‘Supervillain’ Exposes Rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine as a Mark-Ass Snitch
Showtime’s new docuseries exposes 6ix9ine as a relentless striver who would do anything for fame, including turning on the people who helped him get there.
Rainbow-haired, controversial, foul-mouthed, and outrageous are all descriptors Tekashi 6ix9ine has embraced on his ascent to fame, or at least infamy.
From the very beginning Tekashi 6ix9ine, born Daniel Hernandez, seemed hell-bent on pulling off various stunts, first promoting hoodies and hats that were emblazoned with the words “pussy” and “HIV” in bolded letters around Brooklyn, New York, as a teenager.
When he emerged on the music scene, 6ix9ine’s attention-seeking behavior only escalated. He’s not Black, but he constantly dropped the N-word in his lyrics and used the slur conversationally. He taunted other rappers, gleefully trolling them on social media, and jumped headfirst into various scuffles.
But 6ix9ine’s antics couldn’t be hand-waved away as a newcomer simply trying to make a name for himself; he was also dabbling in criminal activity. The Bushwick rapper pleaded guilty to the use of a child in a sexual performance after uploading a video to social media in early 2015 that showed the alleged assault of a naked 13-year-old girl.
He had made enemies within his inner circle, resulting in him being kidnapped and robbed at gunpoint by a former associate in 2018. By the following year, he’d pleaded guilty to nine felony charges that included racketeering conspiracy, dealing drugs, weapons possession, and armed robbery.
Showtime’s new documentary series Supervillain: The Making of Tekashi 6ix9ine from director Karam Gill exposes 6ix9ine as a self-declared anti-hero who admits he’d do anything possible to become rich and famous, including turning on the people who helped him get there.
6ix9ine’s former crew, the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods, are still seething from his betrayal. Eleven men were given sentences of up to 15 years after aligning themselves with the artist. It had only taken a few hours behind bars for 6ix9ine to agree to cooperate with federal prosecutors in order to secure a lighter prison sentence for himself.
His first girlfriend and the mother of his daughter, Sara Molina, attempts to blame some of 6ix9ine’s actions on his tumultuous childhood, revealing he attended therapy regularly when they started dating in 2011. She later said she left him after enduring a brutal two-hour assault in October of 2018 where she thought she was going to die.
As the case against him steadily builds over the course of three episodes, 6ix9ine doesn’t apologize or try to make amends. Ultimately, he is exposed as a world-class grifter, intent on becoming famous with a desperate need to be talked about. He wants to be loved or hated—which one doesn’t really matter.
6ix9ine reflects on this in previously unheard audio tapes after his release from prison in April of 2020. It’s one of the few times viewers aren’t distracted by the giant “69” tattoo on his face, his Skittle-colored grill, or whatever hue he happened to dye his hair. (Photos flashed on screen show it happened to be in long, skinny braids, one side his signature rainbow colors and the other Game of Thrones-Daenerys Targaryen white.)
Stripped of his armor, 6ix9ine no longer seems larger than life. The 24-year-old admits he wasn’t even interested in rap when he began making music. Former associate and Nine Trey gang member Billy Ado scoffed that 6ix9ine didn’t even know the words to some of New York City rap icon Notorious B.I.G.’s songs.
“I didn’t like rap; I was always into rock. I grew up on heavy metal,” 6ix9ine said. “I didn’t want to rap. My talent is not rapping, my talent is like a visionary. I don’t think anyone else is better than me at it. So, when I rap, I try to entertain as best as possible. So, me rapping, it’s not because I have a talent… it’s how good I can entertain.”
6ix9ine attempts to give himself a villain origin story of sorts, linking it to when his stepfather was murdered in broad daylight during a trip to the supermarket when he was 13.
“I feel my steppops was a superhero,” 6ix9ine said. “He was always helping people without thinking about himself and that’s what a superhero did and that’s what my steppop did. Superheroes always die. Fuck being a superhero, I want to be a villain. Villains never die.”
“It’s like the Joker, you want to hate him, but you love him,” he added. “He’s the bad guy but you end up falling in love with him. You consistently say, ‘I hate this guy,’ but you can’t stop watching. There’s somewhere deep down where you fall in love with that guy.”
6ix9ine doubles down on embracing being the “bad guy,” saying “in the world we live in, the nice guys don’t get the covers, the nice guys don’t get the attention, the nice guys don’t go anywhere.”
“A lot of people always take the world too seriously, and I feel the world is a game,” he said. “You know how people say, ‘play the game before it plays you?’”
Adam Grandmaison, best known as Adam22 and host of the No Jumper podcast (who has himself been accused of sexual misconduct), summed up 6ix9ine as a character similar to Donald Trump. When Pitchfork said it wouldn’t cover him, 6ix9ine didn’t care.
He simply turned to Instagram and Twitter to get his message across, traditional media outlets be damned. His fan base has been given ample opportunities to abandon him yet have only cheered him on with even more fervor.
“He’s constantly lying, he’s constantly doing shitty things… he’s so lacking in a moral compass that it’s impossible to convince the public to really dwell on any specific thing,” Adam22 said.
It’s undeniable that 6ix9ine possesses a true talent for knowing how to go viral. “Everything I do has a reason. I take steps, I know where I’m going every time,” he explained. But he fails to admit how he needed the Black community to legitimize him if he was going to turn into a rap superstar.
It came by way of Nine Trey gang member Seqo Billy, who 6ix9ine won over by openly admitting his lyrics were trash. The men grew close and Seqo Billy said he saw himself as a big brother figure to 6ix9ine, bringing him into his inner circle and having him over at his grandmother’s home for Thanksgiving dinner.
That same townhouse in Bedford-Stuyvesant would transform 6ix9ine’s image in fall of 2017 with the release of his music video for “Gummo.” In the jarring, scream-rap voice 6ix9ine is known for, he dances around shirtless while a dozen Black men nod along to his lyrics. Nearly everyone is rocking a red bandana, a clear identifier of belonging to the Bloods gang. The video quickly racked up a million views on YouTube and currently sits at 381 million views.
6ix9ine being a part of Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods gave him the street cred that he’d craved. No longer was he just another clout-chasing kid from Brooklyn, rapping about sex, drugs, money, and haters, he now had the strength of a notorious, fearsome crew backing him.
But it still wasn’t enough, and an emboldened 6ix9ine wanted to push the limits of what he could get away with. He was filmed getting into a brawl outside of LAX airport and was in the middle of a shooting during Super Bowl weekend in 2018.
He began taunting other rappers publicly, famously igniting a feud with Chief Keef, who narrowly avoided being shot while visiting New York City in June of 2018. 6ix9ine claimed he had nothing to do with the shooting, but video later surfaced of him appearing to order a hit on Keef’s cousin.
“He’s asking for attention, shit that we don’t need,” former associate Billy Ado said. “Not that kind of attention.”
By November 2018, 6ix9ine’s dabbling in being a gangster caught up to him. In a last-ditch attempt to cut ties with the gang, he suddenly declared he had fired his whole team, including his manager and closest confidant Kifano “Shotti” Jordan. “Fuck Treyway,” he sneered.
But it was too late, and 6ix9ine was scooped up by police and indicted on a litany of felony offenses, including videotaping an armed robbery and lugging the victim’s backpack to his home.
A day after his arrest, 6ix9ine agreed to cooperate with the government against his former friends who had gone to great lengths to bring him into the fold.
In exchange, he was given a lighter prison sentence of 24 months, which honored the 13 months he had already served. By April of 2020, he was released on house arrest and making music again while 11 men were left behind bars.
6ix9ine was back to his old tricks, boasting on Instagram about his new home in the suburbs, parading around his driveway in a bulletproof vest with flashy cars lined up behind him. The next month, he dropped the obnoxious single “Gooba,” where he raps, “You’re mad I’m back, big mad / ha-ha, don’t care, stay mad / tell me how I ratted, came home to a big bag.”
Nicki Minaj surprisingly teamed up with him for “Trollz, which plummeted to No. 34 on Billboard in a week after originally debuting in the top spot.
For the first time, it suggested that maybe 6ix9ine didn’t have the support he once did behind him. Certainly not from his peers. Cardi B, Snoop Dogg, 21 Savage, and The Game all shook their heads over 6ix9ine being a “rat.”
Perhaps 6ix9ine said it best himself when trying to explain how he gained his fanbase in the first place. “What people gravitate to is a fictional character,” he said. “When I lost all my sense, I gained all my success. The good is here but in my situation, the bad has taken over.”