WAVING our arms in the air like some crazed cult I couldn’t help but chuckle when these words came up on the screen.
“6LACK PRONOUNCED BLACK”
I was in the crowd at Sydney’s Enmore Theatre to see the American rapper with a friend who’s also one of his biggest fans.
But it’s no wonder 6LACK has to put this sign up at his shows because the guys in front of us were calling him “six lack”, much to my friend’s horror.
Meet 6LACK — and I’m going to have to write it like that throughout this story even though the journalist in me winces every time.
He’s been touring Australia and New Zealand with sold-out shows because of the loyal audience he commands (basically everyone in the crowd knows every lyric to every song they belt out with him passionately).
His real name is Ricardo Valdez Valentine and let’s face it, that’s hardly a rapper name is it?
If you haven’t heard of him, he’s a two-time Grammy-nominated artist who’s opened for The Weeknd and Chris Brown and had major slots at Coachella.
You probably also know him as a feature alongside Ty Dolla $ign on Khalid’s smash hit OTW.
And if you’re wondering how he got his name, let me fill you in.
Valentine was brought up in the infamous area of Atlanta known as Zone 6.
He was born in the sixth month in Zone 6, also home to Gucci Mane, Future and Childish Gambino.
It started as a nickname in school that stuck and became a trend in the neighbourhood, styled in that particular way.
The number is so important to him that he named his daughter Syx.
“I never had to think of a name,” he told Billboard.
“A boy or a girl, it was going to be Syx.”
While the journo in me struggled with that spelling as well, this was another moment in 6LACK’s concert I couldn’t handle:
That’s supposed to say Balenciaga, the designer brand, in case you were still trying to figure it out.
I’m all for making up your own cool rap name but you can’t just start adding the number 6 to everything.
6urberry? Nope. 6almain? Also no.
6illabong? Definitely not.
— bear (@6LACK)
Illusive Presents and Frontier Touring brought 6LACK back to Australia off the back his second record East Atlanta Love Letter as part of his mammoth From East Atlanta, With Love world tour.
You can’t help but get into each song with the crowd.
Song Switch, which he performed at Enmore, has been viewed nearly 9 million times, including more than 3 million in the week of its release.
And saving the best one for last, 6LACK came out for an encore performance of 2016 release, breakout hit Prblms, from his debut record FREE 6LACK.
The crowd went nuts, also because he took his shirt off.
And after an awesome concert, it’s time for me to get 6LACK to start writing that word properly.