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Album Review: 6LACK shines sporadically throughout the flawed ‘Since I Have A Lover’

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It could be a while before we see a crowd like this at a concert in Cleveland again. Credit: Joshua Gunter via TNS

Singer, rapper and songwriter 6LACK released his new album, “Since I Have A Lover,” Friday.

“SIHAL” comes almost five years after his previous long playing record, “East Atlanta Love Letter,” released in 2018.

During the five-year gap, 6LACK gave listeners a surprise gift with “6pc Hot EP,” released in 2020. The six-track extended play was an impressive collection of songs to hold fans over during the wait for “SIHAL.”

6LACK’s two previous projects, his 2018 album and his debut, “FREE 6LACK,” in 2016, were high in originality and consistency, two things that “SIHAL” can’t quite capture the way that its predecessors did.

Regardless, 6LACK still knows how to curate a solid collection of tracks seen on “SIHAL.”

Following the intro, “cold feet,” 6LACK enters the album with a good rap-centered track in “Inwood Hill Park,” a song with an infectious chorus and verses showing 6LACK’s versatility, switching between singing and rapping with ease.

The title track and single is one of the most complete on the entire project. “Since I Have A Lover” encapsulates the project’s themes of love and relationships perfectly. It’s a slower R&B track with spacey backing vocals and memorable verses from 6LACK.

“playin house” is the first look at a ballad on the new album, and 6LACK rides the minimal instrumental well, as he uses his voice softly to blend with the track. While a good outing, “playin house” is not the most attention-grabbing song on the project.

Another one of the project’s singles, “Fatal Attraction,” is another positive addition to the album. It is, however, more of a generic track with an average instrumental, but 6LACK’s vocal performance enhances the quality of the song.

While “SIHAL” is not a disappointing listen, at this point in the track list, it lacks a song that accurately reflects 6LACK’s ability to create a well-rounded track in all aspects.

“Spirited Away” is a special track that crushes the aforementioned worry from the very start. The track is likely a reference to Hayao Miyazaki’s Academy Award-winning 2001 anime film with the same title.

The impressive use of the movie and its themes throughout should not take away from the track’s other components. “Spirited Away” is a sonic masterpiece from 6LACK that showcases his penmanship and highlights his creativity.

Following an underwhelming, repetitive “chasing feeling,” which almost feels like an interlude, comes “preach.”

While 6LACK spent the last few tracks on “SIHAL” singing over slow, rhythmic instrumentals, he does a 180 with this track, flowing over the beat with incredible one-liners and a hook sure to have the listener’s head bobbing along.

“Tit For Tat” is 6LACK’s attempt at furthering the upbeat sound following the previous track, but it fails to deliver the same way that “preach” does. “Talkback,” another single, is also an average song that doesn’t do anything unique or positive for the album.

Although 6LACK has a history in battle rap and knows how to put words together as well as anyone, his forte seems to come in the exact opposite of scenarios in tracks like “wunna dem (with QUIN).”

The track, backed by a simple yet beautiful acoustic guitar riff, is a heartfelt love song that 6LACK performs with his partner and fellow musician, QUIN.

“B4L” is a slower R&B track with little to take away from. The instrumental, centered around pitched-down vocals and well-placed hi-hats and drums, is the track’s highlight, as 6LACK’s lyrics and flows are rather generic.

“Decatur” is another uninspired track all around. “Talk” is a lyrically substantive track with 6LACK speaking on his mental health. Despite the powerful message, the sonics, specifically the hooks on the song, drag it down.

“Temporary (feat. Don Toliver)” was likely circled by many fans on the track list before the album’s release, as a collaboration between 6LACK and Toliver should be a hit. However, neither artist performed that well, making it yet another forgettable track toward the end of the album.

“Rent Free” makes an appearance on the album. Although originally released in 2021, “Rent Free” is a great track in all aspects. It has a top-tier hook, and 6LACK takes complete control of each of his verses.

“Stories In Motion” is an uneventful track. That is until a verse from Wale comes out of the blue. The D.C. rapper’s feature wasn’t shown on the track list. Regardless, Wale delivers one of the better performances on the album.

The album slows down with “Testify,” a somber track of heartbreak and love. 6LACK lets his vocals take command of the track completely, doing so with an impressive range over an acoustic guitar instrumental.

The final track on “SIHAL” is “NRH,” a track where 6LACK reminisces on past relationships. While it thematically encapsulates the project, it doesn’t quite end the album with the cherry on top that his previous two did with “Stan” off of “East Atlanta Love Letter” and his debut album’s outro, “Alone / EA6.”

“FREE 6LACK” set a high standard for 6LACK’s future projects. Topping a nearly flawless debut is no easy feat, but he arguably achieved that with his second project. “Since I Have A Lover” is not as complete of an album as his previous two, but the album is still a solid body of work that, like his other projects, will likely hold a fair amount of replay value.

Rating: 3.5/5

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