It Took 6LACK 8 Years to Make Any “Real Money” in Music

By | Posted October 19, 2017
Overnight success is a music industry myth.
2017-10-19-6lack-eight-years-to-make-money
Photo Credit: Dan Garcia

With the help of Apple Music, singer-songwriter and rapper 6LACK (pronounced Black) bum-rushed the scene in 2016, releasing a Platinum single ("PRBLMS") and a debut album (FREE 6LACK).

For those who weren't tracking the moves being made by the Atlanta-based native of Baltimore, 6LACK seemingly arrived overnight with a hit single and a record deal with Interscope.

Perception, of course, isn't always reality.

On Wednesday, the 25-year-old (born Ricardo Valdez Valentine) fired off a string of tweets about his lengthy grind to make music a career, revealing that for nearly eight years, he didn't see any "real money" from his pursuit. 

When an "artist" like Danielle Bregoli (aka Bhad Bhabie), who is only a thing because she was rude to Dr. Phil on television, signs a multi-million dollar record deal with a major label, fans automatically (and understandably) subscribe to the idea that anyone can become an overnight rap star.

Of course, this is more myth than reality.

While it's seemingly easier now than ever before for an artist to get noticed off a few SoundCloud uploads within months of beginning their "music career," and there are exceptions to any rule—see Bobby Shmurda and 90% of the rappers who charted during the Ringtone Era—6LACK's path to prosperity is much more the norm. 

Signing a record deal with Interscope and gaining the support of Apple Music's urban music gatekeeper Carl Chery undoubtedly sped up 6LACK's rise and helped him turn SoundCloud plays into "real money," but receiving financial backing and an injection of support and belief shouldn't diminish the role 6LACK played in his own success.

There's a difference between moment artists and career artists; 6LACK made sure he was the latter.

Update: After publishing this article, several artists, producers, and DJs responded in lockstep with 6LACK, revealing it also took them approximately eight years to make "real money" in music.

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