Sola Obasa / 16th March 2019

6LACK’s Inspiring Story

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6LACK’s backstory is inspirational: from living in the studio to Grammy award nominee in 2 years. 6LACK talks about his journey through music and credits his record company LVRN for turning his life around.  

6lack and LVRN logo

6LACK is a self-determined artist with a ‘can do’ attitude – someone who truly believes they can and will #makeithappen.

He’s living proof that the right intervention at the right time can turn your life around.

About 6LACK (or is it “Six-Lack”)

6LACK – pronounced BLACK – was born in Baltimore, Maryland and known as Ricardo Valdez Valentine. However, he grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. Being raised in Zone 6 East Atlanta, where the name 6LACK was born, is central to his identity. He’s proud of his hometown and it’s a major influence on his artistry (and name!).  He also identifies a spiritual significance to the number 6.

Growing Up

Ever since he was a young child, music has always been an integral part of his life.  He started rapping at four years old. Growing up, he moved around schools a lot. Although his environment and surroundings often changed, music was always at the centre of his life.

Music helped him integrate into new schools: Lunchtimes meant rap battles and spitting rhymes. Imagine the flow and creativity of kids filling the lunchtime atmosphere as they demonstrate their lyrical talent… 6LACK was always that kid.

Worst Luck

2011 was a turnaround year for 6LACK. He attended Valdosta State Univesity but dropped out after receiving an opportunity that would transform his life (or so he had hoped). This kickstarted his music career.

He signed a record deal in 2011 but things quickly turned left. Trapped in a bad deal, gone wrong, his trust in people and the music industry began to break. And understandably, he lost faith in everything around him. One minute he was working towards his dream, the next he was left with nothing.

6LACK’s Artistry and LVRN

Portrait of the artist 6LACK

In his music, 6LACK opens up about the hardships he’s faced. He strived and continued to persevere through his struggles. A serious car accident took place one night in Florida leaving 6LACK unscathed. And it proved to be a defining moment: It inspired him to work 10x harder. And work ethic and determination didn’t go unnoticed.

LVRN (creative collective and management) sought out 6LACK and he joined them, signing a record deal with Interscope. In November 2016, his debut album ‘Free 6LACK’ was released which earned a spot at #34 on the Billboard 200.

Freeb6lack album cover

His hit single ‘Prblms’ was 2x platinum awarded. The alternative R&B artist who started from the ground up, known for his notorious rap battle against Young Thug, slowly became a well-recognised artist in the music game.

In 2017, 6LACK became a father and talks a lot about this in his interviews. He strives to be a model example to his daughter and an indication of the kind of person she should be with later in life. His family always remains a priority for him and he dedicates a lot of his focus on family time

His sophomore album ‘East Atlanta Love Letter’ released on 14 September which debuted at #1 on Billboard R&B album charts. 6LACK is known as a world-renowned alternative R&B artist and credits his current label LVRN for supporting him in making the music he loves.

East Atlanta Love Letter Album Cover

6LACK In London

6LACK’s teamed up with Apprentice Nation to help young people find their right career path.  He’s giving a celebratory gig for people who have explored apprenticeships as a potential route to a successful career.  All you have to do is check out the website, follow the link to Eventbrite and register for a place on an Action Day. You’ll then be notified as to whether you’ve secured a place. Places are limited.

Why are we celebrating?  

Because we’re switching things up: if people are willing to look into something new. And we think that’s more than enough of a reason to celebrate. After all, if your career is meant to be fun and rewarding, so should the way you discover it.

This is an exclusive Apprentice Nation gig. Please check out the website to find out how you can get involved. We hope to see you there.

Our mantra: make it happen

Want to read more?

6LACK Rapping to Success

Gigs with Purpose

Apprentice Nation: I’ll Be What I Want


  1. Jessica Mcdiarmaid says:

    Hay it’s really cool

    1. Matt Mason says:

      Thanks Jessica. If you know anyone who’s making decisions about their early career path – please do encourage them to take a look at what we’re up to.

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