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6lack’s new album East Atlanta Love Letter is thick with the feels. It stands in contrast to so many other hip-hop works that put considerations of technical dexterity or rhyme complexity above the songs. 6lack’s words are incisive throughout this record, and he avoids the sophomore slump, rendering out a heartfelt effort.

When we heard “Switch,” one of the early singles off this LP, I noted how he could “grow into an Usher-level star for this generation,” and this album only confirms that trajectory. He’s making R&B with an emotional trap edge, allowing it to soar. “Let Her Go” showcases this duality in full fore, singing of ending relationships over the kind of beat others might use for a hype or diss track. He enlists Future for the title track “East Atlanta Love Letter,” an ode to their city, and brings out J. Cole for a standout feature on the liquid-sounding “Pretty Little Fears.” Offset of Migos also appears on “Balenciaga Challenge.”

On “Thugger’s Interlude,” 6lack addresses his production choices on the LP, citing its style as one that helps him forget his troubles within the music: “Lately I been bumping trap music / Don’t wanna listen if I can’t dab to it / ‘Cause all that other shit makes me think about all the things I don’t wanna think about.”

In the album’s booklet, he also wrote some words about his intentions behind the album:

“I wrote this album for those with difficulty expressing themselves or their love.

Communication is key and over time it’s proven to be my biggest obstacle. I want you to know that just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

Never give up on love because it’s the most powerful feeling you can share with someone, and if you’re feeling doubtful, know that I wrote this especially for you to listen to during those times. I hope it helps.”

6lack’s East Atlanta Love Letter is out now via LVRN/Interscope.

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