Pronounced “black”, alternative R&B artist 6LACK has long considered six an important number that is central to his identity. Raised in Atlanta’s Zone 6 (hence 6LACK), the musician attributes his hometown as a major influence on his stage name as well as the spiritual significance of the number six.
Born in 1992 in Baltimore, Maryland as Ricardo Valdez Valentine, 6LACK started recording at the age of four; the singer, songwriter, and rapper’s first recording experience was at his father’s studio. His initial foray into music consisted of rap battles, including a notorious battle with a very young Young Thug. Valentine was also highly influenced by R&B and soul artists such as Sade, Usher, and T-Pain and taught himself to sing in 2009.
His debut album Free 6lack was released in November 2016 and peaked at #34 on the Billboard 200 and included his previously released single “Prblms”, which peaked at #73 on the Billboard 100. “Prblms” marked the rapper and singer’s first platinum record; it entered Billboard’s Twitter Emerging Artists chart as number five and eventually went double platinum. He was also featured in Rolling Stone as “10 New Artists You Need to Know” the same month his album debuted.
In 2018, 6LACK was nominated for two Grammy Awards in the Best Urban Contemporary Album category and the Best Rap/Song Performance category.