6LACK @ 170 Russell, Melbourne, Monday October 16 2017
Atlanta rapper 6LACK has two rules. Rule number one, no explaining. Rule number two, no complaining. The second will be easy to follow while we’re referring to his sold-out Melbourne show.
Opening the Australian legs of the FREE6LACKTOUR was local popstar George Maple with a fierce, demanding support slot. The stylish singer cut a lone figure on stage during her almost hour-long set, soaring through hits Sticks and Horses and Gemini while dropping in snippets of Drake and King Kendrick to keep the hip hop-heavy crowd bouncing between her own bangers, before a riotous cover of N*E*R*D’s Lapdance – all of which included some seriously silky dance moves.
The crowd chanted “Free Black” as Atlanta rapper 6lack (pronounced “Black”) sauntered out in front of a crammed 170 Russell. Backed by DJ Tonee on the decks, 6LACK also had a live drummer and keyboardist on stage, giving the show that instant extra depth that so many hip hop performances often miss.
The 25-year-old – known as Ricardo Valentine to his mother – opened with personal favourites Never Know and That Far, the latter muffled by the screams of a now delusional crowd as Valentine bounced around stage, his middle finger semi-permanently raised to the ceiling. Surprisingly, the next song was his biggest hit, PRBLMS; many of the adoring punters were expecting to hear it much later in the set, but hey – remember rule number two. Luving U and Worst Luck slowed the feverish pace before fan favourite Ex Calling riled us up again, and Rules fittingly set the tone for the set’s conclusion and the fangirls next to me broke down in joyful tears.