Once a successful recording artist and fan-favorite rapper, Daniel Hernandez, who goes by the stage name Tekashi 6ix9ine, has faced numerous legal struggles in the past year. Hernandez has pled guilty to racketeering, as well as drug and weapons trafficking charges in a recent court case, which will land him two years in prison.
Hernandez was enjoying a meteoric rise to fame and stardom in recent years. However, his connections to the notorious street gang Nine Trey Gansta Bloods led him to become engaged in destructive and violent shootings and beatings across New York City. For a brief period in 2018, Hernandez was spotted on numerous occasions with the Bloods, assaulting people and firing guns into crowds.
Following his arrest, Hernandez was quick to cooperate with law enforcement. In a move that came as a shock to many fans and other rappers, Hernandez shed his “hardcore” Tekashi 6ix9ine persona rapidly, giving investigators “extraordinary” firsthand testimony of the inner workings of the gang in exchange for a reduced sentence.
The rapper’s sudden turn came as a surprise to many other artists in the field. Snoop Dogg, notably, called Hernandez a “snitch” after hearing about his testimonies. To be sure, Hernandez took on some degree of risk by flipping on a dangerous street gang, and essentially burned any goodwill and “street cred” he might have had upon leaving prison.
However, Hernandez’s testimony didn’t go unrewarded. Despite facing a potential 37 years in prison, the 23-year-old got a greatly reduced two-year sentence. While two years behind bars is far from ideal, it beats leaving the big house at the ripe old age of sixty. Hernandez likely weighed his options of living out the next nearly forty years behind bars, or burning his bridges with his old life, and made a heavy decision.
Many commenters online have noted how unusual some fans’ reactions have been. Many seem to be more upset with Hernandez for snitching than with his actual crimes. Some have theorized that this could be due to the unusual nature of rap music: many artists put on a “front,” acting like hardcore criminals, when in reality, they’re just entertainers.
This dissonance could result in fans’ dislike for what they perceive as inauthenticity. Hernandez will serve two years in prison, and then five years probation.