Ricardo Valdez Valentine Jr. (born June 24, 1992), known professionally as 6lack (stylized as 6LACK, pronounced "black"),[4] is an American R&B singer, rapper, and songwriter. Born in Baltimore, Maryland and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, he gained recognition following the release of his 2016 single "Prblms", which marked his first entry on the Billboard Hot 100. He signed with Love Renaissance, an imprint of Interscope Records to release his debut studio album, Free 6lack (2016), which was nominated for Best Urban Contemporary Album at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards and received platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[5]

6LACK in 2018
6LACK in 2018
Background information
Birth nameRicardo Valdez Valentine Jr.[1]
Born (1992-06-24) June 24, 1992 (age 32)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
OriginAtlanta, Georgia, U.S.
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
Discography6lack discography
Years active2011–present
Member ofSpillage Village

Two years later, he released his second studio album East Atlanta Love Letter (2018), which peaked at number three on the Billboard 200. That same year, he released the single "OTW" (with Khalid and Ty Dolla Sign) and guest featured on Normani's single "Waves"—which earned an 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". His 2021 single, "Calling My Phone" (featuring Lil Tjay) peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked atop the Canadian Hot 100; it remains his highest-charting song on the former chart.[6][7][8] His third album, Since I Have a Lover (2023) was met with moderate critical and commercial reception.

6lack joined the Atlanta-Baltimore musical collective Spillage Village—founded by EarthGang and JID—in 2014. He has received three Grammy Award nominations.

Early life


Ricardo Valdez Valentine Jr. was born on June 24, 1992, in Baltimore, Maryland, and moved to Atlanta, Georgia, with his parents in 1997.[9] He attended Stone Mountain High School and Newton High School.[10] He is the eldest of three siblings. Valentine's first recording experience was at 4 years of age, at his father's studio.[11] He began rapping in middle school as a battle rapper and was involved in many freestyle battles in his youth including against rapper Young Thug.[12]



2011–2017: Beginnings and Free 6lack

6lack in January 2017

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.[12] 6lack eventually left his label due to issues over artistic and creative license and management.[13] 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.[14]

Once he left the label, he signed with Love Renaissance and Interscope Records.[15] In November 2016, Rolling Stone included 6lack in their list of "10 New Artists You Need to Know".[4] He then went on to release his debut studio album, Free 6lack, which peaked at number 34 on the Billboard 200 chart.[16] The album's single "Prblms" peaked at number 73 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and became his first platinum record.[17] 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


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.[18] "OTW" became 6lack's highest peaking song on the Hot 100.[18] The first single for his sophomore album, "Switch", was released on June 22, 2018, with a music video released on July 16.[19] "Nonchalant" was released as the album's second single on August 17, with its accompanying music video.[20][21] 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."[22] 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.[23][24] 6lack later featured on several other songs, such as "Waves" by Normani.[25] and "Crowded Room" by Selena Gomez, in 2019 and early 2020, respectively.[26] 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.[27] 6lack appeared on two tracks from Spillage Village's Spilligion album, released in September 2020.[28] 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.[citation needed]

In 2021, he released "Calling My Phone" with Bronx rapper Lil Tjay.[29] In 2022, he was featured on Canadian singer-songwriter Jessie Reyez's album Yessie, in her song "Forever", and its accompanying music video.[30]

On March 24, 2023, 6lack released his album Since I Have a Lover. The 19-track album featured the artists QUIN, Wale, and Don Toliver. The album was nominated for best progressive R&B album at the Grammys. In an interview with Complex, 6lack stated that the title responds to questions such as "Where have you been? What have you been doing? What's the inspiration?" that people asked him.[31] On March 22, 2024, 6lack released his acoustic project No More Lonely Nights. It featured 6 songs off his album Since I Have a Lover.



6lack's music focuses or is based on personal and business relationships frequently, especially the topic of heartbreak.[32] 6lack has said that his songwriting is influenced mainly by his personal experiences and failed relationships.[33] Billboard magazine has described 6lack's music as "moody hip hop" that "spotlights vulnerability and honesty in a way the emoji generation can understand."[13] 6lack has cited Sade, T-Pain, The-Dream, and Usher as his influences.[34]






  • Free 6lack Tour (2017)
  • From East Atlanta with Love Tour (2018)
  • Since I Have a Lover Tour (2023)


Awards and nominations

Year Awards Category Nominee / work Result
2017 Soul Train Music Awards[35] Best New Artist Himself Nominated
2018 Grammy Awards[36] Best Urban Contemporary Album Free 6lack Nominated
Best Rap/Sung Performance "Prblms" Nominated
iHeartRadio Music Awards[37] Best New R&B Artist Himself Nominated
Soul Train Music Awards[38] Best Collaboration "OTW" (with Khalid and Ty Dolla Sign) Nominated
2019 Grammy Awards[39] Best Rap/Sung Performance "Pretty Little Fears" (with J. Cole) Nominated
MTV Video Music Award[40] Best R&B Video "Waves" (with Normani) Won
2024 Grammy Awards[41] Best Progressive R&B Album Since I Have a Lover Nominated


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  3. ^ "6LACK Songs, Albums, Reviews, Bio & More". AllMusic. Retrieved June 4, 2022.
  4. ^ a b "10 New Artists You Need to Know: November 2016". Rolling Stone. November 17, 2016. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
  5. ^ "Daily Discovery: 6LACK". Pigeons and Planes. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
  6. ^ "Meet 6LACK". Fader. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
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  26. ^ SelenaGomezVEVO (January 10, 2020), Selena Gomez - Crowded Room (Official Lyrics) ft. 6LACK, retrieved January 10, 2020
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  28. ^ "EarthGang Reveals Spillage Village's "Spilligion" Tracklist". HotNewHipHop. September 18, 2020. Retrieved September 26, 2020.
  29. ^ Bloom, Madison (February 12, 2021). "Lil Tjay and 6LACK Share New Song "Calling My Phone"". Pitchfork. Retrieved February 15, 2021.
  30. ^ Pavlakos, Louis. "Jessie Reyez Drops Video For "Forever" Featuring 6lack". Complex. Retrieved August 24, 2023.
  31. ^ Mckinney, Jessica. ""It Feels Good To Feel Good": 6LACK Talks New Album 'Since I Have a Lover'". Complex. Complex Network. Retrieved February 5, 2024.
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  41. ^ "2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Nominees List | GRAMMY.com". www.grammy.com. Retrieved November 11, 2023.