- Daniel Hernandez – also known as 6ix9ine and Tekashi69 – is a top-charting rapper.
- He has more than 15 million Instagram followers and has collaborated on songs with Nicki Minaj and Kanye West.
- In January, he confessed to racketeering, illegal firearms possession, and aiding in attemped murder as part of a violent crime ring, the Trey Nine gangsters.
- He’s cooperating with federal authorities in their investigation into the gang.
- In a seperate 2015 case, Hernandez pleaded guilty to criminal sex acts with a 13-year-old.
- The mountain of legal challenges could finally spell the end for the notorious rapper.
You’ve probably heard a lot about 6ix9ine recently – for good reasons and bad.
6ix9ine – also known as Tekashi69 – is a 22-year-old rapper and Instagram star with more than 15 million followers whose real name is Daniel Hernandez. He’s developed a unique persona as a hardcore rapper with an aggressively tattooed face and rainbow-dyed hair. After spending several years on the indie-SoundCloud-rapper circuit, Hernandez recently achieved mainstream credibility with “FEFE,” a hit single he made with Nicki Minaj earlier this year.
But his star is dying just as quickly as it was born. As he’s become famous, people have paid renewed attention to his 2015 conviction for using “a child in a sexual performance.” And since his arrest in November, more details have come to light about his connections to organized crime. In January, he pleaded guilty to charges involving racketeering, illegal firearms posession, and aiding in attemped murder as part of the violent Trey Nine gang. He’s cooperating with federal authorities for their investigation into other members of the organization.
How did a 22-year-old go from being an upcoming rapper and influencer to criminal? First, you need to understand how Daniel Hernandez became 6ix9ine.
Daniel Hernandez dropped out of school at the age of 13.
Hernandez’s life fell sideways in his teenage years. When he was 13, his father was murdered a block from his family home, according to The New York Times.
The experience had a huge impact on Hernandez, and he soon dropped out of school and started working odd jobs to help his mother.
“My pops died in eighth grade, and I just started bugging in school,” he told the podcast “No Jumper” in an extensive 2017 interview. “I was 13. I was waiting for my pops to come back home, and he never came.”
Hernandez ultimately turned to selling drugs. At around that time, he developed his 6ix9ine persona, drawing inspiration from anime, hip-hop, and metal. He eventually got the number 69 tattooed on his body more than 200 times, according to The Times.
In February 2015, Hernandez performed sexual acts with a 13-year-old, whom he said he believed was 19.
As Hernandez rose through the ranks of internet fame and notoriety, he attended a party on February 22, 2015, where he performed several sexual acts with a 13-year-old girl. Hernandez was 19 at the time.
The lurid acts are described in detail in a criminal complaint obtained in 2017 by Jezebel. Hernandez was arrested in March 2015 over the incident and pleaded guilty in October of that year.
In his plea agreement, Hernandez’s sentence was adjourned until October 2017 (it has since been delayed several more times). The terms of his release required that he not post explicit images of women to social media, that he write a letter explaining himself to the complaining witness and her family, that he not commit a crime for two years, and that he obtain a GED.
Hernandez later told police he thought the girl was 19. He’s also contradicted his plea statement in several interviews, saying he didn’t engage with the girl sexually and thought she was older.
Hernandez focused on building his online following — but made a deal with a fugitive.
After his 2015 criminal case, Hernandez seemed to focus on growing his Instagram following by promoting his brash persona and making music on SoundCloud. He also struck a deal with Kifano “Shotti” Jordan to be his manager. With Jordan, Hernandez made more mainstream street rap, started feuding with SoundCloud rappers, and began charging up to $100,000 for a performance, according to The Times.
But Jordan also has a criminal record. At the time, he was a fugitive from New Jersey authorities, having been charged with narcotics trafficking.
He became famous with “Gummo” in 2017.
Hernandez’s first proper single was “Gummo.” Released in November 2017, it hit the Billboard charts and was remixed by Offset and Lil Wayne. The music video showed 6ix9ine at his most colorful, sporting his signature dirty, candy-colored hair and red bandana and carrying bags of what appears to be marijuana.
It was around this time that Hernandez began giving more interviews about his career, and when the 2015 charges against him gained renewed attention.
July was another big month for him — he released a song with Nicki Minaj and was reportedly kidnapped.
- Tekashi 6ix9ine/YouTube
In 2018, Hernandez seemed to get in trouble with the law again several times. In May, he was reportedly arrested on charges of driving without a proper license and assaulting a police officer. Soon afterwards, he reportedly choked a 16-year-old in Texas and was arrested in New York.
But all of that was overshadowed on July 22. He released “FEFE,” his biggest song yet, a collaboration with Nicki Minaj and Murda Beatz.
That same night, after a day of shooting the song’s music video, Hernandez was reportedly kidnapped. He said two men forced him into a car at a New York City intersection and stole his jewelry, according to a police report viewed by the Associated Press. According to TMZ, the kidnappers also forced him to call his girlfriend for more money at home, and he ultimately escaped by opening the back door of the car.
A member of the Nine Trey Gangsters – also known as Treyway, a part of the Bloods street gang – was charged with the crime in November. Federal authorities believe Hernandez is also a member of the gang.
Hernandez was finally sentenced for the child-sex case.
After a number of procedural delays and appeals, Hernandez was sentenced in October to four years of probation and 1,000 hours of community service for the 2015 child-sex case.
The judge didn’t sentence Hernandez to any prison time, as prosecutors requested. He drew a distinction between his personal persona and his public one and said that though prosecutors said he was a member of a gang, they didn’t actually charge him with any gang-related activities.
That all changed a month later.
In November, federal authorities charged Hernandez with being part of a criminal enterprise.
- Bob Levey/Getty Images
On November 19, federal authorities announced a series of indictments against Hernandez, Jordan, and others they said are members of the Nine Trey Gangsters.
The federal lawsuit – titled United States of America v Jamel Jones, aka “Mel Murder,” Kifano Jordan, aka “Shotti,” Jensel Butler, aka “Ish,” Daniel Hernandez, aka “Tekashi 6ix 9ine,” Fugan Lovick, aka “Fu Banga,” and Faheem Walter, aka “Crippy” – accuses the crew of running a drug-dealing ring and enforcing their activities through violence. The charges include racketeering and illegal firearms possession. Federal authorities also said the group conspired to commit murder.
If convicted, Hernandez and everyone else charged could face life in prison.
He also risks being resentenced for his 2015 child-sex conviction, after prosecutors argued his gang activity violated his probation.
After a delay, “Dummy Boy” was released.
Despite the criminal charges against him, Hernandez’s newest album, “Dummy Boy,” was released on November 27. It was panned by critics but debuted at No. 2 on the US Billboard 200 chart.
In January, Hernandez pleaded guilty to the charges and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
On January 23, Hernandez entered a guilty plea to the charges related to his involvement with Trey Nine, according to court records reviewed by INSIDER. He also agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors in their investigation.
“I paid a person to shoot at a rival member of Nine Trey to scare him. The shooting took place in Manhattan. I did this to maintain or increase my own standing in Nine Trey,” Hernandez told the judge, according to a court transcript.
The plea was initially under seal, as prosecutors were given permission to arrest three other people involved in the case. The Department of Justice announced the arrests on February 1, and Hernandez’s plea became public.
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- Controversial rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine pleaded guilty for his role in a violent drug-trafficking gang and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors
- ‘I was leaking blood’: Tekashi 6ix9ine’s ex-girlfriend says he regularly assaulted her
Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.