It's pronounced "black." Ricardo Valdez Valentine aka 6LACK started out as a rapper, and he's battled Young Thug in his youth. East Atlanta Love Letter is 6LACK's second studio album, and he is 100% correct when he sings: "I'm a R&B n***a with a hip-hop core" (on "Scripture"). The writing on the 14-tracker is heavily influenced by personal experiences, and his bone-chillingly smooth vocals are delivered over stripped down, atmospheric trap beats. The outpouring emotions are accompanied by a gritty energy that looms over the entire project, perhaps attesting to 6LACK's East Atlanta upbringing. On the title track, fellow ATL superstar Future chimes in as the duo croons together: "Who gon' love better? / Nobody because I say so / And my words hit like a Draco." This kind of soft-hard, "I'm gonna let you in on my thoughts & feelings, but don't ever forget that I'm from Zone 6" vibe, delivered with much finesse, is central to East Atlanta Love Letter—think somewhere between mixtapes-era The Weeknd & circa-"Red Opps" 21 Savage. "Pretty Little Fears" w/ J. Cole is a standout, one of the best collab efforts of 2018. Other highlights include "Switch," "Balenciaga Challenge," "Loaded Gun," and "Sorry." Oh, if you have the chance to catch 6LACK live, go see him! And lastly, a big s/o to his listening station pictured on the back of the album (front image is pretty great also), very possibly a TTL set-up featuring a U-Turn Audio turntable and Audioengine A2+ Powered Desktop Speakers.
- music label: Interscope Records 2018
reviewed by pocari papi 01/19