Tekashi 6ix9nine Testifies as Government’s Star Witness
Tekashi 6ix9ine (also Tekashi69) took the stand on Sept. 17 in federal court and bared everything. The rapper—whose real name is Daniel Hernandez—testified as a witness for the government against two of his former associates.
With the rainbow colors fading from his hair and the over-the-top persona gone, his first day of testimony was filled with gang tales, name dropping, and self-admissions. He was arrested last year and has since flipped as part of deal.
What led to Tekashi 6ix9ine’s federal arrest and court cases
6ix9ine established himself as an Instagram star and YouTube personality shortly after getting his start as a SoundCloud rapper in 2014. Between then and 2018, he shot to fame with the rainbow hair, grill, “69” tattoos, and trolling antics on social media.
He gained attention for his music, beefs, and criminal charges, with one of the most notable being a sex felony case involving a 13-year-old girl, Vulture reports. 6ix9ine, a Brooklyn native, linked up with a sect of the Bloods street gang called Nine Trey and began including them in his music videos.
For the past few years, he’s used his affiliation with them to back his beefs with other rappers like Trippie Redd and Chief Keef, and along with a crew, engaged in a number of crimes. His IG account was full of videos and photos showing some of his exploits.
Last year, things came to a head after the rapper was kidnapped over a dispute. Following that incident, there was a drive-by shooting at the set for one of his music videos.
In November 2018, 6ix9ine and other members of the Nine Trey gang—including his former manager—were arrested on federal racketeering and firearms charges. The investigation involved local and federal authorities, and the rapper has been in custody ever since.
Rapper drops more than a dime while testifying
Already in trouble with the law for multiple court cases, 6ix9ine is facing up to life in prison for the federal crimes. His testimony on Tuesday revealed that he became a government witness that day after he was arrested.
He’s been pit against Anthony Ellison, a member of Nine Trey and former confidante of 6ix9ine who’s been pegged as the person behind his kidnapping and robbery. He’s also testifying against former associate Alijermiah Mack.
According to the New York Times, 6ix9ine told prosecutors that as a member of the Bloods, he and others “participated in a lot of crimes. Robberies, assaults, drugs.” He talked about gang signs, symbols, shootings, the gang hierarchy, and what led to his feud with Nine Trey.
He wanted to part ways with the gang over his career and a personal matter involving an ex-girlfriend. But Ellison and Mack maintain that Tekashi staged the kidnapping for publicity, per The Associated Press.
6ix9ine told prosecutors that he only used the gang for clout and protection, but was never initiated. In exchange, he threw money their way:
His job was to “just keep making hits and be the financial support for the gang … so they could buy guns and stuff like that.” What did he gain? “My career. I got the street credibility. The videos, the music, the protection – all of the above.”
During his testimony, he also identified his former manager and Treyway label CEO, Kifano “Shottie” Jordan, as a fellow Nine Trey member, and Trippie Redd as a rival member of the Five-Nine Brims.
How Tekashi69’s life will change post-testimony
With a reputation as a snitch, 6ix9ine already lost a number of friends in the industry and in his personal life. In exchange for his testimony, prosecutors are expected to knock some time off of his sentence but it’s highly probable he’ll have to go into witness protection.
50 Cent and Snoop Dogg have expressed their disdain for the rapper, with Snoop posting rat emojis under his photo. Meek Mill and others agreed.
Musically, 6ix9ine still has fans, and his Instagram and YouTube accounts are being flooded with a mixture of rat images and support. After his two-hour turn on the stand on Tuesday, it’s believed he may have to testify again and he’s being protected while in jail where gangs are prevalent.
As for the music, who knows? Inmates have been known to drop songs from behind bars, but if he has to go into federal protection, that’s a different story. 6ix9ine is expected to be sentenced in January 2020.