For an entire hour yesterday, I watched The Breakfast Club interview with Daniel Hernandez, better known to folks under
35 25 as Tekashi or Tekashi 6ix9ine or, officially, per his recent Day69 album release, as 6ix9ine. He’s the current self-proclaimed king of New York, something that used to matter back when niggas would pull your card and argue all day about who the best MC was: Jay-Z, Biggie or Nas.
While he believes he’s the hottest thing in New York City—he was promptly reminded that Cardi B is both from New York and hotter—his interview is proof positive that these young cats need mentors. Or SOMEBODY to pull their coattails so they live past 25.
I’m familiar with Tekashi’s music. I don’t think it’s particularly good, but it isn’t very different from most of what’s out there right now. If we have to make comparisons, he’s the 2018 version of an artist who grew up on Onyx: high-energy mayhem rap. His energy is nihilistic and aggressive. And he’s a Blood. I guess there has been some question about whether or not he was Crippin’ at one point and is now Bloodin’, which, as you can imagine in today’s gang-heavy hip-hop climate, would cause beef.
Both the Game and YG—two Bloods, Cedar Block and Tree Top, respectively—are not feeling the young man and his antics. And for that matter, it seems like lots of other folks aren’t, either. At this point, Tekashi is becoming more known for beef than for rapping—though I’m not quite sure he’d ever be known for rapping, per se.
This was a point that Charlamagne and Envy were trying to drive home to him during the interview: They’ve both been around through the ’90s and seen rappers embroiled in beefs get laid to rest well before they should have been, Biggie and Tupac being the most obvious examples.
Tekashi loves to point out that nobody is fucking with him in New York City and that if they want to see him, they can find him because he’s out there in those streets being touchable, which is a dog whistle to all folks who need something to do on a Tuesday. But hearing a young cat talk so recklessly, especially one with a daughter, is why youngsters need mentors and role models.
They brought a person who acts in some form of a management capacity for Tekashi—I believe—to speak about what he thinks as an older dude, and he basically co-signed the behavior and chalked it up to a generational thing, which is a stupid argument to make. The methods for making money and reaching fans and the type of music that’s popular today are generational. Being reckless and getting into beef with folks from Los Angeles to Houston to wherever has nothing to do with today’s youths. It’s about being reckless and losing out on opportunities for money.
Interestingly, the Game, a person he’s beefing with, should be something of a cautionary tale in terms of his career advancement. The Game is easily one of the better rappers currently doing it and has platinum plaques and at least one classic album to his credit. And yet when you think about the Game, you think of his incessant name-dropping and his idiotic love for beef and drama. His actual skill is secondary. Oh, and you think about him being a Blood because he makes it a point to go so hard for that shit.
But all that beef and stupidity had to have affected his money. Shit, it got Game dropped from Interscope back in the day and removed from Dr. Dre’s inner circle. Sure, he can do shows, but I’m sure he would have loved to be doing arenas.
Tekashi is a kid who, despite a significant lack of music, has somehow caught the cultural zeitgeist of the moment and is a thing. He’s got fans. And every one of his singles has charted on Billboard. His album actually debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 200 chart. How long that will last is anybody’s guess. My guess? Not long. Short of the energy, there’s not much to his music; nor is there some latent talent you can hear through the bravado. He’s a kid who’s hitting for now, and he’s maxing out on it in all possible ways.
But that’s where it would help to have somebody pull him to the side and be like, look, this success can be fleeting. Instead of beefing with the world, fucking up the money and making it hard to go to entire cities (though he claims to be in L.A. often enough without anyone fucking with him, we’ll see how long that lasts), why not dead the beef, make music as long as you can sell it and then flip that money into other shit so that you don’t end up a rapper who had shit and no longer has a pot to piss in? He’s young, and maybe he’ll get it eventually, assuming he doesn’t get tested and lose. He should stop telling everybody how untouchable he is.
At the end of the interview, Charlamagne and company actually brought in a priest to pray for and with him. I don’t watch all of their interviews, but that has to be a first. When folks see how you’re moving and it’s so beef heavy that they feel a need to have an actual employee of God come and pray for you publicly, you should probably at least think about it. But that’s what mentors and OGs are supposed to be there for.
Hopefully they show up.