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You may have seen his name on YouTube, or some other social media platform, but chances are, you haven’t heard it much. The Atlanta rapper was born Ricardo Valdez Valentine, but goes by the stage name 6LACK (pronounced Black).

He is most commonly known for his single PRBLMS, which was released last summer, and gained almost 25 million views on YouTube. The unique spelling of the track (not to mention his name), along with the smooth, almost hypnotic melody, has definitely helped him stand out among current hitters.

Within the last year alone, he released his debut studio album, Free 6LACK, landed on the Billboard 200 chart, and went on tour with The Weeknd, Rae Sremmurd and Belly.

Although he’s just starting to make waves, he isn’t new to the business. The 24 year old singer, song writer and rapper, was signed by his first label back in 2011, but spent most of that time learning about the music industry, and releasing music on Soundcloud.

The music itself is tough to categorize, but it’s mainly seen on R&B playlists, across online streaming platforms. Almost every song has a unique sound to it, and a lot of his tracks share a common theme. He told Complex.com that he wanted to talk about different experiences people go through, and dig a little deeper than what most rappers are currently talking about. Most of his songs are very personal, and revolve around some form of relationship.

The second single off Free 6LACK, Ex Calling, was inspired by Future’s Perkys Calling. He told Genius.com that he “immediately loved the beat,” and knew he wanted to remake it. He went on to say that the song “was literally a collage of all my exes. I just combined them into one mega ex and just made a song about all of them.”

So how did the rapper get to making smooth, R&B bangers? The answer to that is interesting, because he did a lot of battle rapping back in Atlanta. He said in an interview that he knew from a young age, that he wanted to do something a little more than just rap:

“‘…let me figure out how to make songs, figure out how to hold a note, how to be familiar with different melodies.’ That’s when I zoned in and figured out what’s gonna be my sound, what’s gonna be my message, what’s gonna be me.”

He added that his main goal when he heads to the studio, is making something his fans can relate to; something that makes them say, “I’ve been through that.”

With his unique sound, and undeniable focus to be true to himself, there’s really nothing stopping 6LACK from reaching global stardom, especially with artists like The Weeknd by his side.

So… Is 6LACK on your playlist? ‘Cause he should be.

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