FILE- In this Sept. 21, 2018, file photo rapper Daniel Hernandez, known as Tekashi 6ix9ine, performs during the Philipp Plein women’s 2019 Spring-Summer collection, unveiled during the Fashion Week in Milan, Italy. Federal authorities say Hernandez is in custody and awaiting a Manhattan court appearance. The Brooklyn-based rapper, whose legal name is Daniel Hernandez, is among four people arrested on racketeering and firearms charges. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno, File)
Stripped of his garish appearance, lewd tattoos and ostentatious social media persona, he is Daniel Hernandez, a kid from Brooklyn’s northside. Hernandez has been refining his public image since the eighth grade. Following the death of his father, who was shot and killed mere feet from the family’s home, Daniel began acting out in class and was eventually expelled at the age of 13; he would never attend another educational institution.
Rather, he tried to supplement his single mother’s income, taking a job as a busboy. He was fired shortly after because “[he] wasn’t strong enough to carry the plates.” From there, Hernandez would sell drugs, namely marijuana and heroin, out of the local bodega.
“I went to sleep hungry. I would still sleep with my mom until the age of 13, 14 … I would go to sleep with my stomach hurting and my mom would lay over and cry because she could hear how screeching my stomach would get. It was bad, bro,” Hernandez recalled in an interview with No Jumper.
While serving time at Rikers Island for assault and the sale of illegal substances after he beat up the bodega owner who caught him selling heroin, Hernandez affiliated himself with the Nine Trey Gangsters, a subset of the notorious Blood street gang. Here, the idea of 6ix9ine was born, releasing a number of profane singles under the Slovakian label FCK THEM – none of which garnered a significant amount of attention.
It wasn’t until 2017, three years later, that anyone would know his name. For better or for worse, It began with an Instagram post that went viral on Twitter and Reddit. The meme mocked his “69” tattoo displayed prominently on his forehead, his trademark rainbow hair and matching grills. A few months later, he came out with his first commercial debut single “Gummo,” which would go on to receive platinum certification and peak at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. Impressively, all 10 of his singles released to date have charted on the Billboard Hot 100.
Naturally, with fame comes hate, and 6ix9ine received a lot of both in a very short amount of time. He had a number of unsavory priors upon entering the rap scene. As Genius first reported, he pled guilty to three felony counts of Use of a Child in a Sexual Performance. He also has a propensity for starting beef with fellow rappers and producers, most notably Chief Keef and Trippie Redd. His crude, offensive social media antics know no bounds, going so far as to fake his own suicide on Instagram. His desire for attention regardless of whether it is good or bad remains a point of constant criticism.
Most recently, 6ix9ine is in the news for facing a possible life sentence on 17 charges relating to racketeering, drug distribution and conspiracy to commit murder. At the same time, he just released a full-length, feature-laden album entitled “DUMMY BOY.” Stylized in 6ix9ine’s typical caps-lock style, every song title sounds like a baby’s first nonsensical, proto-English babbles. Such unintelligible titles include “WAKA,” “MALA” and “KIKA.” All credit to the success of this album should be directed toward its principal producer, Murda Beatz, and the roster of famous rappers who appear on it, people like Kanye, Nicki Minaj, Lil Baby, Gunna, A Boogie and Bobby Shmurda. As someone who finds 6ix9ine’s screaming rap style entirely insufferable, I will admit there are some songs that are catchy. High energy, trap beats like those found in “STOOPID” and “TATI” are undeniable frat party hits. Just don’t pay attention to the lyrics too much or your brain might hurt.
Mitchell Clark is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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