Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

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

Overnight success is a music industry myth.
DJBooth_logo2x

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. 

RECOMMENDED ARTICLES

BOTW-16x9--3-

DJ Neptune, Yungeen Ace & Joony: Best of the Week

DJ Neptune, Yungeen Ace, and Joony, among others, have the best new songs on Audiomack this week.

am-world-top10-nov-16x9--1-

10 Rappers You Should Know Right Now

Luh Soldier, Snowsa, SGaWD, and K.Charles are four of the 10 new rappers you need to know right now on Audiomack.

BOTW-16x9--2-

Freddie Gibbs, Saweetie & Earl Sweatshirt: Best of the Week

Freddie Gibbs, Saweetie, and Earl Sweatshirt, among others, had the best new songs on Audiomack this week.

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.

Related

DJBooth_logo2x

How Apple Music Blew Up 6LACK's "Problems"

One man at Apple Music pushed a button and took a new ATL artist from unknown to millions of streams.

6LACK on Being Signed to Flo Rida: "I Never Got Paid, Ever. I Never Saw a Check"

6LACK on Being Signed to Flo Rida: "I Never Got Paid, Ever. I Never Saw a Check"

“And I did a ton of shows with them. I never got paid for any show."

DJBooth_logo2x

It Took 11 Years & 9 Albums, But the Real Rick Ross Finally Stood Up

By breaking character, the Maybach Music head honcho appears to have figured out the final piece of the puzzle.

DJBooth_logo2x

Famous Dex Says He Doesn't Make "Real Music," I Agree

"If you want to listen to rap and hip-hop, listen to Kendrick Lamar, listen to Rick Ross, JAY-Z."

DJBooth_logo2x

Drake's Summer Sixteen Tour Took 8 Months of Planning

A veteran booking agent explains what went into booking and scheduling Drizzy's huge summer tour.

DJBooth_logo2x

Waka Flocka Explains Why He Hasn't Released an Album in Five Years

It's been awhile since we've had a proper release from Waka, but new music is "coming soon."