Daniel Hernandez (born May 8, 1996), known professionally as 6ix9ine (pronounced "six-nine") or Tekashi69, is an American rapper. His musical career has been marked by an aggressive style of rapping, while his controversial public persona is characterized by his distinctive rainbow-colored hair, abundant tattoos, public feuds with fellow celebrities, and legal issues.
6ix9ine performing in June 2018
May 8, 1996
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Hernandez first became widely known in late 2017, after releasing his debut single "Gummo". The song became a national hit, reaching number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100, and enjoyed further commercial success after gaining platinum certification in the United States. He went on to release the mixtape Day69 a year later, which contained three additional singles to also chart on the Hot 100, while the mixtape itself debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 album chart.
A few months later, his single "Fefe" featuring fellow rapper Nicki Minaj and Murda Beatz, peaked at number three on the Hot 100 and acted as the lead single for his debut album, Dummy Boy (2018). Despite generally negative critical reception, the album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200.
Hernandez's outspoken public persona and legal issues have received significant media attention. He has been a frequent source of controversy for his conduct on social media and feuds with other celebrities. In 2015, he pled guilty to a felony count of use of a child in a sexual performance, and was sentenced to four years' probation and 1000 hours of community service. In 2018, he was arrested on racketeering, weapons, and drugs charges, for which he pled guilty in 2019, and is facing a possible 47-year prison sentence.
Daniel Hernandez was born on May 8, 1996, in Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York City to a mother originally from Atlixco, Puebla, Mexico and a Puerto Rican father. Hernandez grew up speaking Spanish.
Hernandez was raised with his older brother by his parents until he was 13, when his father was shot dead steps away from the family home. Following the murder, Hernandez was hospitalized for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Hernandez also suffers from asthma. Emotionally disturbed by the death of his father, Hernandez started to act out and was eventually expelled from school in the 8th grade for bad behavior. Rather than continuing his education, he started working at various jobs such as being a busboy to help his mother financially. Hernandez also dealt drugs to supplement his income, most notably selling cannabis and heroin on the streets while working at a local Brooklyn bodega. He was eventually arrested for his criminal activities and sentenced to prison time at Rikers Island, where he began to associate himself with the Nine Trey Gangsters, a prison subset of the Bloods street gang. Hernandez began his career as a rapper in 2014, releasing songs such as "69" and "Scumlife". Other early songs were taken down by YouTube.
2014–2016: Early career
Hernandez began releasing rap songs in 2014. Over the next three years, he released multiple tracks and videos with titles such as "Scumlife", "Yokai", and "Hellsing Station", drawing attention for his aggressive rapping style and use of anime as music video visuals. Many of his early songs were released by FCK THEM, a music label based in Slovakia. Gathering fame as an internet meme for his rainbow-dyed hair, excessive tattoos and rainbow-plated grills, he eventually became an associate of fellow New York rapper ZillaKami. They later feuded after Hernandez allegedly stole instrumentals and songs they had made together.
2017–present: Day69 and Dummy Boy
Hernandez rose to prominence on social media due to a July 2017 Instagram post that went viral on both Reddit and Twitter. Hernandez's commercial debut single "Gummo" was released on November 10, 2017, and eventually peaked at number 12 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It was certified platinum by the RIAA on March 5, 2018. His next single, "Kooda", debuted at number 61 on the Hot 100 the week of December 23, 2017. On January 14, 2018, Hernandez released his third single, "Keke", with Fetty Wap and A Boogie wit da Hoodie, which also charted on the Hot 100.
Shortly afterward, Hernandez announced his debut mixtape, titled Day69. The mixtape was released on February 23, 2018, and debuted at number 4 on the Billboard 200 album chart with 55,000 album-equivalent units, of which 20,000 were pure sales. According to Jon Caramanica of The New York Times, the tape was an outgrowth of the "SoundCloud rap explosion", and was notable for its willingness to deviate from hip-hop's prevailing sound. After the release of Day69, two songs from the album, "Billy" and "Rondo" both debuted on the Billboard Hot 100, with "Billy" peaking at number 50 and "Rondo" at number 73.
In April 2018, Hernandez released "Gotti", a remix of a feature he did for artist Packman titled "Got it, Got it". The song's video was released on April 16, 2018, and involved footage of Hernandez donating bundles of $100 bills to poor citizens in the Dominican Republic. The song was added to Day69 as a deluxe song and debuted at number 99 on the Billboard Hot 100 before dropping off the following week, making it his sixth consecutive Hot 100 entry.
Hernandez stirred up controversy in May 2018 when he was involved in a shooting with the entourage of fellow New York rapper Casanova as part of a feud; this led to Hernandez losing a $5 million headphone deal and being banned from the Barclays Center. After the shooting, Hernandez stopped releasing music for several months, before releasing "Tati", featuring DJ Spinking in June, which debuted at number 43 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In July 2018, Hernandez released his eighth single, "Fefe", featuring Nicki Minaj and Murda Beatz; the single debuted at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 before peaking at number three in its second week, marking Hernandez's highest entry on the chart and his first single to reach the top five of the Hot 100. "Fefe" was later certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. His subsequent singles, "Bebe" and "Stoopid", also reached the top 30 of the Hot 100.
In early October 2018, Hernandez was featured on the song "Aulos Reloaded" with French house DJ Vladimir Cauchemar and "Kick" with Danish singer Jimilian. On November 7, 2018, it was announced that his debut studio album, Dummy Boy, was to be released on November 23, but on November 21, it was announced that the album would be postponed. The album was ultimately released without notice on November 27, on all streaming services. Despite generally negative critical reception, the album became his highest charting, after debuting at number two on the Billboard 200.
Musical style and influences
Hernandez's music is generally categorized as hip hop, or more specifically sub-genres as scream rap, hardcore hip hop, SoundCloud rap, and punk rap, often incorporating elements of drill, heavy metal, hardcore punk, grime, crunk, trap music and Reggaeton. He cites influences including DMX, Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G., ZillaKami and 50 Cent.
In April 2017, Hernandez and Trippie Redd released their first collaboration, "Poles1469", and in July 2017, they released another, "Owee." Later that year, upon seeing a post from a Twitter account claiming Hernandez was a pedophile following the release of images and information by fellow rapper and Hernandez's detractor ZillaKami, Trippie Redd denounced Hernandez, saying, "I'm sorry brozay (sic), 1400 don't promote pedophiles... If we give niggas clout, we give niggas clout. It was an accident." On November 11, 2017, following a series of barbs the two traded on social media, Redd was attacked in the lobby of a New York hotel and blamed Hernandez and his crew in an Instagram live video. Hernandez later insinuated his involvement in an Instagram live video, saying, "I don't know what's going on, but your chin is bruised up. You can't just be out here calling people gay, bro. Can't be supporting false accusations, you can't be ranting on Live talking about New York. Fuck these niggas talking about, New York this, New York that, like, you just can't do that bro. You should put some ice on that chin, it's bruised up. I feel bad bro... I just want you to be my friend again," before proceeding to sing the hook from "Poles1469." He was referencing a post by Trippie Redd that showed Hernandez holding hands with another man with a caption insinuating Hernandez was a homosexual.
In February 2018, Hernandez was assaulted by several men outside a Los Angeles airport shortly after arguing with Trippie Redd on Instagram. Their feud continued to escalate with mutual Internet trolling. Hernandez later accused Trippie Redd over Instagram Live of having pedophilic sexual relations with fellow rapper Danielle Bregoli, known professionally as Bhad Bhabie, who was a minor at the time. Trippie Redd denied the allegations, and reiterated Hernandez's conviction for use of a child in sexual performance. Bhad Bhabie also took to Instagram Live to deny the claims, but admitted the two had kissed in the past, saying, "We kissed but it wasn't that serious and he was 17 at the time." However, this contests an account given by Trippie Redd to the late XXXTentacion regarding the nature of their relationship prior to it being publicly known. After the dissolution of Trippie Redd's relationship with his then-girlfriend Alexandria Laveglia, known professionally as Aylek$, Hernandez started posting videos of himself with her, hinting at sexual activity between the two to the ignominy of Trippie Redd. After Hernandez's November 2018 federal arrest on RICO charges, Trippie Redd mocked Hernandez's imprisonment in a video of him dancing to the tune of Akon's 2004 hit single "Locked Up", mimicking a jail scenario.
Throughout 2018, Hernandez was involved in feuds with a number of Chicago drill artists from the GloGang collective, including Chief Keef, Lil Reese, and Tadoe (Chief Keef's cousin), stemming from domestic abuse and relationship issues relating to fellow rapper Cuban Doll, who was in a relationship with Tadoe but also friendly with Hernandez. The two continued to feud on social media, with Hernandez posting a video of his semi-romantic vacation to Hawaii with Cuban Doll to Instagram, and driving up to Chief Keef's old neighborhood and taunting him, as well as contacting Aereon Clark, known professionally as Slim Danger, the mother of one of Chief Keef's sons, and recording himself buying her designer clothes and verbally taunting him, and later receiving fellatio from her. On May 8, 2018, Trippie Redd previewed the song "I Kill People" on Instagram, featuring Chief Keef and Tadoe, which was aimed as a diss toward Hernandez and Cuban Doll. On June 2, 2018, Chief Keef was fired upon outside the W Hotel in New York City but not hit; no injuries resulted from the incident. Due to the ongoing feud, Hernandez was confirmed to be under investigation by the New York Police Department for possible involvement with the incident, despite being in Los Angeles at the time. In February 2019, Hernandez pled guilty to ordering the shooting of Chief Keef. Hernandez offered his associate Kintea "Kooda B" McKenzie $20,000 to shoot at Chief Keef.
Personal and legal issues
Hernandez has a daughter, Saraiyah (born March 20, 2013), with Sara Molina. On the night of November 11, 2018, just days before his arrest on RICO charges, Hernandez allegedly struck Molina once in the face during an argument after being confronted about cheating on her. She questioned him after finding provocative text messages from Sarah ("Jade") Wattley, a woman Hernandez was seeing at the time. The incident left Molina with a bruised lip.[unreliable source?]
Hernandez's criminal behavior has been the subject of controversy. One notable example is a child sex charge from 2015. In October 2015, Hernandez pled guilty to a felony count of use of a child in a sexual performance. He was charged with three counts of the offense after a February 2015 incident in which he had physical contact with a 13-year-old girl and later distributed videos of the incident online as part of a music video. Three videos are described in the criminal complaint against Hernandez. In the first, "the child engages in oral sexual intercourse with the separately charged defendant Taquan Anderson, while the defendant, Daniel Hernandez, stands behind the child making a thrusting motion with his pelvis and smacking her on her buttocks. The child is nude in the video." The other videos show the child sitting on Hernandez's lap while Anderson gropes her breasts, and later sitting naked across the laps of Anderson and Hernandez.
In a November 2017 interview, Hernandez claimed to have had "no sexual contact" with the girl and denied knowing she was a minor. Hernandez also claimed to have been 17 at the time of the incident, though the birth date listed in the complaint against him and in his statement to the police shows he was 18.
Under his plea deal, Hernandez must obtain his GED, refrain from posting sexually explicit or violent images of women or children to social media, and not commit another crime for two years, among other injunctions. If met, the plea deal will give Hernandez three years' probation and he will not have to register as a sex offender; if not, Hernandez could face up to three years in prison. In a January 2018 court hearing, it was revealed that Hernandez had failed his GED test, but had his sentencing adjourned until April 10, 2018. The court date was later postponed, reportedly because the court did not have a copy of Hernandez's GED. Prior to his sexual misconduct charges, Hernandez served jail time as a minor for assault and the sale of heroin.
On July 12, 2018, Hernandez was arrested in New York for an outstanding warrant related to an incident where he allegedly choked a 16-year-old in Houston's Galleria mall in January 2018. All charges were eventually dropped after the teenager decided not to take legal action.
In the early morning hours of July 22, 2018, Hernandez was kidnapped, beaten, and robbed by three armed assailants in Brooklyn. He had finished shooting the music video for "FEFE" (featuring Nicki Minaj and Murda Beatz) when the assailants grabbed him outside his home and pistol-whipped him. The robbers eventually took over $750,000 in custom jewelry and approximately $35,000 in cash. Hernandez escaped from their vehicle and summoned police help via a stranger. He was taken to the hospital. In February 2019, Nine Trey member Anthony "Harv" Ellison was indicted for the July kidnapping and assault.
Due to his continuing legal problems in light of his plea bargain, the Manhattan district attorney's office announced Hernandez could face up to three years in prison and possible sex offender registration for his 2015 case, but he was instead sentenced to four years' probation starting in October 2018, with one clause being that he cannot utter the phrase "Treyway" in public as it was deemed to promote gang activity, as well as 1,000 hours of community service. On October 27, 2018, two members of Hernandez's entourage were involved in a shooting in Manhattan and were subsequently charged with gang assault.
On November 18, 2018, Hernandez, his former faux-manager Kifano "Shotti" Jordan, and three other associates were arrested. Hernandez is charged with federal RICO and firearms charges, including conspiracy to murder and armed robbery, and faces up to life in prison. He is allegedly part of "a violent sect of the Bloods" known as the Nine Trey Gangsters. Hernandez's attorney, Lance Lazzaro, advocated for bail for his client on the condition that Hernandez surrender his passport, pay a little under $2 million for bail, and be placed under house arrest, but the judge denied bail, keeping Hernandez in custody on the grounds that he may still be a danger to the community even if those bail conditions were met. Hernandez's legal team plans to appeal that decision. He was held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn under general population before being moved to another facility due to security reasons, as Hernandez had multiple altercations with fellow prisoners, including those belonging to the Crips street gang.
On February 1, 2019, Hernandez pled guilty to nine charges. He is due to be sentenced on January 24, 2020, and possibly faces a mandatory sentence of 47 years in prison. On February 16, 2019, a plea deal document revealed that the rapper could avoid jail time in exchange for his willingness to testify against fellow gang members in concurrent investigations.
On February 10, 2019, a video surfaced of Hernandez in an anti-violence against women commercial for Romantic Depot, a New York based sex shop and lingerie store chain. The commercial video was released on Valentine’s Day and went viral on TMZ and other celebrity news sites.
In March 2018, Hernandez visited the Dominican Republic to shoot a music video. While there, Hernandez handed out $100 bills to residents in the area. Hernandez stated on Instagram: "I grew up not having shit in Brooklyn... Everyone knows me for giving back in my community BUT as a Latino I feel the need to help my people. I’m not Dominican... But we are ALL ONE."
On October 22, 2018, Hernandez met and spent the day with Tati, an eight-year-old Brooklyn girl terminally ill with brain cancer whose wish was to meet him. Hernandez took her out for a shopping spree.
- Studio albums
- Dummy Boy (2018)
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