6ix9ine was one of the biggest artists in the world for a year-and-a-half span before he was arrested on racketeering charges. His story was emblematic of the quick rise-and-fall in popularity of the music industry, and more generally, the times we live in.
6ix9ine was done dirty by his team when they stole his money whereafter he proceeded to snitch on them in court, prompting memes and outcry from locals and celebrities alike.
With the memes and documentation of the court case and 69’s snitching, the curly-haired clown stayed in the public consciousness enough. Then December approached, and it was expected that due to his compliance and testimony, 69 would be released from prison.
Think of the intrigue, think of the jokes, think of the (both real and metaphorical) shots at 69 had he been walking the streets a free man today. 69 is about as polarizing an artist as I can remember; whether you hate him or love him, you definitely have an opinion.
There are so many questions about the circumstances surrounding 69 once released. Will he venture out into the public often, will he still be his loud, cocky self? Will he still rap about the things he once did, or will his flow sound completely different than what it was before?
Will he still talk shit and post-Instagram videos like this one?
Love ’em, hate ’em, just don’t forget about artists who are locked up.
Remember 2018, when it seemed every week we talked about 6ix9ine? Or 2016 when Tay K’s “The Race” dropped and the music video followed shortly after? Or even the early 2000s, when Max B was popping off?
Yeah, we still talk about these guys a bit. The 6ix9ine snitching memes were funny, Tay K is in the news because he’s probably going to jail for life, and it’s always “Free Max B.” But are we talking about these guys for the wrong reasons or just very one-dimensional reasons?
Tay-K is likely going to be in prison his entire life. Max-B may get out within the next few years, and prominent artists like Jay-Z and Busta Rhymes have paid homage to him recently. As for 6ix9ine, we don’t know how long he’s gonna be in jail but it doesn’t look good.
Lowkey, this is a very complex issue. These guys aren’t model citizens, and with the possible exception of Max B, it doesn’t even seem like they’re good dudes.
But does that mean we should forget the impact they had on the rap game and overall culture in their years active? Tay-K gave us a bop that was a banger at every party it was played at. Max B was bodying tracks in the first decade of the 2000s and even released an album while he was in prison.
And how can we talk about 2018 without talking about 6ix9ine? I mean, this guy took the internet by storm and gave countless people a laugh and a hit that they could play and talk about with friends.
After a long day, you could bank on a 6ix9ine meme or video to make you smile when the day otherwise rendered it impossible. After he was the biggest thing for months, then got bagged, no one dared to mention his name anymore. In fact, there is no greater indicator of our current age of short attention spans than the rise and fall of 6ix9ine.
In the entertainment industry, people and trends are always fleeting. In the ’80s, Molly Ringwald was one of the biggest stars out, and then out of nowhere, she fell off the face of the earth.
The same can be said for the early 2000s and Britney Spears.
But in rap, respect is given and artists have a direct effect on others that come after them. Where would Lil Baby, Gunna, and a lot of these other new artists be without Young Thug? So then, how can we not pay homage and forget about artists so soon?
For my #thrones fans out there, even if the last season was a bust, Samwell Tarly said it best:
“That’s what death is, isn’t it? Forgetting. Being forgotten. If we forget where we’ve been and what we’ve done, we’re not men anymore. Just animals.”
Speaking in the face of certain death is gnarly, but his words still hold true. It is a scary and depressing thing to think about how quickly people forget. 6ix9ine, Tay-K, and Max B are all currently locked up and in different stages of trying to get out.
It’s true that they’ve made horrible mistakes and possibly don’t deserve to be free. But regardless of where they are, the least us “rap fans” can do is pay respect to them by listening to their music, discussing their impact, and hearing what they have to say now.
It doesn’t matter how much of a hip-hop purist you are, how much you hate the new face-tatted clout-chasing rappers or how old you are — the bright, rainbow-haired rapper from Brooklyn has successfully made himself a staple in contemporary hip-hop and if you follow rap you, unfortunately, don’t have a choice but to know who he is.
Since stepping onto the scene in late 2017 with his hit single “Gummo,” 6ix9ine has been inescapable, charting eight consecutive singles on the Hot 100 in a row, with his latest, “FEFE,” going number one, thanks to Nicki Minaj’s help.
But it’s not just his chart success that has landed 6ix9ine headlines and virality, it’s the controversy he constantly finds himself in.
The 21-year-old, born Daniel Hernandez, has a penchant for the dramatics, dubbing himself as the game’s “most hated” and doing his best to live up to it. Dating back to before he was known globally, Tekashi has been attracting trouble. He’s hot boy.
When he was just 18-years-old he was booked on three felony counts on use of a child in a sexual performance in October 2015, although claiming he only pled guilty because his lawyer was bad. But it didn’t stop there.
In 2017 he faked his own death, posting a video to Instagram of him getting pushed in a hospital bed with his entire body covered by a white sheet. The video’s narrator says, “Rest in peace my man 6ix9ine. Rest in peace 6ix9ine, you a legend.”
In January of this year, 69 found himself in the news again after being arrested on a warrant for allegedly choking a 16-year-old at Houston’s Galleria Mall during a meetup with rapper Ugly God.
Within the same month (Jan. 18), Tekashi was linked to a brawl that broke out at Yams Day that led to the celebration being shut down.
One month later (February), Tekashi, a loud-mouthed blood affiliate, decided to let the interwebs know that he wouldn’t be checking in with rival gangs in any city he travels through, clearly with the intention to get a reaction out of LA’s gang culture.
In result, as a few of his shows in Los Angeles were canceled due to gang-related threats.
That same month, to no surprise, 69 get’s into a physical altercation outside Los Angeles International Airport Terminal. The video shows Tekashi hitting the pavement at one point, but the rapper and his crew eventually stopped and headed inside the airport.
Sprinkled along the way in the midst of all these negative headlines are beefs with whomever he could get in a beef with. This includes Trippy Redd, fellow New York rapper Cassanova and, most recently, Vic Mensa and Chief Keef.
While it initially started with Tadoe, he’s gone on to taunt the rest of GBE, even going as far as to go going to Chicago’s infamous O-block and posting picture’s with Chief Keef’s baby mother.
Why he chooses to taunt gangs, insight beefs and challenge the “gangster” of hoods is beyond me, but it’s clearly has nothing to do with hip-hop. Time and time again, Tekashi has shown zero respect for the hip-hop, but for some reason, hip-hop is where he remains to have a home.
Tekashi’s trollish nature is well-documented, his antics are dangerous, and his legal history is disturbing to say the very least. Yet, despite all of this, 69’s stature only seems to grow and he continually still wins people over.
He’s even confirmed his motives and insincerity in the rap game when he openly mocked his hit with Nicki Minaj, “FEFE” on Angie Martinez’s program, Power 105.1 back in July.
When asked on if he takes his craft seriously, he simply replied “no”. “Literally no,” he responded when Angie asked his option on the technique of rap. “We just go into the studio and we just be having fun. And it’s a hit,” he continues.
fuck you on any level if you rock w/ this dude on any level. not to mention he’s a pedophile, not to mention he stole his bars & flows from Chicago, not to mention he’s managed by Rahm Emanuel’s brother, he just also don’t give a fuck what he make & y’all eat it up. you a goofy. https://t.co/FEEAoHLr5a
But he’s referenced this flippant, carefree approach to the rap before. In a late-2017 interview with DJ Akademiks he claimed he was the “King of getting his Instagram deleted” and that he “was doing Fatboy SSE [and] Boonk Gang sh*t way before that was even popular.”
Just like Fatboy and Boonk and any other online viral seeking entertainer, Tekashi is an algorithm hacking clout-chaser hiding in plain sight of the hip-hop community but seems to become more ingratiated the longer he stays and the more he does.
Instead of being checked and challenged, because he attracts eyeballs, he’s been given the multiple benefits of doubts.
Radio personalities like Angie Martinez, Joe Budden, and even Charlamagne tha God are now coming out to say that they saying they understand and get him more after seeing his interviews, even was as far as to call him a “good dude.”
In late March, 69 was seen with rapper 50 Cent who happily confirmed the newcomer was the king of New York, and later along the year, just last month, singer Trey Songz was seen along with 69 singing atop a balcony shirtless, playing along with the rapper and his jokes.
It’s not a matter of wanting something bad to happen to Tekashi or not wanting his success as much as it’s a matter of him going unchecked by the same community he’s made a butt for his jokes.
One moment Nicki Minaj is jumping on Lil Herb’s “Chiraq” and the next she’s collaborating with someone provoking violence and challenging the trauma of kids who grew up in the war zone that song was named after.
On one hand Angie Martinez has the responsibility of being a gatekeeper as well as one of many authorities on hip-hop, yet on the other hand, she laughs off Tekashi blatantly dismissing the craftsmanship of the genre.
Same with Trey Songz — how can he be so comfortable aligning with someone who has done nothing more than stir the pot rather than bring people together. Where is the self-awareness?
6ix9ine will keep winning and keep gaining supporters and keep having industry support as long as he can bet on going viral. It’s what makes him Teflon.
No matter what he does or how outlandish he acts, he has proven that clout-chasers attract clout-chasers, and until hip-hop has more artist with backbones stand up, 69’s place in rap will keep going strong.
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Regardless of the validity of the claim, 6ix9ine and Rich Gang seems like a partnership forged in hotboy heaven. In his brief career, 6ix9ine has caused quite the stir and Birdman is one of the most infamous characters in the music industry.
6ix9ine’s first hit “Gummo” has been embroiled in controversy since it was released. The song’s beat was made by Pi’erre Bourne, who apparently gave the instrumental to Trippie Redd. Trippie Redd showed the beat to 6ix9ine, who took it for himself, which Pi’erre Bourne was not so pleased about.
Pie’rre wrote on Instagram, “Y’all n****s is opps, no more trippie n pierre y’all ruined it.”
Beyond his music, the wild accompanying visuals, and the rainbow hair and grills, 6ix9ine also finds himself in legal trouble for allegations of sex with a minor.
It’s unclear whether 6ix9ine’s claim that he signed with Rich Gang is actually the case, but Birdman’s label has been no stranger to controversy over the years.
The disappearance of Rich Homie Quan, the blackballing of Lil Wayne, unpaid producers, and Rick Ross constantly talking shit have made Rich Gang one of the sketchiest labels in hip-hop.
6ix9ine embraces the sketch. As does Rich Gang. Seems like an ideal place for the BK rapper to keep making weird ass viral hits and eventually get fucked over by a dubious contract.