Tekashi69 Sealing His Fate With Gangs, Guns and Goons
The rapper escaped a sex-crime case with probation, but has his get-out-of-jail card expired?
The particulars of that crime are recounted in a recent court filing by the Manhattan District Attorney's office:
“On the night of February 21, 2015, and into the early morning hours of February 22, 2015, defendant participated in the creation of three sexually explicit videos of a 13-year-old child inside an apartment in New York County. In one of the videos, defendant fondled the child’s breast and smacked her buttocks while two adult males were penetrating the child orally and vaginally. Defendant faced the camera directly, bragging to the viewer, ‘You already know we rockin’ over here.’”
Rockin’ in Los Angeles at a rite of passage for a 13-year-old boy—no doubt a big payday for Tekashi—was apparently all set to go ahead despite the rapper, who is now 22, having admitted in detail to a sex crime involving the 13-year-old girl.
But police say the organizers of the bar mitzvah reconsidered after being informed of the security measures that would have to be taken after bullets interrupted the Nov. 8 filming of a Tekashi video that was to have included Kanye West and Nicki Minaj at a $60 million mansion on Alpine Drive in Beverly Hills.
Tekashi and West are said to have been present, but Minaj had not yet arrived, when a car pulled up to a wall that runs behind the mansion’s grounds. Surveillance camera footage shows at least one man stepping out and firing multiple shots, one of which penetrated a rear window. Five shell casings were later recovered.
“They shot up the shoot,” a police official later remarked.
The official half-jokingly added, “You just don’t do drive-by shootings in Beverly Hills. You have to get out of your car…”
When sending a radio car to the scene of multiple shots fired, the dispatcher noted, “Be advised there is armed security at the location.”
The security guards in question may have been the same ones accompanying Tekashi when he had arrived at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Long Beach, California, on the night of Nov. 4 to perform at an annual two-day street fashion, music and arts exhibition called ComplexCon. The gathering might have held particular appeal for the rapper because it also features Takashi Murakami, a Japanese visual artist who favors colors of the same Skittles spectrum that Tekashi dyes his hair, the pigtails in particular.
Tekashi’s security entourage in California was notable for its resemblance to the police, complete with body armor and and badges and tactical holsters strapped to their legs. Actual cops took a predictable view.
“These fake cops wearing these fake vests with fake badges,” the police official observed to the Daily Beast. “What self-respecting gang member would be surrounded by somebody who looks like the police?”
The official noted that at least one of the fake cops had “K-9” stenciled on the front of his vest.
“And there’s not a f---ing dog in sight,” the police official said.
The need for security became apparent when Tekashi and his entourage approached the hotel entrance and encountered the rapper Slim 400, whom the police official describes as “L.A.”s Tekashi.”
Tekashi’s lawyer, Lance Lazzaro, says his client is not affiliated with any gang, but the rapper has often described himself as affiliated with the 9 Trey set of the Bloods gang in Brooklyn. There were 44 members of 9 Trey incarcerated in New York City as of Oct. 12 on charges including murder and sexual assault and weapons possession.
“[Tekashi] openly identifies as a member of the 9 Trey Bloods, frequently referencing the Bloods in his music and celebrating his gang involvement in the social media posts he broadcasts to his 14 million followers on Instagram,” prosecutors say in court papers.
Slim 400—whose real name is Vincent Cohran—is said by police to affiliate himself just as openly with the Tree Top Piru Bloods Compton. They are hardcore, dedicated, longtime gang bangers who view Tekashi's East Coast pals as pathetic wannabes.
“These are real gangs,” a police official says of the California outfits. “Not like Bloods in New York.”
A moment of truth came when Tekashi and his security detail encountered Slim 400 and a number of apparent Piru Bloods standing atop the steps leading into the hotel.
Tekashi began mouthing off and made as if he wanted to charge Slim 400 but clearly was counting on his fake cops and a number of more traditional rapper bodyguards to restrain him.
“‘Hold me back, hold me back, hold me back,’” the police official quotes Tekashi as saying. “They hold him back and walk him to his car.”
A video of the confrontation appeared online, along with commentary by Slim 400:
“Stopped that n***a at the door. 6ix9ine couldn’t get in. Ain’t hit no stage, ain't walked around doing sh*t."
But Tekashi is the far bigger star and was able to cite an uncontestable measure that sets him above Slim 400.
“I’m getting money,” Tekashi said online, “Yo, he’s dirty. You know he has no money, right? Name one Slim 400 record right now, name one. You can’t name one Slim 400 record.”
Tekashi said of the California crew, “Just some dirty ass blood members that don’t have no money to feed their daughters, no money to feed their sons. Running around in pampers, dirty pampers, hungry, gang-banging, you know what I’m saying.”
He tells Slim 400, “Get some money, you broke.”
As the police tell it, Slim 400 moved to improve his financial condition by declaring that Tekashi would have to pay him and his pals $200,000 to do anything in Los Angeles. Payment was apparently not forthcoming as of the night the rap video was to have been made at the mansion in Beverly Hills.
Police believe that the shots at the shoot were fired by Slim 400’s pals. Kanye was in possible harm’s way from a bullet fired in a rap feud just a month after his free association in the Oval Office with President Trump. Nobody was hurt, but the shoot was canceled, leaving Tekashi’s people with no video but expenses that must have far exceeded what Slim 400 is said to have sought.
As could be heard on the police radio, Tekashi was protected by his armed security. He posted a video on Instagram the next day that shows him in a parking lot, ringed by three of his fake cops and several other bodyguards as he offers a pathetic version of break dancing.
“You think my security hates me?” he asks.
The posting racked up more than 8.3 million views and drew more than 46,000 comments. Such numbers quantify popularity and fame, explaining how how a guy on probation for a sex crime involving a 13- year-old girl was contracted to perform at a party for a 13-year-old boy two nights later.
Police say they contacted 1 Oak for fear that the bar mitzvah would be broken up by gunfire just as the rap shoot had been.
“Somebody finally woke up and said, ‘You know, let’s cancel,’” the law enforcement official says.
That night, Tekashi was instead “going from club to club” in New York, the police official notes.
On Monday, Tekashi was in Brooklyn Criminal Court. He had been charged with causing a cop to hurt his hand while being stopped for driving with a suspended license on May 20, but the injury was negligible and he was allowed to plead guilty to disorderly conduct. He was fined $120 and given a conditional discharge, which means the matter will be expunged if he stays out of trouble for a year.
He had already pledged to stay out of trouble for the length of the four years of probation he was granted instead of jail time when Judge Felicia Mennin sentenced him for the sex crime late last month.
Prior to the Oct. 26 sentencing, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office had submitted a memorandum to Judge Mennin. The memo suggests that Tekashi had initially used the sex video of the 13-year-old to get attention that he proceeded to parlay into stardom.
“Following the sexual violation of the child, defendant continued to exploit her for his own benefit,” the memo says. “At the time, defendant was an aspiring recording artist with a social media following in the thousands, who regularly posted provocative content... defendant posted the videos on the social media network Instagram in order to attract attention and further his image as a self-described ‘Scumbag.’”
The original plea agreement struck back in 2015—which was approved by a different judge who has since retired—granted Tekashi youthful offender status and probation if he secured a high school equivalency diploma, underwent therapy and proved he could stay out of trouble.
“Sentencing was deferred for two years to afford defendant an opportunity to avoid both prison and a criminal record,” the memo states. “In short, defendant was given a chance to demonstrate that the crime he committed was the result of a serious mistake he made in his youth, one that was not indicative of the law abiding life he intended to lead as an adult.“
The memo also says, “The agreement gave the defendant every chance to succeed.”
“Since defendant’s plea of guilty on October 20, 2015, he has not only become a successful recording artist, but is now a self-admitted member of a violent gang, the 9 Trey Bloods,” the memo notes. “Defendant has failed to mature into the law-abiding adult anticipated by the plea agreement... He has instead been arrested multiple times for crimes he committed this year... Defendant has exacerbated his own violent conduct by using his public platform and significant following to provoke and promote incidents of gun violence.”
Along with the May 20 minor arrest for driving with a suspended license in Brooklyn there had been a Jan. 6, 2018, arrest for misdemeanor assault in Houston, after he allegedly grabbed a 16-year-old fan by the neck “and demanded he delete video taken of defendant walking through a mall.”
Tekashi failed to make a Texas court date and was arrested on a warrant in New York. He reportedly sought protection in the New York lock-up after he was threatened by members of a Dominican street gang.
“[Tekashi] informed Department of Corrections officials that he was a member of the 9 Trey Bloods,” the memo notes.
“Defendant’s admitted membership in a violent criminal enterprise such as the 9 Trey Bloods is patently inconsistent with his acceptance of responsibility and rehabilitation,” the memo adds. “Further, his public identification as a gang member undermines an argument that justice would be served by relieving him from the stigma of a criminal record.”
The memo says that along with “frequently referencing the Bloods in his music lyrics and celebrating gang involvement in the social media posts he broadcast to his over 14 million followers on Instagram,” Tekashi “uses social media to provoke violence.”
“Defendant constantly uses social media to start feuds or ‘beefs’ with other recording artists throughout the country, repeatedly inviting his rivals to us violence against him and encourages his supporters to use violence on his behalf” it says. “Defendant’s confrontational behavior on social media...has not only been an effective strategy for driving album sales and interest in his music, but also had resulted in real life violence.”
The memo reports that an online feud between Tekashi and the rapper Casanova (Caswell Senior) turned into an actual confrontation between the rappers and their respective entourages at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on April 21, 2018.
“During the confrontation, a member of [Tekashi’s] entourage removed a gun from his shoe and fired at Casanova’s entourage. Fortunately, there were no injuries resulting from this shooting.”
The memo reports that police identified the shooter as a Tekashi associate named Fuguan Lovick.
“Following the shooting, [Tekashi] posted a video on his Instagram account, showing him laughing and joking how afraid Casanova’s entourage was when shots were fired,” the memo says. “Lovick can be seen walking with defeat in the video as defendant boasts, ‘[Casanova’s] whole squad hit the floor, everybody getting shot. [email protected] Everybody hit the floor, Blood. Trey way shit.’”
Another beef involved Tekashi and Chief Keef (Keith Cozart), a Chicago rapper with gang connections. A May 31, 2018, Tekashi post questioned Chief Keef’s street cred and dared him to come to New York within 48 hours if he was an actual tough guy. Chief Keef flew to New York the next day and proclaimed his presence on Instagram.
“On June 2, 2018, at approximately 4:41 am, shots were fired at Chief Keef while he was standing outside a hotel in midtown Manhattan,” the memo says.
The memo notes that later that same day, “[Tekashi]posted a live feed on Instagram stating that he was presently in Los Angeles, California. In the feed, defendant filmed himself singing along to a Chief Keef song, which was playing in the background. Defendant spoke directly to the camera, boasting, “You gonna make a post saying, ‘New York City we here…’”
The memo adds, “[Tekashi]...then claimed, ‘nothing's gonna happen to me from this situation at all,’ publicly taking credit for his role in the shooting.”
On July 22, 2018, a crew led by a man described by police as a disgruntled former Tekashi associate robbed and pistol-whipped him in Brooklyn. He managed to escape and sought refuge in the 77th Precinct station house. He began speaking to detectives before regaining his tough guy pose.
“But then at the the station house he became uncooperative and refused to assist with the investigation,” the memo says.
Police noted that Tekashi subsequently posted a video in which he flashed jewelry and cash that his assailants had taken, but his Blood pals had recovered.
“Yo, yo Trey way, they got my shit back,” Tekashi said.
He missed an unrelated court date on July 25, blaming the after-effects of a concussion suffered during the robbery.
“Despite this assertion, defendant attended nightclubs every night for July 23 through July 25, 2018,” the memo notes. “Defendant attended an event at Club Vaca on July 23, 2018, at approximately 2:00 am. The next night, July 24, 2018, he went to a club called LaSpuk and left there at approximately 3:35 a.m. Defendant then attended Starlets Strip Club on July 25, 2018 from approximately 2:30 a.m. to approximately 3:45 am. Although he claimed he was too ill from the effects of a concussion to appear in court, he went to nightclubs with loud music and strobe lights almost every night that week.”
The memo further reports: “Defendant left New York at end of the week and posted a video to Instagram on July 28, 2018, that shows him walking off a plane in Miami, Florida and picking up a loaded assault rifle.”
The memo reports that at the approach of sentencing, Tekashi had filed papers in the court claiming, “This is another story of a minority, a youth, being under the court system built for me to fail.”
The memo contends, “This statement, a blatant insult to this Court who has given defendant every consideration, perfectly exemplifies defendant’s failure to accept responsibility for his actions.”
The memo concludes, “Accordingly, pursuant to the terms of the plea agreement, defendant should now be sentenced to an indeterminate term of one to three years in state prison. To reward defendant's behavior with leniency sends entirely the wrong message to the public, particularly to the young people who comprise the majority of defendant’s following on social media.”
Judge Mennin was unmoved by the memo and gave Tekashi probation as a youthful offender in accordance with his 2015 plea deal. Tekashi’s lawyer, Lazzaro, later told The Daily Beast that the sentence in itself shows that the judge found his client had not violated the terms in any significant way.
“The judge basically ruled it did not apply,” Lazzaro said of the memo. “She ruled in her sentencing that Tekashi 6ix9ine had substantially complied with the plea agreement.”
A court spokesman would later say, “The plea agreement was negotiated over a period of time by the prosecution, defense and agreed upon by another judge a while ago. While ultimately [Mennin] handed down the sentence, none of the parties treat plea agreements lightly.”
As the police see it, one person who clearly took the plea agreement lightly and had violated it repeatedly was Tekashi. And police say he followed his big break in getting probation by departing the courthouse in “a carload of known gang members.”
Tekashi then headed up to Philippe’s, a tony restaurant on the Upper East Side where he had arranged to meet Elliot Grainge, a hot princeling of the recording industry. Takeshi's entourage had not been invited and when they sought to force their way in, Grainge’s two bodyguards moved to eject them.
After the rapper had departed the premises, a Tekashi pal described as a 9 Trey Blood smashed one of the bodyguards over the head with a chair and seemed about to hit him again while somebody in the entourage was heard to shout, “Go to the car, get the gun! Get the gun!” The injured bodyguard pulled a licensed pistol and fired two shots, wounding one of the the entourage in what police would decide was legitimate self-defense.
Tekashi subsequently flew out to Los Angeles and returned after more trouble. He is said to have fired his entire entourage this week, perhaps out of concern that the Department of Probation will move to have him declared in violation and sent to prison, as the district attorney urged at the end of last month.
The probation people say that state law precludes them from commenting about youthful offender cases.
“What are they going to give him, double secret probation?” The police official jokes.
The police official turned serious as he noted that he had only to consult with his teenage son to confirm that Tekashi is talented.
“This is a great waste of talent for a kid who is playing a role that he is not,” then police official said.
He also has a daughter and joined numerous people in law enforcement in asking a question.
“Why isn’t Tekashi locked up?”
The rapper’s lawyer says that his client was “a victim in the L.A. incidents” and has not violated the terms of his probation.
“I think he's on the right path,” Lazzaro said. “A career that should just explode over the next year or two.”
Unless he ends up spending that next year or two behind bars.