“Stay” by Shawn Cook

In “Stay,” the new single from Shawn Cook, the critically acclaimed rapper bangs out a sporty fall hip-hop jam of the most erudite variety. Here, the instrumentation is as important as the cadence of our vocalist’s collective flow, and though the spotlight is always focused on his elegant lyrical lashings, the mix favors the depth of the low-end tonality as much as it does his fiery linguistic abilities. This is hip-hop for a mature, discriminating generation of music fans, and it comes to us from a part of the country that has been long associated with cutting-edge creative ideas of every kind

These beats are fantastically stylish, but they never spill into the realm of overindulgence, which is something that I immediately noticed in my initial listening sessions with “Stay.” Shawn Cook and his scene peers have no interest in weighing down their music with a lot of needless ribbons and bows; the substance of “Stay” is strong enough on its own without the addition of such pedestrian embellishments.

This master mix has a radio-ready finish if I’ve ever heard one, and it shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone who gives “Stay” a second glance this summer that the song has amassed well over one hundred thousand hits on YouTube alone this year – which is no easy feat considering the vast market that the platform covers (not to mention the steady output of this player’s direct competition). If Shawn Cook can remain in steady rotation on American hip-hop stations over the fall, then I don’t think there will be any question as to whether or not he will have got the necessary staying power that it takes to break new ground in this ever-evolving genre.

Shawn Cook hits a home run with this all-new single, which could be one of the smartest slices of hip-hop magic that I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing in 2022. It’s got the framework of a classic slow jam with a sense of adventure that is only found in creatively progressive music (of any genre). This guy just isn’t following anyone else’s path, nor is he playing by anyone else’s rules in “Stay” – Cook wants to be among those who are blazing their own trail, taking a page from the legacies of the American underground’s first generation, and if he can add more music of this quality to his growing discography, I think he is going to find himself quite successful no matter what direction he might go in next.

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