He to be SoundCloud rap’s most infamous star. However the very same instincts the made him substantial may placed him in jail for years



One day in the summer of 2017, Daniel Hernandez, far better known together the rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine, showed up outside a Brooklyn row home to shoot the video clip that would certainly make him a star, and eventually ruin his life. Against the menacing strains that his famous hit “Gummo,” he and also a crowd of men in red bandannas danced, waved guns and made cryptic icons with their hands. Hernandez, clad in a eco-friendly tracksuit, thrashed his rainbow hair and also bared his multicolored teeth. At one point, he eliminated his own bandanna to show off a recent tattoo that would come to be his most identifying feature: the numerals “6” and also “9” the covered half his forehead.

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The tattoo was component of a personal rebrand that shocked Hernandez’s friends once he debuted that on Instagram. “I didn’t also know he had done the shit!” says Andrew “TrifeDrew” Green, that directed the “Gummo” video. “At the moment, ns knew there to be no transforming back.” just a couple of months before, 6ix9ine had actually still to be Danny the deli clerk, with greatly unmarked skin, black hair and also preposterous dreams of stardom. Climate the dye job; then the tattoos; climate the complete Tekashi.


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In his brief career, Tekashi 6ix9ine captured America’s attention v an escalating series of provocations and controversies. He came to be hip-hop’s troll prince, a understand at sparking outrage and bottling it into a feverish popularity. It’s a playbook that’s been used before — 50 Cent, because that example, dissed his means to rap’s throne in the beforehand 2000s — but the rate at i m sorry 6ix9ine found himself with an audience the millions might only have actually happened in the smartphone era. Friend didn’t need to like him; you just had to have actually an opinion. “He is the Donald trump card of the music industry,” Elliot Grainge, the CEO of Tekashi’s label, 10K Projects, said me critical summer. “We look in ~ the data — 80 percent that the comments are hate. However if we proved you the analytics on that writes the hate comments, they’re the ones that go come the shows and buy the T-shirts!”

The “Gummo” video launched Hernandez on three parallel trajectories — one that made that famous; one the made that notorious; and also one the may finish his career. “Gummo,” it is provided by the bizarre, unforgettable 6ix9ine image, to be a famous sensation that went platinum in just a couple of months. The surge in popularity would bring about the uncovering that Hernandez’s pre-fame life, consisting of a guilty plea for child-sex charges, a instance that would define Hernandez in the public eye. Yet it was his arrival to Kifano Jordan, a.k.a. “Shotti,” that would certainly be the many consequential component of the summer work in Brooklyn. Shotti to be allegedly a member that the ripe Trey Gangsta Bloods, a subset that the violent jail gang established at brand-new York’s Rikers Island prison in 1993. He created the group of menacing young men in the video, and in time would end up being Tekashi’s unofficialize manager. Later, authorities allege, he would threaten Tekashi’s life.

People who knew Hernandez well agree that, prior to he met Shotti, the hadn’t been connected in corridor life at all. Yet just more than 12 month after that video clip shoot in Brooklyn, Hernandez would be in a prison cell encountering 32 years to life top top charges that included equipped robbery and attempted murder.

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69 Problems: In a Manhattan courtroom on October 26th, 2018, for a plea violation. Tekashi would prevent incarceration, yet that evening, at a dinner celebrating the judge’s decision, a gun battle would an episode between Shotti’s crew and his label CEO Elliot Grainge’s security team. And within a month, Teakashi would find himself in a much bigger trouble. Photo credit: Jefferson Siegel/The new York Times/Redux

Jefferson Siegel/The new York Times/Redux


His friend all referred to as him Danny. Come them, the wasn’t Tekashi or 6ix9ine, even after he put 14 song on the Billboard chart and also started hanging out v Kanye West. He was Danny Hernandez, from Locust Avenue, in Bushwick, who worked the respond to at the continue to be Fresh Grill and Deli, that picked fights ~ above Instagram, and who resided in a overfilled two-bedroom apartment in a derelict tenement. “His mom’s house . . . that was, like, him, his mom, his brother girlfriend, his girlfriend and his kid,” claims Andrew, who visited him often.


Danny preferred to needle civilization endlessly. Numerous of his closest friends had once been enemies; countless of his opponents were once his closestly friends. Virtually always, a very first interaction v him was negative. He’d discover someone on society media, leaving nasty comments, and also dare them to fight him. Then, once they ran right into him in person, he’d disarm them with kindness. That wasn’t threaten at every in actual life — around five feet six and 130 pounds, v a boyish demeanor and also an impudent smile. Danny would certainly quash the web beef, define that that was every a misunderstanding, and maybe also apologize. Then: lifelong friends.

Danny’s biological father had actually abandoned the family members when Danny to be an infant. His mother, that was born in Mexico, told him the his adoptive Puerto Rican father was actually his biological dad, according to a radio interview Danny provided on The Angie Martinez Show. Danny at some point learned the truth about his stepfather, but it didn’t impact their relationship and Danny ongoing to define himself together “half Puerto Rican, fifty percent Mexican.” They were close, and also Danny referred to him, even afterward, together his “real” father.

In at an early stage 2010, as soon as Danny was 13, his adoptive father was shot and killed exterior their apartment, ~ above a busy street, in the center of the day. He’d bring away a pilgrimage to the grocery store and also invited Danny along, however Danny decided to stay home. The crime was never ever solved.

Not long after, Danny began acting out, and was expelled native the eighth grade. His household struggled financially. Together with his older brother, he worked odd tasks in Bushwick, yet was repetitively sacked. He never attended high school, not also for a day.

Last August, while report a story about Grainge, Danny’s label boss, I had a five-minute conversation through Danny via FaceTime. At the time, his job looked bright, and he said me with confidence the he would shortly be the number-one rapper inthe world. However when ns asked him around his challenging teenage years, the told me other odd: “For two months, ns didn’t speak nothing come no one,” that said. “Not a word.”

In 2015, Danny’s girlfriend gained pregnant. Having lost two fathers himself, Danny was identified to support his child. But living in one apartment with 5 other people, through no education and a minimum-wage job, he had couple of economic prospects. He needed to do a lot of money, quickly. He determined to become a rapper.


Danny had actually not previously presented much attention in laboratory music, and he was no a herbal talent, but he had actually the perspective nailed. He’d checked out the an answer to his social media provocations, and also he sensed that this could be leveraged to develop a larger audience. If that was not the most technically gifted that performers, when it involved trolling, he was Mozart.

But Danny was also a Christian, a true believer, together his mother had raised him, and also during the darkest components of his life, the would revolve to faith for help. Having chose that music to be the way forward, that appealed for divine assistance. As his job was just starting, he told me, he would walk the grimy highways of Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant, muttering to himself in delivery — “Please, God, adjust my life. Please, God, make me famous.”

***

Much of what i know around Danny comes from Andrew “TrifeDrew” Green, among Danny’s closest friends and also most vital collaborators. Andrew, a previous skateboarder, is lanky, athletic and handsome, with a gentle sense of irony and also a nonchalant demeanor. He and also Danny met ~ above Instagram in the beforehand 2010s. Danny had trolled Andrew, leaving nasty comment on a shared friend’s feed. The two acquired into it, trading barbs online, which escalated easily into threats. “I in reality pulled increase on him, to see if he want to thump,” Andrew tells me. “He didn’t show.”

Two mainly later, castle reconnected and also Danny do peace. Andrew realized the the taunting was a sort of immature courtship, and also that Danny admired Andrew’s videos and wanted to work-related with him. “It was simply to obtain my attention,” Andrew says. “He to be actually just a tiny smartass. Simply funny, goofy, joking and laughing.”

Danny described his vision come Andrew. His rap take care of was Tekashi69. The “Tekashi” component was influenced by Japanese anime, of which Danny to be a large fan. Six-nine was much more mysterious — it to be the sex number, obviously, yet in that is interlocking yin-yang digits, Danny had uncovered something deeper the he never completely explained. He was obsessed v the number and, even before the tattoos, was wearing outlandish sporting activities jerseys through the number emblazoned top top the back, and also the native ASSHOLE and also STD’S in the fields for the player’s name.


One of Danny’s an initial songs together Tekashi69, titled “69,” released in 2014. Musically, it to be half-decent — an aggro-trap hybrid as effective as it was anonymous. The video clip featured graphic clips that pornographic hentai, a suite the Lamborghinis, and Danny showing up to gain a blow project while Nirvana’s “Come together You Are” played in the background. Danny have the right to be viewed receiving one of his first tattoos: a bone font top top his inside forearm that check out SCUM.

S.C.U.M. To be an acronym — culture Can’t understand Me — the tag heat of S.C.U.M. Gang, a new York rap collective that Danny associated with. (Standout S.C.U.M. Corridor rapper Zillakami shoot videos that friends appearing to smoke angel dust.) Andrew, who was angling to it is in Danny’s videographer, wasn’t too many excited by the “69” video, which was shocking yet visually incoherent. That was much more impressed that Danny, who’d never ever had more than a few dollars come his name, managed to finagle the Lamborghinis.

The “69” video didn’t bring the sort of significant label attention Danny was hoping for, but it didn’t stifle his commitment, either. After it to be shot, he acquired a series of more provocative tattoos: dozens of tiny “69”s, spaced at regular intervals, favor leopard spots, up the lengths the both his arms.

“Wizard” Lee Weinberg is an affable dude from long Island that runs a ramshackle independent record studio in reduced Manhattan. For basement rates, he’ll record, mix and master her album, and also for a lengthy time, he to be S.C.U.M. Gang’s go-to engineer. That was likewise one the Danny’s “Day Ones,” meaning he knew Danny prior to the Tekashi identification tookover. Indigenous the start, Wizard to be responsible for smoothing the end the rougher edges in Danny’s sound. Andrew, too, became a an important contributor — a talented rapper with his own career that was now co-writing Danny’s songs.


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The unofficially Manager: Tekashi with Kifano Jordan, better known as “Shotti,” who is allegedly a made member of the ripe Trey Bloods, a prison gang. He would come to be a crucial figure in Tekashi’s life. Photo credit: Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Johnny Nunez/WireImage


By the begin of 2015, Danny, then 18, to be evolving into a competent, commercially viable record artist. Yet then he did miscellaneous horrible. In February, the traveled v a rapper called Taquan Anderson to a trap house in Harlem come shoot footage for a new video. Instead, the two finished up making a series of sex tapes, one reflecting a nude young girl lying across their laps; one more showing her fellating Taquan if Danny stand behind her, making advertise motions and smacking she on the buttocks. The video was posted to Instagram, and also Danny was tagged in it. He climate reposted it to his very own account.


Soon, Danny uncovered himself talk to Detective Maureen Sheehan the the NYPD one-of-a-kind Victims Squad. Danny admitted it was him in the video clip and that he’d post it to social media. She notified him that the girl was 13 years old; she mother had seen the video clip and report it come the police. Danny to be arrested, and also by his account, his bail was collection at $100,000 — a sum he can never expect to bought — and he invested the next few months in Rikers Island jail.

The prosecutor to be threatening year in prison, but Danny’s lawyer native the legal Aid culture negotiated a deal. The wasn’t bad, as deals go: In exchange for pleading guilty come a felony count of “use of a child in a sex-related performance,” Danny to be conditionally exit on one year’s probation, and also temporarily forgive the sex-offender registry. He was offered a series of needs to meet: acquire his GED, avoid acquiring arrested, create the girl and also her family members a letter that apology, finish 300 hours of neighborhood service, and also attend outpatient mental-health treatment. If that did all of this, he would avoid jail time and stay turn off the it is registered permanently.

In the years complying with the incident, Danny make a range of lame excuses. He declared that the was just 17 at the time of the occurrence (he wasn’t). He claimed that the was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time (untrue). He claimed that he’d just met the girl and also the other male in the video clip (irrelevant), and also he asserted the girl had actually told him she was 19 (please). In his more self-pitying moments, he would current himself together the victim in the situation, do comparisons come Meek Mill, the rapper who had spent 10 years on probation — and served multiple jail sentences — stemming from one drug charge.

It’s challenging to imagine what restitution would have actually looked choose in this case, but it’s same to speak Danny never paid it. Instead, he hidden the incident and also focused top top his career. Yet he’d left a loosened end. Rumors began to swirl that Zillakami, his girlfriend from S.C.U.M. Gang, had paid a portion of his bail — as much as the complete $100,000, though Andrew states it was more like two or three grand. A rift opened between the two. According to Wizard, Zillakami accused Danny of stealing the money, and also Danny began taunting Zillakami in Instagram Stories and interviews. “If that’s true and also you bailed me out,” he said in one interview, “you’s a bitch, since who bails the end a rapist?” One day, to represent from S.C.U.M. Corridor approached Wizard and also delivered an ultimatum: Choose between working with us or working v Danny.


Wizard determined Danny. He had heard rumors about the sex tapes, but he didn’t feel that Danny was in reality a pedophile. Also, the sessions he’d held with Danny and Andrew had actually a sensational musical power he hadn’t proficient before. “I went with my gut,” Wizard tells me. “I check out a lot of talented musicians, but his gift because that marketing, the Tekashi69 identity . . . I’d never ever seen anything prefer it. I believed Danny to be going to it is in a star.” His decision — to ignore Danny’s misdeeds in favor of his obvious charisma — was one plenty of in the music market would repeat in the adhering to years.

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Danny take it a many crazy risks, and he driven those approximately him to carry out the same. Sometimes, he and also Andrew would certainly come up with sufficient money for one-way tickets to California, where they to be featured on underground tracks. “We’d it is in hustling, scraping increase money come shoot a video in L.A. Or some shit,” Andrew says. “We would certainly only have actually money because that one-way flights, and also maybe sufficient to buy two bags the ramen noodles once we obtained there.” Earning $500 or therefore a feature, they constantly managed to do it home.

By 2017, Danny to be attracting attention from established labels, as SoundCloud rap emerged from underground. Numerous breakout stars signed significant deals roughly that time, consisting of XXXTentacion, Lil Pump and Trippie Redd. Danny knew many of these artists, and also producers started to usage his aggressive energy to throw part flair top top otherwise dull tracks.

Among the first to check out Danny’s potential to be Elliot Grainge, climate 23, the CEO the 10K Projects, the independent label that had actually signed Trippie Redd. Grainge — tall, polite, English — compliment from a royal family of music management. His father, Lucian Grainge, the CEO of universal Music Group, to be the industry’s most an effective man. His uncle Nigel Grainge had signed Sinéad O’Connor come her very first record deal; his cousin Nick Shymansky discovered Amy Winehouse. Elliot, looking to make his own name in the old family trade, was targeting generation SoundCloud. Once I inquiry Elliot his thoughts around the genre, his eyes and nostrils flared: “This is punk rock.”

Early in 2017, Trippie invite Danny to California to function in a song called “Poles1469.” The song at some point went gold, and also a bidding war erupted to authorize 6ix9ine, one in i beg your pardon Grainge couldn’t financially compete. What he might offer rather was total creative control. After several rounds the negotiations, Danny signed with 10K, forgoing larger breakthroughs from Warner Bros. And Sony.


Danny got to job-related immediately, return to Wizard’s grimy studio through Andrew and also several hundreds beats from miscellaneous producers. Among these was the work-related of Pi’erre Bourne, most renowned for producing Playboi Carti’s “Magnolia.” Bourne’s brand-new beat was initially meant because that Trippie; Danny would insurance claim Trippie had given it come him together a gift, though Trippie would later claim it to be stolen. Whatever the case, it to be a scorcher that set a whining, high-pitched minor-key melody over insistent, steering hand claps.

Danny turned it into “Gummo,” his breakout hit. The lyrics, co-written through Andrew, were a share endorsement that the thrills of equipped robbery, however Danny’s upset vocals, barked in ~ maximum volume right into Wizard’s distortion filters, climate layered end Bourne’s superbly chilling beat, provided the song a distinct flavor that menace. Andrew says that the team hadn’t intended to record such a threatening anthem, but the song’s tone had arised organically native the studio process. “We functioned on ‘Gummo’ for nearly four months,” that says. “We do the efforts a bunch of different flows, a bunch that cadences. The brand didn’t think in it, yet we just knew once we heard it.”

Grainge, in L.A., tried come shelve “Gummo,” suggesting that the gangbanger photo wasn’t ideal for Tekashi, who, in his mind, had actually the potential to it is in something much more like the court jester the pop. Yet Danny, expanding the creative-control i in his contract, overruled the — this to be his image, he insisted, and also this to be his sound. Grainge was required to acquiesce. Currently all that continued to be was come shoot the video.

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Around the moment “Gummo” was released, Trippie Redd and 6ix9ine turned on each other. Ns heard contending explanations because that the rift — the Trippie envied Danny’s success; the Danny had stolen the beat for “Gummo”; that there was a dispute around a girl. Whatever the reason, Trippie soon uncovered Danny’s weak spot and exposed him. Zillakami, possibly still angry around the bail money, posted about the underage-sex-tape indictment, come which Trippie apparently alerted his millions of followers in a now-deleted video.


The 6ix9ine identity, previously simply provocative, was now radioactive. “Gummo” was released the same month the #MeToo activity emerged, and after decades of spring the various other way, nobody, anywhere, was now willing come normalize a convicted underage sex abuser. The struggled to obtain radio airplay and also TV appearances. Also in the historically more permissive human being of music management, nobody wanted to work-related with Danny. Because that the remainder that Danny’s quick career, his sole lifeline to the legitimate recording sector was Grainge. “I didn’t know around the charges, however I don’t regret signing him,” Grainge speak me. To Grainge, 6ix9ine had promise. “The meaning of a star is once someone to walk in the room and also they kind of brighten up the room. It’s an energy they give off, the I’m really sensitive towards. He had that.”

And however the doxxing of Danny’s child-sex instance wasn’t the worst thing to result from the “Gummo” video shoot. The worst thing, according to many sources, to be the older guy he met top top the set that day. Kifano Jordan, 36, was much better known as “Shotti.” He had a familiar disposition — “a real stand-up guy,” claims a girlfriend of Danny’s, there is no irony — but he was likewise allegedly a make member the the ripe Trey Bloods through a document of arrests for drug charges.

At the moment “Gummo” to be released, Danny had actually a manager, whom he’d hired through an combine of XXXTentacion. But in early 2018, Danny fired him, leaving self in a vulnerable position: back he to be a very successful recording artist, the blacklist prevented him from obtaining competent experienced representation. In February 2018, Danny instead made Shotti his unofficialize manager.

Danny’s associates question specifically how much controlling Shotti in reality did. “He wasn’t no manager,” Andrew tells me, climate blows a raspberry. Grainge agrees: “That’s no his manager. That’s his friend.” Shotti might not be reached for this story, but several civilization tell me he think of himself together a modern Suge Knight. Soon, Danny embraced a strident gangbanger image. He started yelling “Treyway” in Instagram articles — a nickname for Shotti’s company platform, but also likely a referral to the ripe Trey nation. His music began to promote gang national politics enthusiastically, specifically “Blood Walk,” a remix of wealthy the Kid’s “Plug Walk” that obtained from Snoop Dogg: “I save a red flag, hanging the end my backside/Only on the ideal side/Yeah, that’s the Blood side.”


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Instagram-Ready: A surveillance-video tho of a robbery near Times Square in April. Prosecutors allege that Shotti was present and Tekashi was filming the robbery native a car parked outside. Photograph courtesy the the U.S. Attorney’s Office

U.S. Attorney"s Office


For his friends, it to be an uncertain turn. The gangster image in his ahead videos to be a front, as fake as pro wrestling. In reality, he to be a struggling teenage dad who had actually earned his money slicing ham in ~ the stay Fresh Grill. The distinction, despite — the Danny’s association v the nine Trey Bloods was every an act to sell documents — would quickly come to be murkier, and also eventually beside the point at all.

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After “Gummo,” Danny placed 13 much more songs top top the charts. His songs have actually been streamed much more than 2.6 billion times, follow to the music analytics firm BuzzAngle. He’s garnered an ext than 15 million followers on Instagram, and also was in ~ one point in the service’s height 100 users.The popular consensus was summarized in a Youtube comment: “This shit go bang yet it’s lowering my IQ.”As his job progressed, his intuitive iconography became cartoon shorthand because that an arising demographic. Top top 4chan, a crudely attracted image quartered millennials into distinct generations: “Boomers” (post-30), “Bloomers” (late 20s), “Doomers” (early 20s) and also teenage “Zoomers,” also known as Generation Z. The last had actually rainbow hair and a forehead tattoo the a “69.” Online, 6ix9ine to be the challenge of a generation.

In interviews, Danny argued that the didn’t have to shot very tough to do a hit and also downplayed his technical rapping ability. “I didn’t put no initiative into the shit,” that told radio hold Angie Martinez adhering to the release of “Fefe,” his cooperation with Nicki Minaj the hit Number Three. Grainge was eager to corroborate the story. “He’s been to the record studio perhaps 15 times, never ever for an ext than an hour or so,” Grainge says. “And he’s got 15 hits!”

But Wizard tells me the rapper was in reality a studio perfectionist who agonized end every bar. Andrew says something similar: Together, he and Danny would lay down a series of lyrical ideas, then spend hrs obsessively line-editing them. Thematically, the product never strayed much from the gangster archetype, yet they weren’t in search of range; they were looking for hooks. “He focuses on every bar, and he can see if something’s fire or trash,” magician says. “If it’s trash, he’ll emphasis on it. His real talent . . . basically, it’s assessing whether things space trash or fire.”


Danny’s songs were simple, but they to be catchy, and short, too, finishing just before the listener might get bored. In the months adhering to “Gummo,” Danny confirmed surprising versatility, switching from belligerent screaming come a hoarse, emotionally whisper come AutoTuned Spanish-language pop. The disconnect in between his voicing, the lyrics and also the production created a feeling of inner conflict, and at his best, Danny pulled off one of the hardest tricks in songcraft: he made the listener feel multiple emotions at once.

Throughout 2017, as his musicianship to be improving, Danny doubled under on his currently daring social media strategy. This expected tattoos, many them: spiderwebs top top his jaw, huge “69”s ~ above his neck, chest and stomach, and also in a Gothic touch, the torture-porn icon Jigsaw, native the observed franchise, ~ above his appropriate cheek. (Naturally, the face on his challenge had its very own “69” tattoo.) It also meant beef, tons and tons the beef, through anyone and everyone he might find, consisting of 50 Cent, chief Keef, YG, Ludacris, Casanova and the Game.

Violence began to torment 6ix9ine’s public appearances, especially after he attached up v Shotti and also his entourage. Over there was video clip of gunfire exterior a nightclub in Minnesota, following a chaotic appearance wherein someone threw an ice cream bucket at the rapper. There to be a video clip of a brawl in the the end loading zone in ~ LAX, whereby a fistfight showing up to involve 6ix9ine spilled the end onto a busy street. And also there was apparently gunfire at a video shoot in Beverly Hills for a song featuring 6ix9ine, Minaj and Kanye West. Minaj’s dressing room was reportedly hit by a bullet from an unknown assailant before she arrived. It to be unclear even if it is Danny was directly affiliated in these incidents, however his consistent incitements top top Instagram developed a perpetually volatile situation. Andrew began to worry about his friend. “Almost every time i was around him, ns was like, ‘You don’t gotta execute this gang-sta shit, bro,’ ” he says. “He has actually rainbow hair, for God’s sake! that could’ve simply been a star.”

Danny frequently posted obnoxious Instagram content where he presented his high value jewelry, consisting of a diamond-encrusted necklace of the Jigsaw marionette, which, the claimed, had expense him $300,000. “Someone you re welcome come snatch my chain so mine project might sell more,” he composed in one caption. In July 2018, he to be kidnapped in ~ gunpoint, beaten and also robbed. In his recounting to Angie Martinez, he said the incident had actually been an within job: His auto had to be rammed indigenous behind, an assailant drew a gun, then forced him into an additional vehicle. He to be then thrust to his apartment — his captors currently knew wherein it to be — wherein he was required to wait in the ago seat when the thieves raided his house for jewels, terrorizing his girlfriend and also child. Danny states he controlled to escape by jumping the end of the relocating car.


Grainge attempted to persuade Danny to relocate to Los Angeles, arguing he rental a home in a ar like Calabasas, whereby he can be next-door neighbors with Kim Kardashian and also Drake. “I don’t think he have the right to be for sure in brand-new York City,” Grainge called me in August. “Not in Bushwick.” Danny, loyal to his “Day Ones,” turned that down.

In the spring and also summer that 2018, Danny to be arrested 3 times, first for driving with a rely license, then for assaulting a police officer, then in link with an assault at a shopping center in Houston, where he’d allegedly choked a 16-year-old who’d taken his picture. The arrests violated the terms of the plea transaction in his sex-tape case; he had likewise repeatedly fail his GED exam. In October, Danny do a request for clemency at his sentencing hearing. In the courtroom to be Grainge; so, too, to be members the Shotti’s entourage, pull in subtle shades the red.

The prosecutor asked for at least a year in prison.

The referee spared the incarceration, rather issuing four years probation ~ above the problem he not get arrested again or associate with well-known gang members. Come celebrate, Grainge took Danny out to dinner in ~ Philippe, a narrow, swanky Chinese restaurant in midtown Manhattan, whose exclusive dining rooms regularly host new York’s athletic and also musical celebrities. Shotti and also his crew attempted to attend, but were denied entrance through Grainge’s security. According to his lawyer, Danny bailed top top the scene.

An argument damaged out in between Shotti, v his formation of thugs, and also 6ix9ine’s princeling label boss, v his security information of retired cops. A member the Shotti’s crew bashed who in the head through a chair. A security guard working for Grainge pulled the end a gun and also shot one of his assailants in the stomach. It was a custody battle for rap’s trouble child.

***

In November, three weeks after ~ the fracas in ~ Philippe, Danny announced top top Instagram the he to be firing his entire management team, meaning Shotti and his entourage, although that never pointed out them by name. In a radio interview, that attributed the firings come financial mismanagement. His lawyer explained it come me this way: “He make the decision after ~ the referee granted that a 2nd chance. The Phillipe incident . . . he was given ago the ideal days of his life, and he take it that second chance.” By that point, the feds had already taken an interest in Danny; a find of his residence in September had retrieved one illegal firearm and also a backpack that had been reported steal by the victim that an equipped robbery.


The escalating situation put Danny in ~ risk; one does no simply leave gang life with an Instagram post. Danny’s partners got nervous. Wizard, assembling the final reduced of 6ix9ine’s debut album, began locking himself in the studio. Andrew, Danny’s oldest and also closest collaborator, distanced himself from the scene and focused top top launching his very own career.

Two job after the announcement, Danny to be approached through the FBI, who told him the his life remained in danger. The turned out that Shotti to be the target that an open up federal investigation and also that, because that the past couple of weeks, regulation enforcement had wiretapped the phones the his crew. They’d been hearing chatter from corridor members arguing that a hit had actually been authorized top top Danny’s life — that he was in line to it is in “super–violated.” follow to a leaked transcript of the wiretap, Mel Murda, one of Shotti’s associates, to be overheard suggesting that Shotti “don’t obtained nothing to lose no more.” The FBI offered Danny the protection. That declined.

An indictment quickly followed: a task force consisting that the ATF, landscape Security and also the NYPD had been structure a RICO case against Shotti and his crew for months. (RICO refers to the Racketeer Influenced and also Corrupt institutions Act, a federal legislation used to prosecute acts performed as component of an continuous criminal organization.) Shotti and also four members that his crew were arrested — together was Daniel Hernandez. The arrests, according to a statement native U.S. Lawyer Michael Longyear, were prompted by a fear that Shotti and his crew would certainly attempt to assault Danny in a publicly place, and also the authorities would certainly be can not to contain the situation.


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Powder Keg: Violence started to pester 6ix9ine’s appearances particularly after he connected up v Shotti. Photograph credit: Gonzales Photo/Jarle H. Moe/PYMCA/Avalon/UIG via Getty Images

Gonzales Photo/Jarle H. Moe/PYMCA/Avalon/UIG/Getty Images


Famous rappers have actually been charged with major felonies in the past, but the indictment brought against Danny and his crew has actually no criterion in the background of hip-hop. The alleged one extraordinary range of corridor activity, including drug dealing, weapons charges, equipped robbery and also two attempted murders. There to be the April incident at Brooklyn’s Barclays center where, follow to the indictment, Danny and his crew were affiliated in a dust-up v rival rapper Casanova. A member that Shotti’s crew fired a shot — no one was struggle — and also was later on arrested. There was the July shooting in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where, the indictment alleged, Danny and his crew planned a struggle on a disrespectful street rival. (The shooter missed, hitting a bystander.) There was the equipped robbery in April close to Times Square; the U.S. Attorney’s office declared that a group of nine Treys to be the perpetrators and Danny was outside, filming it all.


At his arraignment on November 19th, Danny showed up disheveled before the judge. His hearing was directly after Shotti and also the various other alleged nine Treys’, also though they to be being do the efforts together. Danny to be denied bail, regardless of offering to surrender his passport and also to pay more than $1 million in bail. The judge frequently asked the prosecutors how they knew Danny had actually been current at shootings, choose the one at the Barclays Center. The price was frequently simple: Danny had posted about it top top Instagram.

Danny was lugged to a commonwealth jail in Brooklyn, according to his lawyer. There, his life to be openly intimidated by gang members. The guards at the prison immediately transferred him come a personal facility in Queens. ~ above November 26th, he was denied bail; he continues to be imprisoned today. The mandatory-minimum sentencing because that the racketeering dues he encounters is 32 years.

In mid-December, I meet with Danny’s criminal–defense attorney, Lance Lazzaro, who emphasizes come me that, despite the prison rumors, Danny was no cooperating with authorities, and under no circumstances would he carry out so. Lazzaro additionally tells me Danny was not, and also had never been, a member of the ripe Trey Bloods, that the charges versus him were based upon “hearsay,” and also that he to be willing come fight the racketeering charge all the way to trial. “Danny liked to current the image of being a gangster to offer his music,” the says. “But my customer is no a gangster.”

But once I questioning Lazzaro if Danny might be willing to plead guilty to a lesser charge — say, equipped robbery — he stated it would rely on the charge and also the terms. Shortly after our meeting, TMZ obtained surveillance clip of one April bolt that appears to show Shotti exiting one SUV, and also a brief Hispanic guy with rainbow hair arising shortly afterward. This robbery, authorities claim, was additionally captured top top a separate video shot top top Danny’s phone, then sent out to among his friends, who posted it to society media.

To some observers, Danny’s arrest wasn’t a surprise. “All the politics, every the beef, it was like… You can’t simply be speeding under the highway there is no expecting come crash,” Andrew says.


But why would he feeling the must behave this way, ns ask Andrew. Why on planet would a platinum-selling recording artist stick up some child on the street for a backpack?

“The internet,” Andrew says.

***

On November 27th, nine days after ~ his arrest, 6ix9ine’s first official album, fake Boy, was released online. That debuted at Number Two but was a commercial disappointed to anyone invest in Tekashi. The movie critics were not kind.

With the exception of a couple of unreleased monitor on Wizard’s desktop, this likely brings come an finish the brief, bizarre and shocking job of Tekashi 6ix9ine. He faces six separate charges, and federal prison terms don’t offer the possibility of parole. Even if he were to cooperate, it’s not choose he might enter witness defense — not with that face. Anything much less than a te inside seems improbable. Hernandez quiet plans on publication music indigenous jail, according to a recent report native TMZ. His lawyer to be unavailable to talk about whether that’s true, or the potential method for recording brand-new music.

All that this — his supercharged increase from his corroded Brooklyn neighborhood, his expanded tangle through the legit system and also his ultimate arrest by federal agents — take it just an ext than a year, an internet-fueled ride that went turn off the rails virtually as easily as that began.

6ix9ine’s fall synchronizes with the crashing the the entire SoundCloud laboratory wave: XXXTentacion has actually been murdered; Lil Peep is dead that a medicine overdose; Lil Xan newly went come rehab. Danny was the movement’s defining face. His habits was unforgivable, however his instincts as an influencer to be immaculate, and that only made his critics hate the more, expanding the cycle of popularity because that as long as it might be sustained.

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Instagram to be Danny’s MTV, and trap music was his grunge, but the ironic, media-savvy distance previous generations had maintained in between themselves and their entertainment had actually for him collapsed. He was a perplexed child the the web who’d pierced the kingdom of stardom, but failed to recognize where the theatrics were claimed to end.