For three days Tekashi 6ix 9ine was the hottest trending topic on social media not because he released new music, but because he sang like a bird in court, offering detailed testimony against the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods, a gang he once publically swore allegiance too.
Now Tekashi, real name Daniel Hernandez, must deal with the consequences that come with “snitching.” Tekashi reportedly testified against his former affiliates 31-year-old Anthony Ellison and Aljermiah Mack, 33 in a racketeering and firearms case brought against the gang by prosecutors. For his cooperation, the 23-year-old may enter witness protection.
Beginning in 1970, the witness protection program has offered men, women and entire families new identities and a chance at starting over. Former FBI official Jay Cramer thinks Tekashi can have that chance.
“Despite how connected we are, and the appetite for social media content in this country, there are places where, if this kid gets a haircut and wears normal clothes, no one would know or care who he is,” Kramer said.
The New York Times reports that it is unclear if the United States Marshals Service, which runs witness protection, will pay to have Tekashi’s famous 69 tattoo removed from his forehead or any of his other standout body art.
The Brooklyn native said he partnered with Nine Trey Bloods in 2017 to help bolster his career and walked lawyers and jury members through terminology used by gang members. “That’s what people liked,” he said. “It was just a formula, a blueprint that I found that worked.”
Tekashi’s fame helped bankroll the gang to the point Ellison and Jordan feuded over who would control his career. Their quarrel led up to Tekashi’s alleged kidnapping last summer. “I’m pleading with him,” Tekashi said of the incident. “I’m like, ‘Yo, I’m scared. I have a daughter. I have a 3-year-old daughter at home.’ ”
By November 2018 Tekashi was done with Nine Trey stating in court: “I was tired of being extorted.”
Gang members not taking kindly to the disloyalty began talking retribution according to wiretaps. Officials found the threats credible and offered protection, which he reportedly denied. Days later Tekashi and 11 members of the Nine Trey Gangsta Blood were arrested on racketeering charges. Twenty-four hours after that Tekashi turned state’s witness.
In January, Tekashi pled guilty to racketeering conspiracy and eight other charges. He faces 47 years in prison.