Bursting into the US charts in 2007 with his top ten hit 'Shawty', Florida rap star Plies mixes R&B/pop showmanship with hardcore hip-hop credentials, dubbing his style as "reality music" due to its raw, open-book honesty and connection to inner city, street culture. Growing up in East Dunbar, Fort Myers, Algernod Washington was a talented athlete in his youth and played as a wide receiver for the Miami University American football team, before dropping out and joining his brother Ronell Lawrence's independent label Big Gates Records in the late 1990s. He initially worked behind-the-scenes, but was encouraged by his brother to stand in and rap on a track called 'Tell Dem Krackers Dat' in 2005, and was soon releasing early mix-tapes '100% Real N*gga' and 'Bottom to the Top'. Taking the moniker Plies from a local slang term for a successful hustler, he became a household name two years later when 'Shawty', featuring T-Pain, showcased his trademark slurred, Southern drawl and graphic braggadocio and became a major hit, while his debut album 'The Real Testament' included follow-up single 'Hypnotized' with Akon, which reached number two in the US charts. The swaggering, macho R&B anthem 'Bust It Baby (Part Two)' featuring Ne-Yo gave him another top ten hit in 2008, with his second album 'Definition of Real' also making it to number two as Plies honed his combination of street-tough gangsta swagger and romantic ladies man. With one foot in the pop world and one in Florida's underground hip-hop scene, he continued to regularly release mix-tapes and feature on tracks by various artists including Usher, Gucci Mane and Ludacris and he again made the US top five with 2010 album 'Goon Affiliated'. Despite several controversies and legal troubles, his popularity grew, in part because of his highly entertaining Instagram account which gained over 3.5 million followers. After being relatively low-key for nearly six years, he returned with fifth album 'Purple Heart' in 2018.