Tekashi 69 Memes; Will They Ever Stop?

The name Tekashi 6ix9ine usually provokes one of two reactions: outrage or humor.  GIven his character, his past, the quality of his music, and his recent actions that involved snitching to the federal prosecution on his case for racketeering charges, he does not currently command a lot of respect.  And just like with everything else, the internet capitalizes on anything it possibly can, and so Tekashi has become the source of several internet memes surrounding his looks, his music, and his legal troubles.

Who is Tekashi 69?

Tekashi 6ix9ine was born as Daniel Hernandez in May of 1996 to Hispanic parents.  His mother immigrated to the United States in 1990 in order to try and seek a better life for herself and her future children.  Hernandez’s early childhood was fairly normal, and he spent a lot of his free time playing sports like baseball and soccer.  In fact, he was even approached by a major league soccer team’s farm system as a young teenager, but his mother forbade him from joining because she did not want her son being involved with people or an organization that she did not know and was unfamiliar with.   While he did attend elementary and middle school regularly, he was kicked out of highschool and began selling marijuana shortly thereafter.  His relationships at home were not great, and he did not know his father was even alive until he was nine years old.  His mother struggled to provide, and his stepfather was actually shot and killed just mere steps from his family home as a young man.   In short, Hernandez’s early life was extremely troubled and there is no doubt that these early life experiences shaped who he is today and had an impact on his character and his musical approach.

How He Presents Himself

Much of the internet humor surrounding Tekashi is based on how he looks.  In short, he looks pretty comical with very long rainbow hair and he is covered in tattoos of varying designs, colors, and sizes including a giant “69” tattoo right on his face.  He has been described as a “stain on hip-hop” by The Undefeated writer Justin Tinsley, and his reputation is awful.  So why is he so popular and why does he get so much attention? It all started on July 5th 2017, when the rapper posted a picture of himself on instagram where he debuted his face tattoos and his new look.  Immediately, the internet latched onto the almost caricature-like nature that he was creating for himself and started making fun of his persona.  They compared him to several similarly styled Soundcloud rappers and made fun of the way he looked, calling him the final boss of self-produced media.  

His Legal Troubles

Tekashi’s reputation is hindered by his repeated troubles with the law.  He originally was arrested and charged with a felony count of use of a child in a sexual performance, pled guilty, and was sentenced to four years of probation and several hundred hours of community service.  The incident stemmed from a Harlem party that involved illegal activity with a minor that was actually recorded on camera.  While the prosecution was seeking several years of incarceration and that Hernandez have to register as a sex offender, he somehow was able to beat that and walk away with no time in prison.  Since then, he has attempted to downplay the incident, claiming he was younger than he actually was and also claiming that he has apologize to the family on his own, when in reality he was ordered to apologize to the victim’s family by the judge. His next run-in with the law involved a January 2018 incident where he was filmed assaulting a fan, choking a sixteen year old and scratching the fan’s neck. He was not charged for some time, but the investigation did finally result in a charge for misdemeanor assault, but he did not serve time for this incident either. Finally, his most recent legal issue stemmed from a federal investigation that resulted in him and several other individuals being arrested on federal charges of racketeering and firearms possession and use.  This most recent court battle involving Tekashi is where the majority of the memes come from, and it stems from the fact that Tekashi agreed to testify against his co-defendants for the federal prosecution in exchange for a lighter sentence.

Tekashi as a Snitch

It has been widely reported that Tekashi snitched during his federal trial in order to avoid a sentence that would probably have lasted decades.  He rationalized his break of street code by saying that the people he snitched on were not loyal to him and therefore they did not deserve any loyalty from him in return.  In September of 2019, the sentence trial began, and according to court documents, he sang like a bird, implicating several other members of the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods, mentioning all kinds of illegal activity, and ended up pleading guilty to nine counts of racketeering, firearms offenses, and drug trafficking. This resulted in a prison sentence of less than two years, which he was actually released early from due to having asthma which put him at higher risk of contracting COVID-19.  According to another article here on RapTV, this has had little to no negative effect on his music career, and he is full steam ahead on creating new content, growing his fan base, and gaining popularity.  In fact, he has actually just recently signed one of the biggest record deals for a rapper of his level in history, a reported ten million dollar deal with 10K Projects.

Examples of Memes

One of the most popular memes involving Tekashi 6ix9ine is a picture of him in court with captions like, “Nobody: ________.   Tekashi:  ‘I know where Waldo is.’”  The implication in the meme is that Tekashi was just trying to come up with anything possible to share in court as testimony that he thought might get himself a lighter sentence.  At the end of the day, this was clearly the case, as he got merely a fraction of the time that he was facing.  Another popular meme is that his sentencing hearings coincided with President Trump’s 2020 impeachment hearings in the senate.  Tekashi is pictured again in court with a caption that reads, “Y’all know Trump in Nine Trey too?”  

In Summary

At the end of the day, Tekashi memes will probably gain popularity for some time.  Unfortunately, the hip hop community seems to be glorifying him rather than recognizing him as a problem, and his legal issues seem to have no impact on how he is perceived.  For example, he has even gotten more popularity recently due to collaborations with nationally recognized artists like Nicki Minaj, and this only fuels the fire that is boosting him from being a nobody to being an artist with millions of fans.  And while he is still in and out of court, it seems like he will still continue to make a fool of himself, which means the memes will continue.       k  Sources:
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/6ix9ine
  2. https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/people/6ix9ine
  3. http://theundefeated.com/features/why-tekashi-6ix9ine-is-a-stain-on-hip-hop/
  4. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/01/nyregion/tekashi-69-pleads-guilty.html 
  5. https://raptv.com/uncategorized/tekashi-6ix9ine-fresh-out-full-steam-ahead/
  6. https://raptv.com/news/why-is-tekashi-6ix-9ine-in-court/
  7. https://raptv.com/rap-lists/the-latest-10-rappers-that-just-signed-deals/  

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