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About 6LACK

In his Up Next interview for Apple Music, 6LACK remembered the night he pulled up next to a car and heard the driver playing his music. Not talking. Not on her phone. Just nodding her head, chilling, connecting. He’d had some lean years—at one point, he’d thought about scavenging food from the trash. So to get a glimmer that all of his work had been worth it? That a quiet kid from East Atlanta who felt like music was his only mode of expression was getting heard? Even he had to admit that was pretty cool. “One of those moments where it’s just, like, ‘OK, that’s kind of dope.’” Born Ricardo Valentine, Jr., in 1992, 6LACK—pronounced “black,” but a reference to the police precinct covering East Atlanta—started battle-rapping as a kid. As he developed, his sound got softer but also more focused, splitting the difference between the muscle of trap and the minimal side of modern R&B. Like Drake or The Weeknd, he can be cold. But his best tracks—“Unfair,” “Nonchalant,” “Outside”—mix that coldness with a sense of modesty and self-reflection that make him relatable even when he’s being a little unlikeable. Or, as he puts it on “Sorry,” “I’ma write when I’m wrong.” Yet however painful his experiences have been, turning them into art makes them worth it. “In, like, 25 years when I’m 50 and wrinkly as s**t,” he says, “I’ll know this was my favorite part.”

Atlanta, GA
June 24, 1992

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