Atlanta rapper 6lack: ‘Music can never smile at me the way my daughter does’

Once broke and hungry, the rising star has now been nominated for two Grammys. He discusses hitting rock bottom, narrowly avoiding death – and becoming a father

6lack [pronounced black] is perhaps having a Wireless festival comedown. When we meet in July, the 26-year-old is amicable but tired, introspective and stone-faced, the ecstasy of crooning his heart-bleeding blend of trap and soul to thousands in Finsbury Park having petered out. “I’m missing out on family time, I’m putting my body through extremes,” he says. “When the things that you fantasise about become a reality, you realise this is still a job.”

For the rapper-cum-singer otherwise known as Ricardo Valdez Valentine, that job is to make confessionals: deep dives into embittered relationships and his quest to find a better life through music. It’s the American Dream made a mid-20s reality, wrapped in sombre production then sent into the world with low-toned vocals.

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