by Rayiah Ross
At 8 p.m. on Sunday, December 2, 2018, I stood outside of the Fox Theater in Oakland. With my best friend to the left of me, we were led into the venue and stepped closer to the stage. Ricardo Valdez Valentine, better known by his stage name 6lack (pronounced black), was somewhere off to the side as the crowd screamed for him to appear.
What I loved most about was the comfort of having a group of people surround you that have been there from the beginning and all came for the same reason: to share their love for 6lack.
6lack initially gained recognition following his release of the song “Prblms” in 2016 from his debut album Free 6lack. The Atlanta, Georgia rapper recently released his second album, East Atlanta Love Letter in September 2018, which heightened to number three on the Billboard 200 chart. He has a knack for numerology and is sure to represent his city’s home of Zone 6.
In October, 6lack started a tour for the promotion of the album, with opening acts THEY., Tierra Whack, Boogie, Deante’ Hitchcock, Summer Walker, and Ari Lennox. I was lucky enough to see both Tierra Whack and Deante Hitchcock open for the “moody hip hop” artist, as described by Billboard Magazine. The high energy and the astonishing performances left all of us waggish and ready for whatever acts were next to come.
When 6lack finally stepped on stage, he had enough energy to carry the entire theater. He used every chance to let his vocals shine and you could hear the sincerity in his voice with each word. As “Balenciaga Challenge” slowly morphed into “Stan”, I came to appreciate the artist‘s versatility in his work. 6lack is so much more than his image. He is a genuine artist who can captivate his entire audience with a single note. After seeing him in person I not only have a greater appreciation of his lyrics, but also of his as a person.
6lack’s sense of responsibility and his heartfelt moments really capture the essence of his work. 6lack is home and love and compassion. 6lack is rapture and frenzy. 6lack is everything.