creating Your Phonk Melody

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One of the defining traits of Phonk music is the use of the Roland TR-808 cowbell.

This sound was a staple in hip-hop throughout the 80s and 90s and has now become a mainstay in Phonk.

To create the melody for your Phonk track, you can use the TR-808 cowbell sample in FL Studio.

It's located in the drums folder and all you need to do is put it in key to create your melody.

To enhance the cowbell melody, you can add some effects like an EQ to bring out the highs and a stereo shaper and reverb to give it some depth.

Step 2: Adding Your Phonk Drums

To complement the cowbell melody, you'll need some fast and punchy drums and some ride hi-hats to match.

You can use the distorted 808 preset from Flex to play the 808.

You can also use Fruity Fast Distortion to beef up the sound and a couple of EQs to clean it up.

Step 3: Adding the Memphis Style Vocal Samples

Another major aspect of Phonk music is the use of Memphis style vocal samples. Many say it ain't phonk without it! But, that's entirely down to you…

The majority of Phonk tracks I hear, use these samples as background vocals to establish that upbeat, pumped vibe.

You can sample from any of your favorite Phonk tracks or, for a personal touch, you can sample yourself! (I highly recommend this, and just messing with the EQ and reverb).

💎 To create a simple old-school Memphis style beat, you can use some strings from Simsynth Flex and Direct Wave.

Pair the melody with some drums from FL Studio's legacy drum kit and use an 808 from Flex.

Step 4: Adding the Vocals

For the vocals, you can create a simple four-bar rap and loop it a couple of times. If you don't have a quiet room in your house to record your vocals, a good place to do it is in your car.

Just set up a mic, plug it into your audio interface and you're good to go.

Make sure that you record multiple takes of your vocals so you have plenty of options in the mixing stage.

If you want to add extra effects to your vocals, try using some vocal plugins like Autotune or vocoders.

Step 5: Adding the Signature Phonk Beat Switch

Once the track is done, you can add a beat switch to cover another style of Phonk.

Instead of the crazy cowbell sound, you can transition into the chill and spacey side of Phonk inspired by artists like Lost Century.

To do this, start by creating a simple base in GMS default saw four voices.

Add a little stereo mix, small detune, and a low-pass filter cut.

The only effects you need are a limiter for peak reduction and Sound Geyser. Then, use two presets from Flex to play some melodies.

Step 6: Adding Distortion

For the final touch, you can add some distortion to the whole beat.

You can use Fruity Limiter to create a soft clip and lower the ceiling until it crunches.

You can add as much or as little distortion as you like, just remember, bad mixing good vibe.


What Are The Best Phonk Instruments & VSTs To Use To Make Phonk?

  • Hard-hitting drums
  • 808 bass
  • Phonk vocal samples
  • Sample packs such as Magic Phonk Sample Pack from LANDR Samples, Cymatics Ultimate Hip Hop Bundle
  • Free phonk drum kits and samples available online
  • Sample-based VST instruments/plugins to create a synthesized sound.
  • Drum machines, such as Roland TR-808 and TR-909, that were used to produce the classic phonk sound
  • Synthesizer plugins, such as FM8, Massive, and Sylenth1, to create custom basslines and synth leads
  • Effects plugins, such as distortion, reverb, and delay, to create a lo-fi and vintage feel.

About Author

Arielle P

Arielle P

Songwriter | Music Producer | Engineer.

With a background in music production and a strong passion for education, Arielle is dedicated to helping emerging artists navigate the music industry. She has worked with a diverse range of artists, from indie rock bands to well-known hip-hop and grime artists. Arielle's unique approach to teaching focuses on empowering artists to take control of their brand, ensuring they retain creative ownership throughout their journey. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting with new sounds in her home studio and sharing her insights through music production tutorials and workshops.

📧 Email Arielle