With solid production, precise storytelling and convincing delivery, 6lack provides a contender for album of the year in ''East Atlanta Love Letter.''
The online streaming platform, SoundCloud has become the conveyor belt for the next generation of talents, while back home, a number of artists take offence at the designation, internationally, names like Chance The Rapper have embraced the opportunity the platform presents to mainstream success.
Another of those names is 6lack, pronounced Black. The relatively unknown R&B/rap artist made his industry bow with the release of ''Free 6lack'' in November 2016 and the outcome was one that took the world by storm.
So when he announced earlier in the year that a follow up project was in the works, many questioned if he will be able to break the sophomore curse and hit the heights where he landed with his debut offering.
'Unfair' kickstarts the journey into this aesthetic world, this is the early morning song that eases you out of bed, sonically enticing and vocally warming, seamlessly transiting into the next track, 'Loaded Gun', which settles in so smoothly that you may not have even noticed the track change.
6lack is sounding so matured, so in control, as he talks about love being the reason why he writes these songs, mentions his daughter and even affirms how he is now taking care of his health. Two tracks in and he already served back to back smooth records.
''Don't shit happen by chance over here, I pray to God and then I conquer my fears''
The first guest artist comes in the person of Trap lord, Future on the album titled track, 'East Atlanta Love Letter', a letter that works in two ways for the duo, who are natives of East Atlanta as they pay an ode to their city and also capture a loving tale.
This collaboration actually works wonders, their voices sync perfectly, while this is the most lucid I have heard Future deliver his verse.
6lack is caught in having to make a choice on 'Let Her Go', while he is at his most vulnerable on 'Sorry' as he sets about 'writing' his wrongs.
He admits to having made a lot of mistakes in life and the lessons he has learnt.
J.Cole joins him on 'Pretty Little Fears' and the result is a major cutting edge moment on the project as the duo actually sound good together. Cole's rap is flushy laid, while 6lack complements with a bit of rapping and singing to score a really give-multiple-listens record.
Most of the album continues in its cohesive blend of emotional and mid-tempo anthems. 'Balenciaga Challenge' with Offset opens with the vocals of an angry woman, who just won't take certain things no more. DJ Akademik gets called out by 6lack, while Offset's verse is a testament to the influence of Migos on the growth of the trap scene.
On 'Scripture', he is rapping, effortless rapping actually, detailing a story almost everyone can relate with when death stares you in the face, talking about moments when he had a gun to his face,
''I was thinking 'bout my kid, yeah, Sixteen, didn't even have a kid, yeah, Them bullets really have you thinking about your unborn, Imagine if my whole life was untorn.''
His flow shines through so eloquently on this song, as he scores one of the realest records on the album.
'Seasons' with Khalid tells a tale of intimacy, while the closing song is the fan themed 'Stan.'
East Atlanta Love Letter is hip-hop, delivered in R&B form with a sprinkle of trap. It is music unstrained, message unfiltered and an ultimately rewarding experience to behold.
It is an album that shines brightly even in his comfort zone, 6lack keeps it safe but never did it lean towards being commonplace. It is a thoroughly modern-day album that brilliantly infuses Trap R&B and rap to provide a perfect mix.
The production is also well laid to be in the background on most of the songs, so as not to blur his limited vocal strength.
Touching on messages like love, vulnerability, emotions, relationships and state of mind, this is one album worth listening to again and again.
With the relatability of the lyrics, the seamless transition from song to song, East Atlanta Love Letter delivers from start to finish one of the finest sonical contributions to the catalog of albums that have been released this year, making a strong statement that the boy understands his path and his best way of inserting his music into the mind of his listeners.
3-Worth Checking Out