Besides a few monotone sounding features and out of place singles, 6LACK, the East Atlanta rapper, has been off the grid. The five-year gap between his last two studio albums created plenty of anticipation for 6LACK’s newest release, “Since I Have A Lover.”
Fans of the artist, who’s famous for his unwillingness to stick to one style, know his songwriting and tone have slowly evolved through the years. Once a cocky, toxic rapper, 6LACK used his Atlanta roots to produce trap music with a slight touch of soul. Influenced by the likes of Young Thug and Future, 6LACK was trying to pull off a style that simply wasn’t him.
However, the artist finally moved on — maybe even matured. After once comparing his private parts to a loaded gun, 6LACK expresses how he’s settling down with one woman and leaving those days of being a player in his past.
On his 2018 album “East Atlanta Love Letter,” 6LACK showed the signs he was capable of making rap songs about love that don’t leave you rolling your eyes. None of those wishy-washy lyrics that artists like Rod Wave and Toosi recycle in every song.
6LACK’s maturity showed on his 2018 songs when he ditched those clingy boyfriend lyrics and expressed real love on tracks like “Pretty Little Fears and Stan.” Now, five years later, 6LACK pulled off a romantic rap album to near perfection with “Since I Have A Lover.”
His tone remains nonchalant, and the lack of features puts the spotlight solely on 6LACK. From the intro to the interludes, everything is crafted carefully to work in 6LACK’s favor.
The 58-minute project begins with a somber interlude of someone on the phone pleading with 6LACK to drop some more music.
“I need you to drop some more music, cause I’m dyin’ over here,” the voice says, “6pc EP was hot, East Atlanta Love Letter was hot, your fans are starving so feed us.”
The phone hangs up and a trademark 6LACK beat, made up of soft drums and the faint strum of a guitar, fades in. Like nicotine hitting a smoker, his mellow tone and soulful voice hit my deprived ears for the first time in what feels like forever. The five year wait is over, 6LACK is back.
The first lines of the first song, “Inwood Hill Park,” reveal to us 6LACK is no longer a toxic city boy. He sings that he doesn’t belong to the streets anymore, he can see now that the rain has finally cleared and he’s changed since he’s met “you.”
You is the mysterious lover this whole album revolves around. Someone special enough to switch up 6LACK’s whole flow and vibe. Someone 6LACK claims is going to be worth fighting for and going through trials with.
The lyrics are deep, and show that a five year absence weighed heavy on the Atlanta rapper’s soul. This isn’t the same 6LACK from the past and “Spirited Away,” which comes a few tracks later, is proof.
From vices, flaws and demons, 6LACK claims he’s faced them all. No more games and shenanigans that the ex-player was so used to rapping about.
The lyrical quality of this album is something one could dive into, but there’s a lot to rave about in terms of production. Fwdslxsh, known for his work with 6LACK and PARTYNEXTDOOR, works in perfect sync with 6LACK. He understands the mood 6LACK is working to create, and the beats convey the love and transformation 6LACK is going through.
Vocals from Mustafa and Pink Sweats maintain the calm, borderline sad, theme of this album, but never overshadow 6LACK. And after five years, I’m perfectly fine with no artist taking the focus off of 6LACK.
The middle of the album feels a bit like deja vu, and songs like “Tit For Tat” and “wunna dem” sound like tracks that 6LACK left off of albums from the past. They are forgettable songs that fail to match the qualities of the prior songs that have that new style.
Thankfully, “Talkback” reels things back in and sampling Nas’ “The Message” is the cherry on top. The beat is sped up, and 6LACK sounds as comfortable as he’s ever been on a beat.
The lyrics on “Talkback” mirror those of Inwood Hill Park, and further profess 6LACK’s love for this unspecified woman this whole project is about.
“Since I Have A Lover” is a love letter and an explanation. It’s the inspiring evolution of an artist that’s grown in front of our eyes. 6LACK’s in love, and he’s sharing these feelings with his companion while explaining to his audience why and how he’s changed.
6LACK approaches this album in a new way, and I’m all for the new nonchalant, and in-love style the Atlanta artist carries himself with.