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"East Atlanta Love Letter" 6lack

by Panagiotis Argitis | managing editor
Tue, Oct 2nd 2018 01:00 pm

Atlanta’s newly risen singer and songwriter, 6lack (Ricardo Valdez Valentine), brings his underrated vocal ability to his newly released album, “East Atlanta Love Letter.” In his most recent work, 6lack provides the artistry he is known for in a self-based groove that cycles around the inner workings of his career, family and the obstacles that stand in the way of maintaining them.  

The singer/rapper is unique in his style of music, bringing r&b and rap together for a truly different listening experience. However, he isn’t the only one making a living off heartfelt rhythms and minimalist beats. Similar to Bryson Tiller, 6lack allows for a two-faced character to emerge from his music; a resilient character held up by his emotions. 

In “East Atlanta Love Letter,” the rapper starts off with “Unfair” where he tells a story of the insecurities that come from women chasing him during his tours. Those insecurities originate from his inability to control himself when the opportunity for a quick hookup pops up. While he tries to connect with the listener through his experiences, he fails to make an impact as he endlessly continues to ramble on about his personal life, rather than touching on human relations. 

The same brooding carries on through the rest of the tracks, like “Let Her Go” where the rapper depicts “groupies” as the source of the relationship problems with his lover. In similar fashion, “Disconnect” extends the theme. On this track, 6lack discusses the process of a break-up by expressing his thoughts about the ending stages of love with a slow tempo and low vocals. 

Apart from the high-energy tracks of “Balenciaga Challenge” featuring “Offset” and “Switch,” which both allow for 6lack to shine through catchy hooks and bass-surrounded beats, the rest of the album lacked personality. 

Despite impressing the masses of Atlanta and the overall hip-hop community following his debut work, “Free 6lack,” the rapper has failed to top the beginning of his career. “East Atlanta Love Letter” is a good body of work but it’s definitely not the best. The album is missing substance and a meaning, which is something that 6lack needs to find in his music and himself. 

The artist has the following and the experience he needs to succeed, now all he’s missing is to find what position he wants to play in the game; the game of rap that is. While he doesn’t find himself in a large pool of competition as the genre his music is made around is relatively new, he needs to separate himself from the rest of the industry. 

“East Atlanta Love Letter” was repetitive, blank and a fall-off compared to “Free 6lack.” Once the rapper clears his head and focuses on himself, his work should emulate the flavor of music he was first known for. Until then, I would recommend flipping through the songs in “Free 6lack” for an unwinding and settling vibe.


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