6LACK (pronounced "black") is one of the first artists whose meteoric rise can be credited to a streaming service. In spring 2016, Apple Music's Carl Chery received an email pointing him to the then relatively unknown Atlanta singer's Soundcloud page. Chery liked what he heard and decided to place 6LACK on a couple of Apple playlists. The songs broke one million streams in under a week, and were spun by Zane Lowe and topped 10 different playlists.
The fall 6LACK released his debut album FREE 6LACK, and today he's currently on his second world tour performing the album. I was part of the team that ran his two Toronto shows. In 2016, he packed a 1500-person venue. Last week, he sold one out with a capacity of 3500 — in three days.
It's in this context that I present today's song: "Free." It's not one of 6LACK's stand out singles, but it hits the thesis of his album. His incredible ascent has a lot of eyes on him, and this can start to feel like a prison of sorts. As he explained to Billboard, "It was the last song I made, at the end of my trip to L.A. 'Free' was literally everything I felt. I talked about every feeling I had felt in regards to my relationships, to who I was, to all the labels—everything. I wanted to get it out in that song. By the time I was done with it, the title of the track was obvious." 6LACK is scared of being trapped, especially in the past.
You can learn more about 6LACK here:
About the curator - Cormac McGee
Cormac McGee is a DJ, artist manager and concert promoter based in Toronto, Canada. He’s played in front of crowds from 10 – 1,000 people and has run concerts with some of today’s top hip hop artists, including Drake, Future, Mac Miller, 6lack, Ab-Soul and more. He also runs the Music Den at Ryerson University, a business incubator for entrepreneurs in the music industry.