What is an industry plant? Definition and examples of artists who've been accused

What is an industry plant? Definition and examples of artists who've been accused

For a long time, the entertainment industry has been full of shady business deals. A lot has been going on behind the curtains, with the audience only enjoying the result of backroom decisions that music and film executives make. While it is difficult to accept, many artists you celebrate today did not grow and gain fame from their efforts. Some are a result of unseen forces, or what is commonly referred to as an industry plant. 

Industry plant celebrities: Cardi B (L), Ice Spice (C), and Paris Hilton (R)
Cardi B (L), Ice Spice (C) and Paris Hilton (R) at various events. Photo: Noam Galai, Jeff Kravitz, Rodin Eckenroth (modified by author)
Source: UGC

TABLE OF CONTENTS

What is an industry plant, and who are examples of industry plants? The term is highly controversial in the modern entertainment world. As a result, many fans have questioned their favourite artists' talents and growth process. For those concerned about talent authenticity, here is what they should know about industry plants. 

What is an industry plant?

Introducing fresh artists is always followed by a wave of criticism from fans who doubt their success. To some, the criticism is meant to harden the artists and expose them to the harsh real world.

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Another section of fans believes that some artists are fake and that their success is influenced by big names that use tricks to make their signees go viral. This is where the term industry plant comes in. 

Industry plant, therefore, is a term used to describe an artist whose fame and success resulted from inheritance, wealth, or industry connections rather than hard work. Such artists often present themselves as independent or self-made individuals working from the ground up.

Their public presence and dominance are allegedly influenced by their industry godparents, who work behind the scenes. 

What is an industry plant, according to the Urban Dictionary? 

According to the Urban Dictionary, an industry plant is an artist with financial and marketing backing from a major label or company.

They act as if things are miraculously happening for them based on their talent (via blog coverage, media coverage, mtv playing their vids, etc.) The reality is a low risk/high reward situation for labels looking to build the next "new star"

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Although the artist tries to portray an image of a self-made individual, they have secret funding that artificially shapes their public image.

The Urban Dictionary also defines an industry plant as a rapper or aspiring rapper manufactured by a label or company who writes or performs their music in a trendy way to gain clout. 

Who are examples of industry plants?

The term industry plant has become a common accusation in the music and film sectors. It was first coined in the early 2010s to describe a new artist who pops up from nowhere with little legitimacy to back up their journey.

Today, many artists are accused of being industry plants. However, it is vital to note that some fans can use the term wrongly to dismiss fast-rising talents. Here is a list of alleged industry plants.

Industry plant rappers

Industry plant accusations have increased in the recent hip-hop world more than ever. Unlike in the past, it is common to see rappers labelled industry plants due to their huge online following and multiple deals. Here are a few examples of industry plant rappers: 

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1. 4Batz

4Batz in his signature mask
4Batz in his signature mask (R). The rapper showing off his golden teeth. Photo: @4batz4ever on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

4Batz is a Dallas rap newcomer who went viral for his track Act II: Date @ 8. The track, which he released in December 2023, has over 85 million Spotify streams so far. The singer has only four songs, but his social media following grows daily. Many fans have questioned the forces behind 4Batz's sudden rise to stardom.

2. Cardi B

Cardi B attends the 2023 Video Music Awards at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey
Cardi B attends the 2023 Video Music Awards at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Photo: Mike Coppola
Source: Getty Images

Cardi B started as a famous exotic dancer in New York and ran on VH1's Love and Hip Hop. She later switched to rapping, especially after creating a massive social media following.

Fast-forward to 2017, and Cardi B became number one on the Billboard Hot 100 with her track Bodak Yellow. Some hip-hop fans claimed that Atlantic Records paid for her success, something that Cardi B responded to harshly on her social media platforms. 

3. Raury

Recording artist Raury performs onstage during MTV News Election Night
Recording artist Raury performs onstage during MTV News Election Night: "The People's Playhouse" at MTV Studios in New York City. Photo: Brad Barket
Source: Getty Images

Raury is another rapper who embraced being called an industry plant. The Georgia-bred rapper made a surprise splash with his track God's Whisper, which he released in 2014. His sudden fame faced much criticism from a section of keyboard warriors.

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Instead of denying it, Raury boldly sported an "Industry Plant" T-shirt on the cover of XXL magazine as a member of the 2015 Freshman Class.

3. Ice Spice

Ice Spice at the 2024 Vanity Fair Oscar Party
Ice Spice at the 2024 Vanity Fair Oscar Party held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, California. Photo: Christopher Polk
Source: Getty Images

The Bronx rapper Ice Spice took the internet by storm with her TikTok dance moves and hit song Munch (Feelin' U). To some, her viral success came from backdoor playlist placements and her high-profile features. Others believe her fame stemmed from genuine fan support and her unique rapping style.

4. Chance the Rapper 

Chance the Rapper performs onstage during Ebony FWD presented by Coca-Cola Zero Sugar
Chance the Rapper performs onstage during Ebony FWD presented by Coca-Cola Zero Sugar at The Temple House in Miami Beach, Florida. Photo: Jamie McCarthy
Source: Getty Images

Chance the Rapper can be used as a good example of what is an industry plant. The rapper makes great music. However, a close rap culture follower can quickly notice that Chance's mainstream presence and fan base increased significantly after releasing his third mix tape or album, Coloring Book. It is believed Chance the Rapper rose to fame after working with a major label and Kanye West. 

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Industry plant actors and actresses

Industry plants are not seen in the musical world alone. The film industry also has numerous actors and actresses whose success is allegedly influenced by industry connections. These include: 

1. Paris Hilton

Paris Hilton attends the Fashion Trust US Awards in Beverly Hills, California
Paris Hilton attends the Fashion Trust US Awards in Beverly Hills, California. Photo: Frazer Harrison
Source: Getty Images

Paris Hilton is known for appearing on reality TV shows and being an influencer and socialite. However, she has faced speculations that her family and media industry connections influenced her rise to fame.

2. Taylor Lautner

Taylor Lautner attends the 13th Annual NFL Honors at Resorts World Theatre in Las Vegas, Nevada
Taylor Lautner attends the 13th Annual NFL Honors at Resorts World Theatre in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Source: Getty Images

Taylor Daniel Lautner is an American actor who became famous after playing Jacob Black in the Twilight film series. The actor became famous when he was young, and many speculate that industry forces orchestrated his rise to stardom.

At some point, Taylor Lautner admitted that he was not ready for the sudden fame, and he also questioned himself when Twilight's fame started dying down. 

3. Bella Thorne

Bella Thorne during New York Fashion Week in New York City
Bella Thorne during New York Fashion Week in New York City. Photo: Edward Berthelot
Source: Getty Images

Bella Thorne became popular after playing CeCe Jones on the Disney Channel series Shake It Up. She received numerous awards and nominations for her acting skills, which led to her earning more spots in subsequent films like Blended and The Babysitter series.

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Her success has been a subject of industry plant concerns, with many alleging that she had backing from Disney and other industry forces.

What does it mean when someone calls you an industry plant?

Although it comes with negative connotations, being called an industry plant means you have financial or marketing backing from the industry. The term can question your talent authenticity, even if you have worked so hard in the past to gain your current stardom.

Industry plants have been a matter of speculation without any real conclusion. It also reminds you that growing and succeeding in the entertainment industry requires effort and commitment. Therefore, instead of calling someone an industry plant, it is wise to stick to what you like unless you have robust evidence. 

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Mercy Mbuthia avatar

Mercy Mbuthia (Lifestyle writer) Mercy Mbuthia is a content writer with five years of experience writing on various topics, including biographies, entertainment, and lifestyle. She joined the Legit team in 2019. Mercy earned a Master of Science (Food, Nutrition & Dietetics) from Dedan Kimathi University in 2022. Her articles have appeared on several media sites such as The Health Channel, The Nation, Tekrati, ValiantCEO and Celebrity Leader. In 2023, Mercy finished the AFP course on Digital Investigation Techniques. Email: mercymmbuthia18@gmail.com

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