Published on November 9th, 2017


6LACK courtesy Wikimedia Commons

On October 10, Gucci Mane released a video of his talk with author Malcolm Gladwell. A year out of prison, the Atlanta-raised Godfather of Trap told Gladwell about life behind bars, about his personal transformation, and shared who was currently on his playlist. Occupying a top spot was another Atlanta hip-hop artist: 6lack.

This time last year, 6lack was at the tipping point of transitioning from a struggling hip-hop artist who had left college to work at a Miami record label into a viral sensation. That was when he released the video for “PRBLMS” on YouTube. It was the first single from his album “FREE 6LACK” with LVRN, an Atlanta-based indie label backed by Interscope.

It could be the highly personal, moody r&b lyrics over classic trap beats that attracted so much attention. It could be the live bear sitting next to 6LACK on bed throughout much of the video, or it could be that PRBLMS showed up as background music in one of Kylie Jenner’s Snapchats. Either way, Rolling Stone included him in a list of “10 New Artists You Need Now”  barely a month later.

The video now has close to 60 million views, and 6lack has been making the rounds on late night talk shows, appearing with The Weeknd, and touring the country. There are three late-November stops Floridians can look forward to on the FREE 6LACK tour.

So, if you’ve made it this far without googling how to pronounce Ricardo Valdez Valentine’s stage name, you can eliminate the pronunciations “six-lack” or “slack” from your list in exchange for “black.”

The number six is a reference to several things that hold great significance for the rising artist, One of which is his childhood in East Atlanta. The area is affectionately referred to as Zone 6, the Atlanta Police Department designation for a patrol sector that also produced Gucci Mane, Rich Homie Quan and Childish Gambino.

6lack manages to maintain a spiritual connection to his musical predecessors from Zone 6, but  forgoes the narratives of the hardcore, drugs-guns-and-money lifestyle for artistic introspection and intense contemplation.

6LACK performs with Sy Ari Da Kid on November 28 at Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale
~ Jessica Chesler

Clip to Evernote