Rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine appeared in court to testify against the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods last night. The rapper acted as a witness for the federal government for three days, providing information about the gang’s members, which included globally known rappers.
Tekashi (real name Daniel Hernandez), pleaded guilty to racketeering and other federal charges in January this year, facing a minimum of 47 years in prison. In order to reduce his sentence, the rapper accepted a plea bargain in testifying against his former gang. The prosecution has an open racketeering and firearms case against two of the Nine Trey members, Anthony “Harvey” Ellison and Aljermiah “Nuke” Mack.
“I wanted the aesthetic [of his song ‘GUMMO’] to be full of Nine Trey,” Hernandez explained in his testimony. He met his future manager — Kifano “Shotti” Jordan, also a Nine Trey member — on set, and then later joined the gang. The song was an instant hit and has since been viewed more than 350 million times. Different elements representing the gang can be seen in the video, such as guns and the color red for the Bloods.
Tekashi’s role in the Nine Trey gang was mostly financial, making Billboard hits and supporting the Bloods. What did he get in return? “My career,” answered the rapper.
“Tekashi 6ix9ine’s testimony matters for the future of hip-hop trial,” Pitchfork speculates. The rapper has been said to be the biggest in the industry who has made no distinction between his art and his life reality. Similarly, rapper and author of the hit song “Murder on My Mind,” YNW Melly, has been facing a possible death sentence on charges of first-degree murder. Whether song lyrics and music videos should be allowed as evidence in court remains a debate. Critics have mentioned that using one’s art as strong evidence would violate the First Amendment.
Other hip-hop industry representatives have reacted negatively to Tekashi testifying against his former gang. Snoop Dogg, Future and Meek Mill shared memes calling 6ix9ine a ‘snitch’, with Meek Mill tweeting: “Message of the day don’t be a internet gangsta… be yourself!”