You don’t have to go looking for Tekashi 6ix9nine to know who he is.
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.
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
— BLACK POWER ranger (@MalcolmLondon) July 29, 2018
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.