New York rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine is staying busy since his release from prison and into house arrest in early April. But is the colorful character merely a brazen youth picking fights, or a crafty artist constructing his rebrand?
Because of his asthma posing health complications due to coronavirus, 6ix9ine was allowed to serve the remainder of his sentence for federal racketeering and weapons charges under house arrest.
After landing back at the home pad, 6ix9ine called out 50 Cent, released the single Gooba, accused Arian Grande and Justin Bieber of buying their spot on the Billboard Top 100, and picked a bone with Snoop Dogg.
That is a lot of work—all of it seemingly serving the more nefarious purpose of drowning the snitch narratives attached to the rapper.
Charges, arrests, and jail time rarely derail a rapper’s career trajectory (Gucci Mane or Meek Mill, to name a few). For 6ix9ine, the problems arose before his sentencing, when news broke that he offered information on fellow gang members of the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods.
The label of the snitch is very damaging in any circle, especially for those running with a group of New York gangsters called Bloods who also want to be rappers.
A stink like that is hard to shake, but 6ix9ine desperately needed a rebrand, which means the 24-year-old required an aggressive strategy.
First, he had to fire shots at an established rapper that would make more of a wave than a simple diss against someone like Lil Pump or Ski Mask Slump God.
Then 50 Cent said in an interview with Big Boy of L.A.’s Real 92.3 that he would pass on an opportunity to collaborate with 6ix9ine. It was the perfect opportunity for Tekashi to launch a snappy line about not being the first son 50 Cent has abandoned, taking excellent advantage of the rumors that he was an estranged son of 50 Cent.
Next, 6ix9ine launched a conspiracy theory, claiming Justin Bieber and Arian Grande paid Billboard to vault their collaboration to the top slot on the Top 100 list. According to the New York rapper, the duo used six credit cards to snag the spot, blowing past Gooba, despite the single’s far higher streaming numbers.
The plan works on two levels–it stirs up a conspiracy theory (everyone loves conspiracy theories) and paints 6ix9ine as an underdog.
Finally, 6ix9ine accused Snoop Dogg of snitching on Suge Knight, who was Snoop’s former partner at Death Row Records. The move is by far 6ix9ine’s best and follows a weekend of Snoop calling out the young rapper for offering information on fellow gang members.
Instead of defending his reasons for snitching or offering excuses, 6ix9ine essentially snitched on Snoop too.
It now raises questions and conspiracy theories (still love those) about Snoop, effectively pulling the Long Beach rapper into the mud with 6ix9ine.
The crafty New Yorker is now an underdog, uncovering rats and exposing the seedy underbelly of the music business. Clever boy.