The emotions were already running high when Tekashi 6ix9ine (real name Daniel Hernandez, 23) arrived at a Manhattan Federal Court on Dec. 18. The “Gummo” rapper — who had spent the past 13 months locked up after being arrested in November 2018 on racketeering and firearm charges — was about to learn if he would end the day a free man. Initially was facing up to 47 years in prison over the list of charges, Tekashi had testified against his former purported Nine Trey gang members in hopes of a lighter sentence. If facing down half-a-century in jail wasn’t emotional enough, Tekashi was reportedly left speechless after he saw his long-lost father in the courtroom. The rapper reportedly broke down at the sight of his dad, who he said abandoned him when he was just six-years-old.
Both Tekashi and his estranged biological father watched as Judge Paul Engelmayer handed down his sentence: 24 months in prison, 300 hours of community service, and a fine of $35,000. However, @InnerCityNews, who was live-tweeting the sentencing, noted that it seems that “the announced 24 months minus the 13 months already served.” Meaning, Tekashi will be out in 11 months.
“Mr. Hernandez, I’ve given it a lot of close thought, including your cooperation. The following are my thoughts, [and] this is going to take a little while,” Judge Engelmayer said, according to @InnerCityPress. “However, I cannot agree with your counsel that time served it appropriate. In my judgment, your conduct is too violent and selfish to make 13 months [the time Tekashi has already served] reasonable. You will not be going free today. … It is the judgment of the court you are to serve a term of 24 months in prison, with five years of supervised release.”
With rainbow hair, a defiant attitude, and more tattoos than he probably should, 6ix9ine became the default face the SoundCloud rap generation (for better or worse.) Seemingly equally celebrated and hated, Tekashi’s detractors reveled when he was arrested in November 2018, along with other alleged Nine Trey associates, on a bevy of charges. Federal prosecutors alleged that Tekashi was part of a “criminal organization,” per NBC New York. Their indictment also claimed that he participated in a gunpoint robbery of a gang rival in spring 2018 and a July 2018 shooting of a bystander in Brooklyn.
Judge Engelmayer: I impose 300 hours of community service when you get out, and a fine of $35,000. Mr Hernandez, the worst part is over. There is a great deal to be admired about you. You're learned a hard lesson here. I wish you very very well. We are adjourned.
— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) December 18, 2019
Tekashi was specifically charged with one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of firearms offense – racketeering conspiracy, three counts of violent crime in aid of racketeering, three counts of firearms offense, and one count of narcotics trafficking. He was looking at least 47 years behind bars, which is probably why he decided to cooperate with the authorities. Though he initially maintained his innocence, Tekashi ultimately pleaded guilty in late January 2019 as part of the aforementioned deal.
Over three days in 2019, he testified against two alleged Nine Trey Blood members — Aljermiah Mack and Anthony Ellison – which resulted in their conviction, per Washington Post. Tekashi claimed that while his stardom brought in cash and fame, the gang offered him much-needed street cred. He also alleged that several prominent entertainment industry names were part of the gang, including rapper Jim Jones and Cardi B. (Cardi, in a now-deleted tweet, corrected Tekashi by saying she was associated with a different gang.) The public testimony prompted many to call him a “snitch,” and the hashtag #Tekashisnitch9 began to trend.
After spilling his guts, prosecutors noted that he’ll probably need witness protection from potential retaliation. Tekashi has reportedly turned it down so he could keep pursuing music. He supposedly signed a new record deal with former label, 10k Project, worth a reported $10 million for two albums – one in English, another in Spanish.
“I had a feeling of relief when I was arrested by the government because I felt stuck,” Tekashi wrote to judge Engelmayer when pleading for leniency, per Rolling Stone. “[T]he gang had control over my life and that I would never be able to escape their grip. I was blessed with the gift of an opportunity that most people dream of, but I squandered it by getting involved with the wrong people and misrepresenting myself when I should have been true to myself and my fans.”