Six ways in which Atlanta rapper 6 Dogs reshaped SoundCloud rap

The Georgia musician tragically died last week, aged just 21. Yet his legacy lives on, as the app on which he made his name continues to bear his influence

Ronald Chase Amick, the rapper better known as 6 Dogs who tragically died last week, always hailed Atlanta as the place where he fell in love with music. But little did he know that his making music in his bedroom would amount to underground success with cult classics such as the dreamy ‘Flossings’ and ‘Faygo Dreams’. The soundtrack to many SoundCloud enthusiasts’ early 2017, Amick’s music never left the hearts of those who used to admire sunsets, headphones in-ear, listening to his emotional hits.

A mere four years later, the artist’s heartbreaking death at the age of 21 shocked the whole SoundCloud community. He’s been rightly hailed as hugely influential by peers and fans worldwide, so here are just a few of the ways in which he changed the underground musical landscape forever.

He pushed emotion in rap

Heavily influenced by Lil Peep’s (another SoundCloud star gone way, way to soon, the rapper died from an accidental overdose of fentanyl and Xanax in in November 2017) subdued roars, Dogs adopted an emo flair that was pretty prevalent in most of his popular tracks to date. 6 Dogs’ mental health wasn’t always perfect, as he explained to fans, so when he became addicted to Oxycotin after having his wisdom teeth removed, the young teen used music as therapy to talk about his addiction and his depression.

And his music wasn’t perfect, either

With his raw-cut, bluntly honest lyrics (check out his first-ever track, 2016’s ‘Demons In The A’, on which he says “Bitch, why you sippin’? you sippin’ ’cause it’s trendy? / Bitch, I’m sippin’ ’cause I got these fucking demons in me”), 6 Dogs tapped into the feelings of emotional teens across the world. Successfully fulfilling your musical needs with xylophone chimes, dreamy production and straight-up relatable lyrics, he was expected to be the next Peep. He was one of the first rappers to prove that you don’t always need to be the best rhymer out there to make heartfelt music that millions will love.

He did his own artwork…

Independent artists can’t always afford those fancy photoshoots or high-budget video shoots (unless Lyrical Lemonade head honcho Cole Bennett steps in to help, as he did with 6 Dogs’ ‘Buttcheeks’). 6 Dogs had to be creative and take a DIY approach to his artwork as well as music. He was once signed to Benny Blanco’s Mad Love Records, but his flirtation with labels stopped there. One of the few SoundCloud stars to stay through-and-through independent by the time of his passing, 6 Dogs was a true champion in DIY music, building a fanbase with his off-centre music.

Explore his Spotify discography and you’ll see the likes of effective anxiety soother ‘OK’ and the endearingly juvenile ‘Pokemon x Digimon’ adorned with his own artwork; unique cartoons for his equally quirky singles. You can now see SoundCloud hyper-pop stars such as Deth Coni do the same, and to this day 6 Dogs is remembered for his artistic flair alongside his music.

And he seemed really nice too!

6 Dogs was transparent about his battles with depression, religion, regiment and drugs – issues that many people prefer to cover up. However, he was also palpably just a regular guy who just seemed to be caught up in the depth of mental peril. When you hear him talking about buying clothes from the Good Will (from the track ‘Goodwill Linen’) and his often-expressed love of Pokémon, Amick was just like any guy out there who has a secret dorky side. He was humble in interactions with fans online and didn’t base his career and persona on misogynistic braggadocio, which added to his authenticity and relatability.

He strove for equality 

It should be duly noted that 6 Dogs was super against degrading lyrics about women and the constant glorification of drugs and violence. In a Pigeons & Planes interview in late 2017, the Georgia star made it known that he thought “talking down about other people and talking yourself up and disrespecting women is crazy”, and clearly didn’t follow this trend in his raps. You might find a few lines that you might think are a bit boastful, but when you look at his discography, all of 6 Dogs’ songs are moody or cheerful, regardless of whether they’re love tunes such as ‘Saturn’ or the hazy ‘Off The Gas’. It was refreshing to hear a star that never had to degrade the average person for the sake of a great floorfiller.

6 Dogs’ endearing persona lives on

As 6 Dogs continued to build a fanbase in a truly independent and low-key way, It seemed that personas and flashy clothes were no longer necessary to become a well-known star.  He inspired a bunch of rappers to just consistently drop music and be themselves, and did it with comical songs about Pokémon and unabashed odes to romantic love. Look at the likes of emerging nice-guy SoundCloud rapper Lil Boom, whose rhymes are similarly endearing and innocent, and you’ll see that 6 Dogs’ influences lives on.

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