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“Stayed Down” by Vanity Wyze (feat. Sonny King)

Although their presence is minor to say the least, the guitar parts in the new single “Stayed Down” from Vanity Wyze and Sonny King are as enchanting as they are pivotal to the groundwork in this composition. There’s something all too hypnotic about the way these two rappers can connect with the melodicism of the instrumentation here, and never does it sound like the product of a synthesized scheme behind the board. If anything, this is some of the more naturally melodic hip-hop I’ve listened to in a while, and certainly something I think hardcore fans of the genre need to hear.

There’s an imbalance to this mix that is at first a bit jarring but quickly becomes a staple of the structure in “Stayed Down” for one main reason; we need the bass to be as fat as it is in the latter half of the song. King and Wyze are working off of the groove a lot by the time we get to the midway point in the track, and as the bassline swells, so does their charisma against the beat. It’s a little mathy, but this pair can wear such a look quite well.

I like that Vanity Wyze isn’t afraid to shred away at the bottom end of the EQ in the name of creating some clarity for the vocal, and truth be told I just don’t think a lot of his competition would have had the audacity to do as much when making a song similar to what we’re getting in “Stayed Down.” Sonny King is the right collaborator for this project, but moreover, this is a terrific example of what it means to utilize a backdrop for what it was originally meant for, as opposed to converting it into a surreal avenue of expression.

The music video for “Stayed Down” is pretty minimalist, but it’s not featuring an artsy lack of detail that would leave a lot of viewers wondering what this duo was thinking when they conceptualized the visuals. Vanity Wyze and Sonny King have a great on-screen dynamic that extends itself into their studio work together seamlessly, and while this might be the former’s track that the latter is featured on, it feels like a joint project that both parties are putting a lot of energy into, especially when it comes to getting as much power out of this groove as humanly possible.

Forget scenes and their politics; Vanity Wyze and Sonny King are repping good vibes with the release of “Stayed Down” this July, and those with a discerning taste in hip-hop need to make a point of hearing what they’ve got to say here. There’s a lot of love for the trap crossovers that keep finding their way onto the stage at festivals like Rolling Loud in 2022, but come this time next year, I think the melodic side of hip-hop is going to favor a slower groove much like the one we’re getting out of this stunning new collaboration between two talents.

Mindy McCall



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