By Jose Mujica
November 7, 2018
6lack (pronounced black), one of the most exciting alternative R&B acts to ascend into the mainstream within the last few years, headlined his first show in Charlotte on Monday at the Fillmore. Despite his relatively short time in the spotlight, 6lack turned a lot of heads when his debut project, Free 6lack, dropped last year with the breakaway hit “Prblms.” More impressive still was his managing to avoid the sophomore slump with his 2018 release, East Atlanta Love Letter, which also received critical and popular acclaim upon release. In a year stacked with many big releases, standing out from the crowd is not an easy feat, yet 6lack manages to do so with relative ease and with a cool nonchalance, a stark contrast from the outlandish antics of newer artists of this generation. With his relaxed demeanor, smooth vocals and clever bars that often philosophize over the timeless questions of love and romance, 6lack’s popularity and meteoric rise isn’t all that surprising.
Charlotteans certainly seemed infatuated with the Atlanta singer-rapper as they queued up in a line stretching past VBGB’s on Monday Night. While the crowd was understandably younger than the audiences of most R&B acts, the atmosphere inside the crowded venue had a more mature and relaxed air than one may have anticipated. Young folk with old souls revitalizing themselves with some emotionally resonant tunes, and the opening act, Summer Walker, set the vibe perfectly. While it’s hard to say whether her vocal performance or radiant beauty was more stunning, she quickly had the Fillmore crowd in the palm of her hand waving side to side as she sang. While live performances are typically expected to sound less than the studio version of the tracks, Summer Walker seemed to miss that memo as her voice was clear and robust, resonating throughout the packed venue.
6lack took the stage and Charlotte showered him with love and cheers as he reciprocated with the emotional vibes he is known and adored for. Backed with a live drummer and keyboardist, the crooning love-struck lyrics paired with the booming bass and kicks made for a thoroughly captivating show. Ladies swooned but guys cheered as well, especially when he got to his hit song, “Ex Calling,” which seemed to strike a chord with nearly everyone in the venue. He proceeded to make his way through a good part of his last two projects, with some highlights being “East Atlanta Love Letter” and “Balenciaga Challenge” from his latest LP. He left the stage after his song “Stan” which prompted cheers and chants from the crowd, who had yet to hear his biggest single. But 6lack did not disappoint as he ran back onstage to a rousing performance of “PRBLMS.” He had the entire crowd singing the lyrics back to him and included a live drum solo that made you wish more rappers or hip-hop artists incorporated live drums in their sets. As he said his final goodbye to his fans, one thing is certain, it may have been his first headlining show in Charlotte, but it won’t be his last.
Check out the remaining 2018/19 tour dates for 6lack.