Brooklyn rapper 6ix9ine has proven to be a lightning rod for controversy with his slew of rap beefs and high-profile criminal past. Today (Sept. 4), the “Trollz” rapper is focusing on the release of his sophomore album, TattleTales.
In February 2019, 6ix9ine, born Daniel Hernandez, pleaded guilty to firearms and racketeering charges. He agreed with prosecutors to speak out against his former associates, Brooklyn gang, Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods, who helped cultivate his gangsta persona at the start of his career. His decision to provide a tell-all testimony reduced his sentence to two years, with 13 months time served. In April, he was released from jail in the wake of COVID-19 ravaging the prison system. In August, he was taken off house arrest. (Previously, he was also sentenced to four years of probation and 1,000 hours of community service in 2018 as part of a plea agreement stemming from charges over using a child in a sexual performance, to which he pled guilty.)
“I would have regrets, but it wouldn’t make me the individual I am today,” 6ix9ine says in an interview with Billboard. “I feel like the situation I went through made me wiser, made me stronger, and made me built different. It made me realize a lot of s–t. It’s like fundamentals, streetwise [and] just knowledge. At the end of the day, I went through some s–t where people would have ended up killing themselves.”
And while 6ix9ine has enjoyed his freedom with trips to Chicago and Los Angeles, dining at restaurants, and playing soccer with fans, he believes that he’s received unfair treatment regarding his decision to snitch.
“A lot of these rappers are snitches, but people don’t want to accept that, right? I don’t know the brother T.I., right? But I can understand that he’s not comfortable with his truth,” begins 6ix9ine, who proceeds to review the Atlanta MC’s infamous 2007 federal gun charges. “How did T.I. do one year? They don’t want a reason to like me. They want a reason to hate me. So at the end of the day, if you say, ‘Yo. He was kidnapped, but he put himself [in those situations],’ that’s not fair.”
While his case left a huge blemish on a lot of his relationships, he reveals that his friendship with Anuel AA was still going strong for a while, despite the Latin star previously claiming he severed ties with him. In an interview with Complex in 2019, Anuel said he hadn’t been in contact with 6ix9ine and said he was unsure if they would ever work together again. When speaking to Billboard, 6ix9ine claims to have spoken to Anuel “his whole prison bid” and that they collaborated on his post-prison record “YAYA.”
“All that s–t he do for the Internet is a facade, and that’s my brother. That guy came to my house and ate food with my mother,” the rapper says. “So I spoke to him during jail, during all of that. When I was in jail, we would have conversations. After jail, we had conversations. He’s on the song ‘YAYA.’ The song ‘YAYA,’ he’s on it. We wrote it together.”
Since his prison release, 6ix9ine has notched two top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Gooba” and the Nicki Minaj-assisted “Trollz,” which debuted at No. 1 in June. He drew a good deal of attention upon the No. 3 chart debut of “Gooba,” when he called out Billboard for “Gooba” failing to debut at No. 1, losing out to Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber’s “Stuck With You.”
“Everybody was against me. Radio blackballed me. Playlists blackballed me. I feel like Billboard was mad because I said, ‘How can you still buy bundles?” 6ix9ine says during the interview. He then speaks on Travis Scott and Kenny Chesney, who previously bested Nicki Minaj and Drake respectively on the Billboard 200 for the No. 1 spot on the chart, with their totals assisted by album bundles.
“You think if I buy some lip gloss right now and I bought a Travis Scott album, is that fair to all the hardworking people who worked on their album?” he questions when speaking on Scott’s 2018 album Astroworld, claiming the rapper bundled up his project along with Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Cosmetic Lip Kits to oust Nicki Minaj’s Queen. In actuality, Scott’s Astroworld was headlined by his “season pass” bundle for his Astroworld Tour, which included priority venue entry and future discounts.
As for Chesney, 6ix9ine says his album Here and Now only outperformed Drake’s Dark Lane Demo Tapes on the Billboard 200 because he duped fans to buying his ticket bundle after canceling his tour. In May, Chesney’s Chillaxification Tour was postponed due to COVID-19 and will return 2021 with rescheduled dates.
“Give me one artist right now that can make the top ten in Billboard with zero radio and zero playlisting,” 6ix9ine demands, switching the conversation to his success on the independent circuit. According to Billboard charts, while streaming and sales have powered his Hot 100 wins, his Hot 100 No. 1 single “Trollz” did in fact reach both the Rhythmic Songs and Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay charts.
Still, 6ix9ine’s successful post-prison run remains polarizing, including quarrels on Instagram with Meek Mill, Snoop Dogg, Future, and more. He’s currently in the midst of a feud with Chicago’s Lil Durk and Lil Reese, who also skewered the rainbow-haired rapper for snitching against his former associates.
Last week, he called out the former, accusing Durk’s record label of trying to pay him $5 million to continue their dispute. This came after the “Laugh Now Cry Later” collaborator originally claimed 6ix9ine’s camp called him to continue their spat for $3 million. The battle of words were initially the building blocks to a potential Friday showdown between both stars, when Durk announced he would be releasing new music as well.
On Thursday (Sept. 3), it was revealed that Durk was dropping a new single, “The Voice,” instead of an album. “There’s no gameplan,” 6ix9ine relayed. “I’m not worried. I can literally not promote my album, and I’ll still outsell more than Lil Durk. Lil Durk is like a little kid.”
Watch 6ix9ine’s interview with Billboard above as he speaks on freedom, his fear of dying, how DMX helped him during his jail sentence, his love for Drake and Nicki Minaj, and why he feels Tory Lanez deserves to tell his side of the story regarding his incident with Megan Thee Stallion.