As 6LACK strides onstage, all of Carmichael Arena's considerable population sinks a little deeper in their feelings.
The Atlanta native isn't known for turning up. His darkly smooth, early Weeknd-flavored material is more of the 2 a.m. drive variety, meant more for wallowing than getting hype.
This seems to make him an odd choice to play a show for a throng of stress-wracked college students looking to drown their finals anxiety in adrenaline. Waka Flocka Flame was understandable, but an R&B singer? UNC's Jubilee is one of the school's last hurrahs before the semester's end, meant to be a celebration of the year and a fitting sendoff at the same time. A lacking performance would be a hell of an anticlimax.
As the stadium opens up, worry mounts. The hype DJ delivers droning, mindless bangers at a constant, mind-numbing rate. The opener, a rapper named RETRO, comes on, seemingly to deliver the decidedly not-hyped audience — but his performance falls with a wet thud, and it's back to “SICKO MODE” before long. There's precious little to allay the growing sense of unease. All one can do is hope.
Well, rest assured that 6LACK knows his job and knows it well. For a little over an hour, the chill is consistently turned into the very much not chill as the rapper-singer's dusky trap-R&B grooves are pushed to their limits. Vibe follows vibe — OK, with a few bangers sprinkled in — and honestly, it’s all we could have hoped it’d be.