6lack’s “East Atlanta Love Letter” shows a more emotional side of rap

Isabelle Rayburn

Ricardo Valdez Valentine, also known as the artist “6lack” (pronounced “Black”) wrote us all an East Atlanta love letter.

Throughout his musical career, the Grammy-nominated artist has broken down barriers of masculinity by describing his feelings and emotions throughout music, which is exactly what he did in his new sophomore album, “East Atlanta Love Letter.”

Ad

Ricardo Valentine, aka 6lack, performs at Grandoozy Sept. 15. 6lack played his set despite orders to be on vocal rest. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

The album is 14 songs but seven songs that embody 6lack’s message best are reviewed below. Each of these songs explains a piece of what 6lack is feeling as he transitions throughout the album.

“Unfair”

The intro to the album starts off slow, with a vibey beat. In this song, 6lack speaks to a girl about how he feels stuck and unsure of his emotions, which is unfair to her. The last verse, “you said you never wanna share, but know I’m stuck between what I love and who I love and I know it’s unfair,” explains the situation. This song leaves you wondering what 6lack is really going through and what he’s willing to share.

“Loaded Gun”

The transition from the intro songs to this one is amazing. It blends smoothly, is more upbeat and confirms that this album was put together well. The last line in the song is, “I got one baby, that’s one lady I’ma answer to, She be the reason I’m righting my wrongs and sh*t Love is the reason I’m writing these songs and sh*t.” Baby has a double meaning here, as he is talking about his girl and his daughter, meaning they are both influencing him in the right way.

“East Atlanta Love letter (feat. Future)”

This song is the same title as the album. 6lack and Future discuss their curiosity for a girl using the metaphor, “Curiosity been at an all-time high in the treetops,” explaining that no one will love this girl better than them.

“Sorry” (feat. Tierra Whack)

Tierra Whack’s speaking flows perfectly into this song from the previous one and she finishes by saying how she is simply trying to focus on herself. This song is 6lack’s apology for what he has done to his girl. The post-chorus, “sitting here, patching myself up crying over what’s left, ’cause without you, I ain’t sh*t, but no pressure guess I gotta learn my lesson,” shows he is deeply hurt about what happened. He discusses how he is “righting” his wrongs in this song.

“Pretty Little Fears (feat. J. Cole)”

Ad

This is 6lack’s first collaboration with J. Cole and it is my favorite song on the album. In this song, 6lack and J. Cole are speaking to different people. By the lyrics, I can tell that it was only a sexual relationship between 6lack and the girl. J. Cole speaks to someone that he is serious with, describing her as “honorable” and saying “you’re the flower that I gotta protect and keep alive in the winter time.” 

“Seasons (feat. Khalid)”

Khalid and 6lack team up to sing about how they need to start acting right for a girl with lyrics like, “You’re lucky the greatest thing I can do is marry you, ’cause if I could, I’d spill my blood down to give you my last breath. The old me is on his last stretch I guess a new season’s next.” The new season they refer to is supposed to represent new beginnings.

“Stan”

A “stan” is defined as an obsessive fan of a celebrity which originated from an Eminem song, but in this case, 6lack wants his girl to be his “stan.” This is the last song of the album and it is beautiful. The chorus says, “Say you’ll always be my greatest fan, sing your favorite words just like a band, only if you love me like a stan, down to walk the walk until the end, the prize, you find a lover and a friend baby, let me love you like a stan.” 

“’Stan’ was my idea of what I thought love should feel like,” 6lack said in a tweet. “Wanted to make something that somebody somewhere could get married to.”

Should you listen to it? Yes.

Overall, this album is filled with emotions and it is very genuine when it comes to the words. You can tell that 6lack is really invested in what he does and deserves some credit. 

Isabelle Rayburn can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com and on Twitter @seiss_diosaa.