Love letters have always been used to give their recipient a confirmation or affirmation of love after the sender has been absent or faraway. They are sometimes used to save fading relationships. Salvaging what they can through their words before it’s gone forever. Finding what they had lost. 6LACK (pronounced Black) is trying his best to do all this and more with his East Atlanta Love Letter.
While the letter may be addressed to the city itself, his aim is to reach those people on that side of the city. While 6LACK has moved out and past the city he grew up in, his heart is still there. You can outgrow a place but piece of it will always remain inside. Here, those pieces come in the form of people. They are his past loves, friends, and child that still reside in the city. This album is as much as it is for them as it is for him. He is trying to sing out these thoughts and the mic is the vent he needed to release all his struggles he’s had with these people.
In particular, women are the main focus of his frustrations – why they can’t trust him, why he can’t trust them, how their relationship is straining, and how it’s affecting him inside and outside. But there is more to it than that. You could say that this album is just an open letter he’s writing for himself that just so happens to address all the previously mentioned parties. You can hear it because when he switches from his heart breaking singing to his paranoid, frustrated rapping, he’s shooting from the mouth.
When it comes to rapping, 6LACK has one thing that seems to be fueling him: doubt. The best example of this is on “Scripture”. He’s tired of not being recognized for the work he’s put in and of the fakes that hide behind the smiles. He doesn’t want to be remembered as this simple artist that just has few hits. He wants everyone to know he is the full package, even taking aim at his comparisons on “Nonchalant”. While these songs may not fit the love letter part of the album, he does make it clear that he can write more than just love songs.
The best moment on the album might be its first three songs. “Unfair”, “Loaded Gun”, and the title track with the one and only Future, seems like one long song but that isn’t a bad thing. They transition into each other so well topically and sonically that you aren’t fully aware the song has changed. It just seems to be a slight beat switch. And while this might be into the sonic of “trap soul”, 6LACK makes it his own and differentiates from his contemporaries by adding new elements and instruments to the mix. The use of strings and piano sprinkled throughout the album is audible delight. It gives the airy vibe of the album a new layer. Even when he has guests on the album, they don’t take over. Instead, they come into his world and fit right in.
After the listen is all said and done, I can say 6LACK avoided the sophomore slump that have plagued others in his road. He’s crafting his own lane by learning from those before him. In fact, he sounds even more polished and ready than those before him. A botched deal from years past and a clear vision for what he wants to provide to the game is setting him apart. He gave me more than I wanted from him and I’m sure he’ll comeback to do the same. As long as he continues to drive forward and pay attention to the warning signs that are ahead of him, he’ll finish his own race to success.