Hulu recently released 69: The Saga of Daniel Hernandez, a documentary chronicling Tekashi 69’s rise to the top of hip hop and internet fame. As well as his ultimate fall and the NYPD rap unit’s involvement with his case.
69: The Saga of Daniel Hernandez trailer
69 has been out of jail for some time now, and the shock from his release and snitching scandal has dissipated. Thus, Hulu’s release of the documentary comes at a most opportune time.
People may not be as interested in his music and trolling, but they definitely will want to see how he rose to nearly unprecedented internet fame.
69: The Saga of Daniel Hernandez also brings to light a harrowing realization. The police, no doubt in several cities but principally in NYC, have squads deliberately meant to combat hip hop artists and their fans.
The NYPD’s Enterprise Operations Unit, also known as the “rap unit,” monitors hip-hop shows across the city.
The NYPD Rap Unit
According to the New York Post, the task force makes a list of weekly rap shows and classifies them as either low, medium, or high risk in terms of illicit activity expected.
The task force has reportedly monitored Remy Ma, 50 Cent, and yes, Tekashi 6ix9ine. Records show that ahead of a scheduled appearance at Club Lust over a year ago, an email circulated among members of this “rap unit” about the concert.
The NYPD plants undercover hip hop police inside of the venues to keep eyes on the crowd, as well as officers outside. Even if the artist on stage is not wanted for a single crime, officers will still show up if they believe crimes will be carried out and threats are posed.
That same formula…
We know enough about how Black and other BIPOC communities are persecuted by the police. It’s the same formula: Even if there is no intel on crimes being committed, cops will show up and find something (if not forcibly create a conflict themselves).
To create an entire squad focused on the shows of popular hip hop artists is not just a waste of funds, but a deliberate (and racially motivated) attack on the communities of color that are more inclined to listen to hip hop and attend those concerts.
It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy in the same way seeing police in one’s neighborhoods and/or schools is.
If you see police all the time and are always under the watchful eye of a group trying to catch you slip up, you will eventually cave and be that which they want you to be, a criminal (only using that term for the purpose of how cops see crime, not us).
Hip Hop police throughout history
And this has been going on for quite some time, even back to Biggie Smalls. Derrick Parker, an NYPD detective in the late 90s, claims that NYPD officers from the department’s Major Case Squad, followed Biggie on his trip to LA in 1997 where he was killed.
Dawn Florio, who represented Remy Ma, 6ix9ine, and others, when asked about the “rap intel unit,” said:
“They’re a shadowy specialized unit that conducts overly aggressive investigations that monitor every move of entertainers. To me, it’s like stalking at the highest level.”Dawn Florio
This Major Case Squad ostensibly transitioned into the aforementioned “rap intel” unit, under the watch of the NYPD’s Gang Intelligence Unit. Now what does that say about how the NYPD thinks about hip hop, if it naturally pairs hop hop with gangs?
None of this is altogether surprising in theory. But to be substantiated, that is the part that leads to an epiphany. If cops were monitoring Biggie back then, and are still monitoring artists today, what really goes on behind the scenes?
Are police reports indicative of the entire stories they claim to be about? Or are they even rooted in the truth as opposed to covering their asses? Anyone who believes wide scale corruption is not commonplace has not read an article in 2020.
And I’m no conspiracy theorist.
The hip hop police are real AF
Ultimately, the 69 documentary exposes many perils of society. There is the clout-chasing that quite literally destroys lives, the selfish manipulating nature of the music industry, and of course, then the evil and racially motivated ways of the NYPD.
It is not enough to stay woke. One must understand what is wrong with society and societal institutions and then make a coordinated plan to educate and rally the masses.
Defund the police. It has never been clearer.