If you’re like me, you’ve been feeling like hip-hop is getting a little absorbed in gloom and doom lately – and for all the wrong reasons. Don’t misunderstand me; there’s as much of a place for emo rap as there is anything on the leaner and meaner end of the genre’s artistic profile, but when players like Vanity Wyze and Sonny King come together in a single as weighty as “Stayed Down” is, it’s hard to pay attention to the scrubs making their way through the Soundcloud hierarchy. This is old school and hard-charging, which is what a lot of puritan hip-hop lovers have been missing lately.
From the jump, it’s obvious that Wyze and King aren’t trying to implement elements that would otherwise push this material into the mainstream condensed pile that has become the better part of the hip-hop underground for the past year; they’re leaving the club componentry on the sidelines in favor of putting all of their emphasis on the harmonies in this track. It’s more of a traditional pop move for sure, but there’s nothing wrong with employing as much when you’ve got a hook as charismatic as this one in “Stayed Down.”
The verses don’t just have a feel-good notion behind them in this single, but instead an inspired tone that makes everything sound like a boon for optimism, which isn’t something I have been able to say about a rap track in a long time now. Vanity Wyze and Sonny King just seem to know how to play off of each other’s attitudes, and that willingness to stay away from indulgent, dark themes in “Stayed Down” could go a long way toward setting their sound apart from what everyone else in the Carolina underground has been recording over the past couple of months.
I just discovered the music of Vanity Wyze for myself not too long ago, but it’s clear that the interest he and Sonny King are getting in “Stayed Down” has little to do with dumb luck and everything to do with the talent both of these players are bringing with them into the recording studio. Finding your place in a scene as bursting with talent as the hip-hop underground is can be as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack, but with the determination that both of these artists are offering up in this performance, I like what their odds are against the competition.