Ricardo Valdez Valentine Jr. (born June 24, 1992), known professionally as 6lack (stylized as 6LACK, pronounced "black"), is an American singer-songwriter and rapper. Born in Baltimore and raised in Atlanta, he gained recognition following the release of his 2016 single "Prblms", which marked his first entry on the Billboard Hot 100. The song preceded the release of his debut studio album, Free 6lack in November of that year through Love Renaissance and Interscope Records. It received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Album and earned platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
|Birth name||Ricardo Valdez Valentine Jr.|
|Born||June 24, 1992|
|Origin||Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.|
Two years later, he released his second studio album East Atlanta Love Letter (2018), which peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 chart. That same year, he released the single "OTW" (with Khalid and Ty Dolla Sign) and guest featured on Normani's single "Waves"—earning him a MTV Video Music Award. In June 2020, he released his debut extended play (EP) 6pc Hot, which included the single "Know My Rights" (featuring Lil Baby). Later that year, he guest performed alongside Elton John on Gorillaz's single "The Pink Phantom". In 2021, he released his highest charting single "Calling My Phone" (with Lil Tjay), which peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked on the Canadian Hot 100. His third album, Since I Have a Lover (2023) was met with moderate critical and commercial reception.
He is also a member of the Atlanta-Baltimore music collective Spillage Village, founded by EarthGang and JID. 6lack has received three Grammy Award nominations in addition to an MTV Video Music Award.
Early life edit
Ricardo Valdez Valentine Jr. was born on June 24, 1992, in Baltimore, Maryland, and moved to Atlanta, Georgia, with his parents in 1997. He attended Stone Mountain High School and Newton High School. He is the oldest of three siblings. Valentine's first recording experience was when he was 4 years of age, at his father's studio. He began rapping in middle school as a battle rapper and was involved in many battles in his youth including against rapper Young Thug.
2011–2017: Beginnings and Free 6lack edit
6lack signed a record deal with Flo Rida's International Music Group and Strong Arm Records in July 2011. He left Valdosta State University once he signed, and spent the next few years learning about the industry. 6lack spent five years with the label, putting music out on his SoundCloud account. 6lack had little financial security and spent most of his time sleeping in the studio or outside on the street after moving to Miami, Florida to work on music with the record label. 6lack eventually left his label due to issues over artistic and creative license and management. In 2015, 6lack announced that he had joined the musical collective Spillage Village after living with the members of EarthGang, and appeared on four tracks of Spillage Village EP called Bears Like This Too in 2015.
Once he left the label, he signed with Love Renaissance and Interscope Records. In November 2016, Rolling Stone included 6lack in their list of "10 New Artists You Need to Know". He then went on to release his debut studio album, Free 6lack, which peaked at number 34 on the Billboard 200 chart. The album's single "Prblms" peaked at number 73 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and became his first platinum record. In April 2017, he joined Canadian singer The Weeknd as opening act for his Legend of the Fall tour in North America.
2018–present: East Atlanta Love Letter, 6pc Hot, and Since I have a lover edit
In April 2018, he released the single "OTW" with Khalid and Ty Dolla Sign, which has reached at number 57 on the Billboard Hot 100. "OTW" became 6lack's highest peaking song on the Hot 100. The first single for his sophomore album, "Switch", was released on June 22, 2018, with a music video released on July 16. "Nonchalant" was released as the album's second single on August 17, with its accompanying music video. On September 14, 2018, 6lack released his second studio album, East Atlanta Love Letter, featuring guest appearances from Future, J. Cole, Offset, and Khalid. The album's release was preceded by the singles "Switch" and "Nonchalant." In October 2018, 6lack started a tour for the promotion of the album, with opening acts THEY., Tierra Whack, Boogie, Deante' Hitchcock, Summer Walker, and Ari Lennox. 6lack later featured on several other songs, such as "Waves" by Normani. and "Crowded Room" by Selena Gomez, in 2019 and early 2020, respectively. In May 2020, 6lack released the track "ATL Freestyle". A few weeks later, on June 24, 2020, 6lack celebrated his birthday with the release of the single "Float". He also announced his EP 6pc Hot, which was released on June 26 and included the Lil Baby-assisted single, "Know My Rights". He also launched his own hot sauce brand 600 Degrees Original. 6lack appeared on two tracks from Spillage Village's Spilligion album, released in September 2020. During 2020, he collaborated with British virtual band Gorillaz and singer-songwriter Elton John on the track "The Pink Phantom", for the band's seventh studio album, Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez.
In 2021, he released "Calling My Phone" with Bronx rapper Lil Tjay. In 2022, he was featured on Canadian singer-songwriter Jessie Reyez's album Yessie, in her song "Forever", and its accompanying music video.
On March 24 2023, 6lack released his album Since I have a Lover, this was 19 tracks and had features from QUIN, Wale, and Don Toliver. In an interview with complex 6lack stated that he came out with the album name to address questions such as “Where have you been? What have you been doing? What’s the inspiration?” And to those questions he would respond "Since I have a lover".
6lack's music focuses or is based on personal and business relationships frequently, especially the topic of heartbreak. 6lack has said that his songwriting is influenced mainly by his personal experiences and failed relationships. Billboard magazine has described 6lack's music as "moody hip hop" that "spotlights vulnerability and honesty in a way the emoji generation can understand." 6lack has cited Sade, T-Pain, The-Dream, and Usher as his influences.
Personal life edit
- Free 6lack Tour (2017)
- From East Atlanta with Love Tour (2018)
- Since I Have A Lover Tour (2023)
Awards and nominations edit
|2017||Soul Train Music Awards||Best New Artist||Himself||Nominated|
|2018||Grammy Awards||Best Urban Contemporary Album||Free 6lack||Nominated|
|Best Rap/Sung Performance||"Prblms"||Nominated|
|iHeartRadio Music Awards||Best New R&B Artist||Himself||Nominated|
|Soul Train Music Awards||Best Collaboration||"OTW" (with Khalid and Ty Dolla Sign)||Nominated|
|2019||Grammy Awards||Best Rap/Sung Performance||"Pretty Little Fears" (with J. Cole)||Nominated|
|MTV Video Music Award||Best R&B Video||"Waves" (with Normani)||Won|
|2024||Grammy Awards||Best Progressive R&B Album||Since I Have a Lover||Pending|
- "BMI | Repertoire Search". Repertoire.bmi.com. Archived from the original on July 28, 2020. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
- "6LACK Songs, Albums, Reviews, Bio & More". AllMusic. Retrieved June 4, 2022.
- "10 New Artists You Need to Know: November 2016". Rolling Stone. November 17, 2016. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
- "Daily Discovery: 6LACK". Pigeons and Planes. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
- "Meet 6LACK". Fader. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
- "LoveRenaissance's New R&B Star In The Making". Djbooth. DJ Booth. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
- "6LACK - Biography". Billboard. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
- "6lack Talks Industry Growing Pains, Love Songs & Moody Debut Album 'Free 6lack'". Billboard. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
- "All Access+ 6lack". HNHH. January 25, 2017.
- "Everything You Need To Know About 6LACK". October 28, 2019.
- Skipper, Clay (March 30, 2017). "How 6lack Went From Sleeping in a Recording Studio to Touring with The Weeknd". GQ. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
- "6lack Talks Industry Growing Pains, Love Songs & Moody Debut Album 'Free 6lack'". Billboard. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
- Kramer, Kyle (July 6, 2015). "This New Spillage Village EP Is About to Trigger a Worldwide Weed Shortage". Noisey Vice.
- "Meet Rising Atlanta Artist: 6LACK". Genius. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
- "6LACK Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
- "6lack Sells 1 Million Records For "Prblms"". Urbanlinx Media. July 8, 2017. Retrieved July 17, 2017.
- "6LACK Chart History: Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
- Hussein, Wandera. "6LACK crashes and burns in the "Switch" music video". The FADER. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- Montes, Patrick (August 16, 2018). "6LACK Drops New 'East Atlanta Love Letter' Single "Nonchalant"". HYPEBEAST. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- Ch, Devin (August 17, 2018). "6LACK's "Nonchalant" Video Is A Peaceful Refrain". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- "6lack 'East Atlanta Love Letter' Cover Art and Release Date". XXL. August 29, 2018. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
- "6LACK Announces World Tour Featuring Tierra Whack, Boogie & More". HotNewHipHop. August 14, 2018. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
- "6LACK Presents From East Atlanta with Love Tour With Guest Deante Hitchcock". Eventbrite.
- NormaniVEVO (February 12, 2019), Normani - Waves (feat. 6LACK) (Official Music Video), retrieved March 7, 2019
- SelenaGomezVEVO (January 10, 2020), Selena Gomez - Crowded Room (Official Lyrics) ft. 6LACK, retrieved January 10, 2020
- Marie, Erika (June 24, 2020). "6LACK Celebrates Birthday With "Float" Single & His Own Hot Sauce Brand". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
- "EarthGang Reveals Spillage Village's "Spilligion" Tracklist". HotNewHipHop. September 18, 2020. Retrieved September 26, 2020.
- Bloom, Madison (February 12, 2021). "Lil Tjay and 6LACK Share New Song "Calling My Phone"". Pitchfork. Retrieved February 15, 2021.
- Pavlakos, Louis. "Jessie Reyez Drops Video For "Forever" Featuring 6lack". Complex. Retrieved August 24, 2023.
- "Atlanta's 6LACK Wants to Talk About Real Life". Noisey. January 24, 2017. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
- "6lack Illustrated: The Brooding Newcomer Finally Lives in Color". Highsnobiety. September 18, 2017. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
- "How 6LACK Went From Atlanta Battle Rapper To Budding Superstar". Complex. January 24, 2017. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- "6LACK Announces Birth Of His Daughter". HNHH. February 22, 2017. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
- "Who is 6lack? Here are 5 Facts You Must Know About The Rapper". AnswersAfrica.com. January 28, 2019. Retrieved January 11, 2022.
- "Solange, Bruno Mars Lead 2017 Soul Train Awards Nominations". Billboard. October 17, 2017. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
- "60th GRAMMY Awards: Full Nominees List". The Recording Academy. November 28, 2017. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
- "Rihanna, Ed Sheeran & Bruno Mars Lead iHeartRadio Music Awards 2018 Nominees". Billboard. January 10, 2018. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
- "2018 Soul Train Awards Exclusive: H.E.R., Bruno Mars & Cardi B Top Nominees". Billboard. October 25, 2018. Retrieved November 10, 2018.
- "Grammy Nominations 2019: See The Full List Here". Pitchfork. December 7, 2018. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
- "MTV VMAs 2019: See The Full List of Winners Here". Pitchfork. August 26, 2019. Retrieved August 27, 2019.
- "2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Nominees List | GRAMMY.com". www.grammy.com. Retrieved November 11, 2023.