Hailing from East Atlanta, 6LACK (pronounced ‘Black’) has finally returned to music with the release of his third studio album Since I Have a Lover following a six year hiatus. The album boasts three features, including a surprising Wale feature. Previously, 6LACK has established common themes in his music like break-ups and being a rolling stone who does not want to settle down. Since I Have a Lover expands his palette to new themes such as growth and healthy relationships, hence the name. He hasn’t topped East Atlanta Love Letter with this latest release, but the lyricism and emotion on this album are standouts.
This album feels incredibly personal and it’s evident that he spent a lot of time working it. While listening, I can practically feel the emotions he conveys. 6LACK has been very open with fans about his personal growth and how he has been coping with change as he enters new eras in his life, like fatherhood. This album explores the possibility of settling down, which was not a common theme in his previous music. He also reflects on experiences from youth and childhood that make him reluctant to do so. In an interview with Zane Lowe, 6LACK speaks on the album and what it means to him. He goes into detail about the choices he made and what helped him recognize there was a need for change. “(I) was putting (myself) in the position to have to make Free 6LACK 2,” 6LACK says, reflecting on self-sabotaging and pushing away people who cared about him.
The album opens with the song “cold feet”, which is a term often used to describe apprehension or doubt, showing his reluctance to change. The song features an intro with a woman asking him to return to music. He addresses his absence by saying while his old projects were hot and made him feel alive he’s been waiting on something to set him on fire fulfilling those old passions.
In the second song, “Inwood Hill Park”, he starts to doubt his past life, but nevertheless appears hopeful. He contemplates marriage saying “I been thinkin’ about gettin’ on one knee, turn a solo to a feat”. He appears to have changed, realizing he loves the girl who has been there since the beginning. He echos this sentiment during the Apple Music interview, stating that if it had not been for his lover’s patience there may not be an album. He acknowledges his growth with a reference to his old album Free 6LACK: “remember when it was all black and white, colors startin’ to feel real vibrant”.
The next two songs (“Since I Have A Lover” and “playin house”) reference marriage again. This time, he dives deeper and discusses some things that could be holding him back and what it would take to sustain a marriage. On “playin house”, he uses great imagery to portray his unstable relationship with his lover, “spent all that time building a strong foundation, it’s like we need a renovation”. This demonstrates his growth as he acknowledges there is a need for change.
The first third of the album was lively and lyrically the strongest but after “chasing feeling” it’s harder to engage with the tracks. The mood shifts and it is not as captivating as earlier songs. The lyrics make it seem as if he is regressing back to old ways “You mine every day, don’t try to file no restraint”, he exclaims on “Decatur”. This is a huge emotional shift from someone who was just contemplating marriage and traumas a few songs ago.
But then, the last three songs come in and save the day, starting with “Stories In Motion”, which features eloquently written bars from Wale. Then, it’s fan-favorite “Testify”, which is accompanied by calming acoustic guitars and 6LACK’s beloved ultra melodic voice. The album wraps up nicely with “NRH” (which stands for night ride home). 6LACK reflects on past lovers, who cross his mind especially at night.
While it was not the heavy-hitting album I expected, lyrically it is one of my favorite albums of the year so far. He poured his emotions into it and shows a deep commitment to growth. I commend any artist that can expose that kind of vulnerability to the world.
Taijahnai Scott is a student at the University of Georgia studying Marketing and Music Business with hopes of finding a job in music marketing post grad. Growing up she always had a deep love and cultural connection to music, especially Hip-Hop/Rap, Pop, R&B and NeoSoul. She is fascinated with all things music including the business aspect of it. She hopes to bring her opinions to the Athens music scene and expanding her tastes.