Who is Tekashi 6ix9ine and What is the Controversy Surrounding Him?

Cameron Mays ‘21

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The controversial New York rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine has had numerous run-ins with the law over the past three years, leading to a harsh prison sentence where he faces up to life and a minimum of 32 years. It has come to the point where people need to ask: is worth it to support a musician when serious criminal offences have been charged to him?

In October 2015, before his current fame, 6ix9ine faced charges of “use of child in sexual performance” from February 2015 when a video filmed him engaging in sexual activities with a minor. He made a plea deal to put off his sentencing for two years so that he could complete his GED among several other conditions he had to fulfill. He stayed out of trouble for a few years, but did not completely finish the requirements from his plea deal.

In January 2018, a boy filming 6ix9ine at a mall in Houston went to the police, where he claimed that 6ix9ine choked him because he didn’t want to be filmed. The boy later dropped the charges.

In April 2018, 6ix9ine was suspected to be involved at two separate shootings at a Casanova music video filming and a few days later at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

In May 2018, 6ix9ine was arrested for driving with a suspended license and then charged with assaulting a police officer.

In July 2018, 6ix9ine was reportedly kidnapped and a member of his management was arrested as a suspect months later.

In September 2018, police raided 6ix9ine’s apartment and found an AR-15 rifle, credit cards, and the ID of a man who was victim of a robbery in April.

In October 2018, he was sentenced for his 2015 case to four years on probation and 1000 hours of community service. Later that month, 6ix9ine was scheduled to have a meeting with Elliot Grainge, the head of the label 6ix9ine is signed with. Some of his posse, including Tr3yway Shotti, tried to get in but Grainges security stopped them. A fight broke out that ended up with Tr3way turning himself in to authorities, but he then later bailed himself out of jail.

On November 14, the judge downgraded 6ix9ine’s charges from May to disorderly conduct, which he pleaded guilty to. He received no jail time and only had to “stay out of trouble”.

On November 15, 6ix9ine declared that he fired everybody from his team and cancelled his tour dates in the U.S. According to him, his booking agency was robbing him, a claim that the agency refuted.

On November 18, 6ix9ine, Tr3yway, and other from his former management were all arrested by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. 6ix9ine faces charges of racketeering, which is defined as “dishonest and fraudulent business dealings”, and firearm charges. The charges carry a sentence from three years to life. The main allegations mentioned in the report were his April and September 2018 charges.

 

During his hearing, 6ix9ine was denied bail and is currently in the general population at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center.

After reading a basic record of 6ix9ine’s many problems with the law, many find it hard hard to imagine why his fans still support him. A man convicted as a sex offender and several gun charges is usually not the most popular of figures, but it seems that many of his fans still support the rapper. It is important to note that many people support him for his musical work, and not necessarily his actions. Although it must be said that his lyrics include many lines that might be an indication of his actions, some might just like the beats of his music, the delivery, or his persona in general.

Brandon Mark ‘21 explains that “overall I don’t like him as person. He is definitely not a role model and I don’t think anyone should follow in his path”. On the other hand, Arjun Agarwal ‘22 says “I really like his music and I think a person should only be looked at from what they contribute to society. For me, I just enjoy the content that he puts out”. The latter statement seems to be a popular sentiment from students as they separate the artist from their work. Just because they do not support someone for what they do, it is still possible to be a fan of their professional work. Outside actions do not dictate how well a person is able to do their job, which has been the case for 6ix9ine, who is estimated to be worth over four million dollars.

Some artists have behavioral issues during their time in the spotlight, but 6ix9ine is without a doubt an extreme version of this. This begs the question of when to judge an artist’s work and personality separately. Is it when they commit crimes? Is it when they are in jail? Is it never? That is all up to the public to decide. Most people will have different opinions of when a person has “crossed the line” of where it is morally incorrect to ignore a person’s actions, no matter what they bring for society.

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