6lack delivers lyrics with thoughtful intensity and a rare emotional punch. The Atlanta raised rapper meanwhile works in Los Angeles but clinks onto his hometown. It is there he learned that music is more than an expression of feelings, but a way to chronicle life – for his kids, for all of us.
Where are you currently based? I read you moved from Atlanta to Los Angeles.
I’m evenly split between Atlanta and L.A., L.A. mainly being my work-home and Atlanta being my home-home.
You grew up in Atlanta and dedicated a whole album to the city. What connects you with Atlanta?
Atlanta is the one place that’s given me an unlimited amount of experiences. I went to grade school there, had a lot of firsts as a kid, went through a lot on my own, with family and friends. First fights, first parties, first songs, first shows, first celebrations. It’s special because it’s held space for me to grow in so many different ways.
What and who influenced you in the way you write growing up?
It was basically just me realizing how much of an important role music has played in my life, and then wanting to be that same thing for someone else. I look at music as a bigger opportunity to learn, teach, relate, feel, love, and express. What I write comes from a place of just wanting to heal. When it comes to musical inspirations: They are pretty diverse. They range from André 3000, Brandy, D’Angelo, Lil’ Wayne, Kanye, T Pain, The Dream, Sade, Erykah Badu to James Fauntleroy, Prince, Michael Jackson, Future, Young Thug. That list is all over the place but those are some people that I love.
Which influence did your father have on you, who was a hiphop producer and musician?
I mean, for sure he put something in front of me that otherwise I would’ve had to search far for. He gave me the idea of writing, because as a kid you just wanna be like your parents, and that’s what he loved. I think that’s all I needed to take it from there.
What are good lyrics to you?
To me, a good lyric is anything that makes you feel anything.
An iconic track of yours is called “Pretty little fears”. What is it about to you?
PLF is just about sharing and ridding insecurities so that we can all be happier in our interactions.
… For example on social media – a frequent topic in your lyrics. Why does digital life in 2021 also make you depressed or sad, feel anxiety?
There’s just a lot on the internet to process, and everyone handles things differently. It doesn’t depress me specifically, but I am aware of its effects on others. It can be a tool for really amazing things, we all just have to be mindful of ourselves while we use it.
How did becoming a father change your way of thinking and writing?
Becoming a father pushed me into being more honest with myself about the parts of me that I want to tighten up. My kids will be able to listen and understand one day, and by then they’ll know exactly what I was thinking during different times and events in my life.
When did you consciously start to get into fashion? In how far was it related to music? Dressing a certain way to express how you feel and where you belong…
It was at a young age when I decided to wear all black, all the time. That was probably my first big decision related to fashion. Back then I still had the same name and I always felt most comfortable when my outfit was black.
In how far is fashion and clothing an expression comparable with the impact of music?
They go hand in hand, sometimes. A lot of different eras, artists, songs, can be bookmarked by what was worn, and all that does is make it more memorable.