6ix9ine graphic

6ix9ine’s Testimony and the Taboo of Snitching in Hip-Hop

By Jason Arline
Music Journalist

On Thursday Sept. 20, 2019 rapper 6ix9ine testified in court against his former gang members, the Nine Trey Gangster Bloods. During his testimony, 6ix9ine, whose real name is Daniel Hernandez, answered the court’s questions regarding the gang’s activities. These included robberies, murders and kidnappings among other illegal acts.

The most notable dealings, however, were the gang’s involvement in the music entertainment industry. Hernandez told the court that he joined the gang to boost his music career and that he wasn’t the only well-known artist to have done so. He told them that Jim Jones, a rapper known for songs like “We Fly High” and “Stuntin’ is a Habit”, was a member of the gang; Cardi B was also reported as a gang member. By giving his testimony, 6ix9ine committed one of hip hop’s cardinal sins: snitching.

Snitching, tattle-tailing, or whatever term you prefer to use when describing someone whos telling another person’s (usually an authoritative figure) business is frowned upon in our culture. Even as kids we all knew what snitching was and made sure we weren’t labeled a snitch by our peers. Those who bore the label of being a “snitch” were exiled from the group because they couldn’t be trusted with sensitive information. 

We can see this behavior reflected in hip-hop as rappers would rather be quiet than to divulge any kind of information that would negatively affect their reputation as an artist. Once you betray another artist’s trust, no one will want to work with you for fear of having their private lives leaked without their permission. 

A similar situation to this is when news of Drake’s son was leaked by rapper Pusha-T. This sparked a media uproar and created rap beef between Drake, Pusha-T and Kanye West, who was reportedly the one who told Pusha-T that Drake had a son we didn’t know about. In response to the media’s frenzy, Drake had to change press-dates with Adidas because everyone now knew he was a father. He had intended to make the reveal as part of a campaign with the German shoe company prior to the news being leaked but had to change his plans costing potential profit. Snitching is bad for business, and in the cut-throat music industry, you can lose millions of potential dollars because of it. 

In addition to the potential loss of funds, snitching also creates dangerous enemies for yourself, and the more trouble you cause the more vengeful the retaliation against you will be. In the streets, if you snitch you are more likely to be killed to prevent any further information being leaked that might hinder someone’s plans.

I’d assume that once his time is served we will most likely never hear from Hernandez again. With all his tattoos and colorful hair, he might as well be a bullseye for those in the gang seeking revenge on him for snitching. So you might as well give “Gummo” a few more listens cause it will be some of the last music you ever hear from 6ix9ine. He killed his own career before it could even start, a fatal case of snitching.

Featured image by Jakub Zegzulka via Creative Commons.

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