Supervillain: The Making of Tekashi 6ix9ine (2021–…): Season 1, Episode 1 - Identity - full transcript

Young Daniel Hernandez faces a childhood trauma that triggers him to reinvent himself as Tekashi 6ix9ine. He develops his trademark rainbow look, joins a gang, drops the track "Gummo" and leaves his family wondering what the future holds.

dramatic music

[reporter] Tekashi 6ix9ine
has made a name for himself

creating controversy
and speculation.

[reporter] Brooklyn rapper
Tekashi 6ix9ine is in

federal custody.

[reporter] ...a shooting in
Midtown early this evening.

Tonight, we're learning
it is connected

to a controversial rapper.

[reporter] Tekashi 6ix9ine,
a Brooklyn-based rapper

whose real name is
Daniel Hernandez,

denied bail.

[reporter] If convicted,
he faces 32 years to life

in prison.

[interviewer] First of all,
should I call you

Danny or Tekashi?

-[Danny] Danny.
-[interviewer] Danny.

[Danny] Yeah.

[interviewer] What's the
difference between the two?

[Danny] The difference is
that no one ever seen Danny.

Like, you know
what I'm saying?

Everyone, you know, is based
off Tekashi 6ix9ine,

the colored, trash-talking,
troll king rapper.

A lot of people just see that.

The world literally hates
waking up and seeing this face.

Y'all hate it.

I'm the most successful nigga
in the fucking game.

'Cause I don't give a fuck,

and I tell everyone
to suck my dick.

So if you watching this video,
suck my fucking dick.

If you my fans, I love you,

but everybody else,
suck my fucking dick.

A lot of people always take
the world too serious.

And I feel like
the world is a game.

You know how people say,

"Play the game
before it plays you"?

In the world we live in,

the nice guys don't get
the coverage.

The nice guys don't get
the attention.

The nice guys
don't go anywhere.


It's kind of like a fetish
that a human has.

They don't like something,

but they can't stop
watching it.

It's like the Joker, right?

You wanna hate him,
but you love him,

you know what I'm saying,
because he's the bad guy,

but you just end up
falling in love with him.

You consistently say,
"I hate this guy,"

but you can't stop watching
that guy.

You can't help yourself.

There's somewhere deep down

where you fall in love
with that guy.

The good is here,
but in my situation,

you know,
the bad has taken over.

[reporter] A shooting
near the Barclays--

Shooting in Midtown--

[reporter] Racketeering
and firearms charges...

Nigga, we got him!



tense music

[children shouting]

Earth, Wind & Fire's "That's
the Way of the World"

'70s R&B music

[Sara] I'm from Brooklyn,
New York.

Born and raised in Bushwick.

I'm 24 years old.

I'm a single mother
of a five-year-old.

Social media
was really big for me

around the time
that I was in high school.

Facebook was really my phase.

I started social media.

At the time, I was probably,
like, 12.

You know,
little messenger shit

like AIM and stuff like that.

Danny messaged me, hit me up,
off of Facebook.

Think it went something
along the lines, like, "Hi.

Do you know Chris?
That's my friend or whatever."

Blah, blah, blah, "I think
we know the same people.

My name's Danny, by the way."

I've seen him before
tagged in pictures.

I liked him, so I was talking
to my friends about him like,

"I haven't met him yet,
and I like him.

We talk every day."

Especially being young,
that's all you know.

It's like, you, like,
can't put your phone down.

The first time we linked up,
I had cut school.

That was the first time
we kissed.

All we did was kiss though.

I thought it was, like...
something so magical.

I'm like, "Oh, my God."

My mom, she's like,
"That's your boyfriend?"

I'm like, "Yes."

She's like, "You're gonna
bring the boy here.

We're gonna talk to him."
I'm like, "Okay."

So he came to the house.

He was just happy
to even be around.

He just fed off the energy.

Like, "Oh, this is
what family do?"

Like, for him, it was foreign
'cause he didn't have it.

Of course. He didn't get
to have a childhood.

[music slows to a stop]

[producer] So you'll
just pop right there.

-[Daniel] Sit down here?

All right.

somber music

You know?

You know what I'm saying?

[Sara] Danny is a little boy

who just wants love,

who's funny, charismatic.

That's who Danny is.

speaking Spanish

somber music

[man] speaking Spanish

heavy music

[Sara] He would take me
to school every day.

He was dropping me off
to school one day and he said,

"Do you wanna be
my girlfriend?"

As cheesy as--I'm like--

at, like, 8:00 in the morning,
I'm like...

I ran to school so happy.

I was like, "I think I got
a boyfriend now,

so don't talk to me."


He would go to therapy,

so after school,
I would meet him

and we would walk
to his therapy.

He had, like, anger management.

He started opening up more

about his upbringing,

his stepfather,
and how it affected him.

He covers it very well.

You have to really be
on the inside

and really get to know him

to see
that there's something wrong.

[camera lens clicks]

[Danny] No one ever seen

just the regular old Mexican,
Puerto Rican kid

from Bushwick, New York.

My biological dad left.

After that, I was scared.

And I had no money.
I was poor.

What am I supposed to do now?

I would sleep with my mom.

I would go to sleep
with my stomach hurt,

and my mom, she would lay over
and just cry because she hear

how screeching
my stomach would get.

Like, you know what I mean?
It was bad.

My stepdad came into my life,

but I didn't know, though,
he wasn't my real dad.

He never judged me.

Even if I did something wrong
on the baseball field,

'cause he was
my baseball coach,

he'd be like, "Nah, nah,
you did nothing wrong."

It was just always
a positive thing with him.

I felt like my step-pops
was a superhero.

He was always
that good person.

Like, he was helping people

without thinking
about himself.

I've got you.

[Danny] That's what
a superhero does,

and that's
what my stepfather did.

When I was younger,
I didn't have a TV,

so the only way
I could watch movies

is if my step-pop would
take me to a movie theater.

You can't make an omelet
without breaking some eggs.

[person screams]

[Danny] It was cheap,
so we would go there,

watch movies,
and I was always into film.

I was like,
"Yo, like, that shit is cool."

Like, you know what I mean?

"Those look like
fucking villains."

Hello, Amanda.

You don't know me,
but I know you.

I want to play a game.

Live or die.

Make your choice.

tense music

[Danny] I was 13.

My stepdad asked me to go
to the supermarket with him.

I was like, "No,
I don't wanna go. Just go."

Never came back.

[horns honking]

-[siren wails]

[tires squeal]

He got murdered
a block away from my crib.

It was broad day. 2:00 p.m.

I felt like
my step-pops was invincible,

so when they took him from me,
I felt naked.

I was 13.
I weighed, like, 150 pounds.

I dropped to, like, 90.
I was really dying.

I didn't shower
in, like, two months.

I just started bugging
in school.

I got expelled
in eighth grade.

I just started trapping
with my brothers.

It just makes me angry,
you know what I'm saying?

Superheroes always die.

Fuck being a superhero.

I wanna be a villain.
The villains never die.

heavy music

[Giancarlo] There's a fine line

between a superhero
and a supervillain.

It starts when we're young.

Everyone's a good person
at first, right?

We start as blank slates.

Good people
who just wanna feel the love

the world has to offer.

But then
fucked up shit happens.

foreboding music

We see things.

-We hear things.
-[brush whirs]

We develop
memories and thoughts

about the world around us

from our childhood

and for some,
these experiences sting.

They hurt.

They're mental scars
that can't be repaired,

and they change a person

For superheroes,
they use this trauma for good.

But supervillains
channel the trauma

into something bigger.

Something that becomes
an unstoppable force

propelling them through life,

disregarding anything
or anyone

that comes in their way.



[indistinct chatter]

There's a psychological way

of, like, understanding
how he works.

When he lost his dad,
he felt like he was

a kid who was just lost,
had a fucked-up childhood,

never really belonged nowhere,

never had any type of love
growing up,

so everything he's ever done
is for attention.

He's an attention-seeker,

and it's from the lack of love
he had growing up.

He's addicted to fame,
to the attention.

He has to be talked about.

I was
a very supportive girlfriend.

I just thought
he was being different

and very innovative.

Like, nobody is doing
this shit.

Like, oh, my God.

I thought he fucking
fell from the sky.

I'm like, "He's so different.

Look at his clothes
that he makes."

It's like, "I love it."

I would go with him, go get
clothes and stuff like that,

I would do his hair.

And it's just like,

"I'ma have faith in him

'cause I know
it's gonna be something."

Even if he wanted
to put me in it one time

just to take pictures,
goes to the city real quick,

"Can you model this?"
"All right, I'll do that."

I'll put the fucking oversized
HIV shirt on my back

just so you can
take a picture.

We never could have
come this far


I took the good times

I'll take the bad times

I'll take you
just the way you are

[music distorting]

[train rumbling]

[Lucas] If you've lived
in any big city,

especially New York, you get
to know your bodega guy.

Like, I was there--
I got my morning coffee there.

When I come home drunk
from the bars,

I could get my snack
or my pint of ice cream.

Like, you just--
you develop a relationship.

[camera lens snaps]

And Danny was my bodega guy.

uneasy music

At that time, I was getting
a lot of traction for Hanksy.

Hanksy was just a joke.

I took art of Banksy,

and then I just combined it

with America's
most lovable actor, Tom Hanks,

and made Hanksy.

I was going viral and I was
getting a lot of followers.

So he would be hitting me up,

like, "Hey, man,
check out my video.

Please post my shit."

One day, he says, "Adam,
I got a new clothing line."

And then he showed me.

It was like HIV
in big, white letters,

and, like, just really...
things that I'm...

kinda like,
"What are you doing, man?"

[indistinct chatter]

[Ottoneil] speaking Spanish

[Frank] speaking Spanish

[Danny] Hey, you know, like,

I'm not trying to be a dick
or nothing,

but it's gotta be
a hundred percent perfect.

Any creator,
whether you're a rapper

or a clothing designer
or a visual artist,

until you get your break,

you're constantly trying
to get noticed.

Before social media and these
platforms came about,

I mean, how were you
gonna get famous?

This unreachable thing.

And then now, all of a sudden,
here we are.

Moo, yah

With the power to go viral

or gain a little taste

of that micro-fame overnight.

Now that is accessible to you,
to me, to everybody

with a camera on our phone.


[Lucas] Social media
is a very good tool.

It's beautiful.

I just think
you need to be able

to pick and choose
how you use it.

If you are able to utilize that

for your own gain or notoriety,

you can get a lot of traction,

but for a lot of these kids,
it is only about popularity.


[Lucas] And reaching the top,

getting as many followers
as you can,

whatever it takes.

And I think
that's the dangerous part

with, like, social media
and platforms like that

is that once you get
a taste of it,

you want more and more
and more and more and more.

'Cause it is such a law
of diminishing returns.

You wanna do
more and more and more

to keep that momentum going.

So you just keep doing
shocking things.

It's a way of thinking.

If you don't keep a good head
on your shoulders,

man, it can go--you can spiral
out of control.


[person] Kiss his face

Take your time with it.

[Sara] At first, it started
off with the clothes.

Like, "Oh, they're gonna model
my clothes."

Everything had to have

some type of shock value
to it, you know?

-Yeah, so, you're only 14?

-Got that little Mexican cunt.

[Sara] So it's just like,

"What's gonna get me

and get me lit super quick?"

Nobody's really suplexing
girls on camera.

Nobody's really pretending
to have sex with 'em.

Nobody's really doing this.

And he would do it,
and I would bitch about it,

and he'd be like, "But look
how fast it got reposted.

I'm on Worldstar.
Snoop Dogg reposted me.

This person reposted me.
That person reposted me."

It's just like,
"You're spending all your time

doing all of this
just to get reposted,

just to have
some type of clout."

intense musical buildup

Let me pull up
the "ScumLife" one.

This is the one
that most people talk about

'cause it's the only one left.

They took down all the videos.

I knew he was special
right away

from the first video I saw.

Everyone was trying to look

for the next
Instagram star rapper

that tries to go viral.

You know, I've been grinding
for years.

Always just working
on beats and shit.

Always trying to improve.

And I found him on Twitter.

I was like,
"Bro, I fucking love it.

Let's work."

He was into music.
He didn't--I knew for a--

like, he didn't really listen
to a lot of rap.

dramatic musical sting

[Danny] I didn't like rap.

I was always into rock.

I grew up on Parkway Drive,
All That Remains,

Breaking Benjamin,
heavy metal.

I didn't wanna rap.

I don't think
I'm that talented, right?

There's people working UPS
that rap better than me.

But one thing that my
talent is, it's not rapping.

My talent is like
a visionary.

And I think no one is
better than me at it.

So when I rap,

I try to entertain
as best as possible.

So me rapping and--

it's not because I have
a talent at rapping, right,

or have a talent in metaphors
or anything.

It's, how good
can I entertain?

But everything I do
has a reason.

I take steps.
Like, I know where I'm going.

Every time.

[camera lens snaps]

[Jordan] I was
his first producer ever.

I was the first one like,
"All right,

I'm gonna work with you,
I'm in the studio with you,

I'm making beats just for you,"

and that's how we built it.

Fuck around
with them fuck arounds

You gon' fuck around
and get smoked, rrah!

[Jordan] And then
the first one we did,

we put "Shinigami" first.

Get your hustle on
with them hustle-lords

And I promise
you'll get dough

You talk a lot,
you a chatterbox

But real niggas lay low

Represent your gang, nigga,
throw it up

I don't give a fuck
where you at, nigga

Throw it up, throw it up

Represent your gang, nigga,
scum life

I don't give a fuck
where you at, nigga

Scum life

Every few months, he'll put out
a video with a song,

and that was his thing.

He never just put out the song
on SoundCloud.

He always had visuals for it.

He just wanted to be seen.

Hurry up.

[indistinct chatter]

tense music

I always put heroin scenes
in my videos

because that's
what I grew up watching.

What really takes off for me

is seeing the videos,
the visuals.

[Jordan] It was so fucking raw.

You had a dude shoot up heroin
in your fucking music video?

Who does that?

That's the most insane
fucking shit.

[Lucas] He was still
just the neighborhood kid.

I think the biggest reaction
I got

was when he shut down
our block,

he rented a bunch of,
you know, flashy sport cars,

and he shot a music video.

[producer] Danny, Danny.
Just rap this, all right?

I was impressed by this kid

who was able to organize
this whole production

and set up,
and the block was impressed.

You know, everyone's out
and there was energy,

and I'm like,
"That's cool, man.

Good job, dude."

[Ottoneil] speaking Spanish

[Frank] speaking Spanish

I think he's a smart kid.

He's a fully-formed creative
doing the wildest shit.

He was in it
for the shock and awe.

intense musical build-up

[computer whirs down]

[Adam 22]
The thing that separates me

from, like,
the top personalities in rap

is that I'm somebody
who focuses

on covering the underground.

Like, me and my group chats

with like a lot
of my friends

is us sending pictures
back and forth from Instagram

or sending, like,
random song snippets

back and forth
to each other of, like,

"Can you believe what this dude

who has 6,000 followers
just did?"

There's an element
of like people-watching

and sort of just
being interested

in the roots
of what's going on here.

where they do that at?

When the MAC clap,
it's a dooby wrap

It's a jack move, black,
so you better run that

[Adam 22] I remember
part of what I thought of

when I first saw him.

I remember thinking,
"This guy's got

a little bit of star power."

[laughing, muttering]

[Adam 22]
I definitely thought he had

something going for him.

When you look
at the whole 6ix9ine thing,

a lot of it has to do
with just the incentives

that we've created
in our society.

Like, we live
in an attention economy.

Lil Tay just got verified.

Y'all hos said
I wouldn't make it,

but bitch, look,
I'm verified now.

Lil Tay the youngest flexer
of the century.

Bitch, I just got verified.


[Adam 22]
Now that we live in a world

where you're able to create
your own platform,

I mean, you don't need
any help, really.

Like, you're able
to pretty much, you know,

do all of your own marketing,

and it doesn't matter
if the media ignores it.

If you go out there,
run for a beer,

I'll chuck it over to you
with this.

[Adam 22] A large percentage
of the audience

really are tuned in
for the soap opera

just because in a lot
of people's minds,

this is
probably their best bet

at getting a glimpse
into a lifestyle

that they're never gonna be
able to get close to,

and it's just,
like, beyond fascinating

to a lot of people.

[person] Kitty, are you stuck?

[Adam 22] People want to see
the crazy shit.

People wanna see stuff
where it feels like they're--

like anything could happen.

And, you know, 6ix9ine is
the definition of that.

He keeps making his plotline
more and more extreme.

You can't really blame people
for being so tuned in.

I'm tuned in.

I'm looking down on him,
but I'm still watching.

[tool buzzing]

foreboding music

[Danny] What, really,
people gravitate to

is a fictional character.

I feel like I lost
all my sense, right?

But when I lost all my sense,
I gained all my success.

One day I woke up and I said,

"Yo, I want my look
to be loud."

I felt invisible.

I just had to make
a loud presence.

Danny became Tekashi
because Danny created him

the way he wanted to be
viewed in the world.

And in the world we live in,

that's the only thing
that gets attention.

And that's what the kids
that I appeal to

would love about me.

I'm the hope for those kids
that can't stand up

for themselves,
you know what I mean?

I'ma show them that if
I can do it, they can do it,

and that's
what 6ix9ine is for.

With the six and the nine,

so you sitting
right across from me

and I'm here,
you're still seeing a 6-9.

So my point of view
with the 6-9 is,

'cause if I'm poor
and you're rich,

does that make you right
because you're rich

and I'm wrong
because I'm poor?

It's just life from two
different perspectives.

There was this tattoo artist
named Takashi

from my neighborhood,

and he was this heroin addict.

He did heroin to create.

He did it to get himself
in his little world.

He did it to be himself.

And that's where I got
the name Tekashi from.

And that's who I am.

I'm Tekashi 6ix9ine,

and I'll build
my own fucking world.

Because I loved him so much,

I was willing to take
everything that came with him.

Tattoos, the missing tooth,
the craziness.

Didn't matter what he did.

He said he wanted to color
his hair,

and I'm like, "Well...

not that many salons
in the hood

know how to get
those type of colors.

You would have to go
to Williamsburg

towards the north side
or something to...

these white people,
these white people

do all these crazy colors
on their hair.

Like, you gotta go to them.

They know how to do
that stuff."

Sofi Tukker and ZHU's
"Mi Rumba"

upbeat house music

Me and him walked
from his house to Williamsburg

looking for different,
like, hair salons,

and I was like,
"You need to go here."

Call me a lover,
call me a freak

I want every part of you

You want every part of me

The first time I met Danny,
he was about 16 1/2.

I thought he was cool.
I mean, his style was awesome.

He didn't have many tattoos.

He just had, like,
the little bits of 6-9.

The first day I met him,
he told me he was gonna be

a world-famous rapper.

And I just, you know, like...

was like, "Cool.

You know, that's great.
Good luck."

But, you know, in New York,

you know,
a lot of people say that.

[hairdryer whirring]

Changing up your hair color
can change somebody's persona.

You know, bring them
more to their truer self.

I think
he's just his own muse.

He's the best.

You know,
we chat and we're friends

and, you know,
he knows I love him.

I'll defend him to the end.

That's also, like,
probably the Jewish mama in me.

I mean, since I've known him,

he's come up with
the most clever things ever,

and he just, like, was like,
"Becca, can you do this?"

and I was like, "Yeah."

You know, like, he would
think of these things,

you know, color scheme
or where he wanted it exactly,

and I would just execute it.

foreboding music

[Sara] I have family,
friends saying,

"This is how he's meant?

With rainbow colored hair?"

It's just like...

I don't care.

I'll walk outside
with him like that

and that's my man.

I'm holding his hand.
I'm right beside him.

[Jordan] He started
dying his hair rainbow.

Smartest fucking move.

You're the only rapper
with long rainbow hair.

You know what I mean?

You're gonna stand out
a mile away.

Again, the mind notices
everything that's different.

Everyone else has
regular haircuts and shit.

His hair is like--
he has a fucking rainbow perm.

How does that not stand out?

He started seeing the reception
he was getting early,

and he was like,
"All right, yeah.

We're taking this serious."

Even though he was,
like, serious before,

I think he took it
another level serious,

and he's like, "Yeah, I'm gonna
go fucking hard with this."

dark music

[tool buzzing]

[Ottoneil] speaking Spanish

intense rhythm

[Jordan] He was always
a creative person,

always had great ideas.

Maybe in another life,
he's working in marketing.

'Cause he knows
how to get a brand out there.

A lot of his moves
are calculated, in a way.

Like, he knew
exactly what he was doing.

He knew exactly the reaction
he was gonna get.

heavy music

[Giancarlo] The trauma
is where it all started.

But becoming a villain
is so much more.

It requires creating a look.

Do something to yourself

that people will be forced
to remember.

Because appearance
is everything.

You start small,

and then it gets bigger
and so fucking bizarre

that you one day look
at yourself in the mirror

in disgust.

But you smile

because it's everything
you ever wanted.

These motherfuckers
won't forget you this time.

[indistinct chatter]

[producer] You gonna get
the gloves?

-I'm scared.
-Yeah, go ahead.

-[producer] You gotta let go.
-Oh, I gotta let go?

[producer] No, you gotta, like,
let go of the ground.

-Are you on the ground?
-No, I'm on the--

His feet are on the wall.

[Danny] Should I kick off?

[producer] Can you just, like,
get this shot?

[producer] Just catch that
and that's it.

[Adam 22] The thing is
is that 6ix9ine,

like, for a while,

he was doing sorta
more punk rock type stuff.

Early on, he was doing stuff

that sorta would have
allowed him

to fit more
into that kind of punk world.

He decided that the way
for him to get big

was not to necessarily
surround himself

with this whole
punk aesthetic,

but actually that
the gang aesthetic

was gonna get him further.

It's not like he had,

like, an aesthetic style
that he preferred.

It was a hundred percent about
getting rich and famous.

tense music

[Ron] My name's Ron Barrett.

I run
a gang prevention program.

Been running a gang prevention
program since probably 1999.

A lot of entertainers know
in this business

that if you can connect
yourself as being a gangster,

that's what sells
in this industry.

If you go back to the
beginning of gangster rap

on the West Coast and how that
flourished and boomed up,

it's the same thing
on the East Coast.

You had individuals
like Jim Jones and Dipset

back in the day
where they were the first ones

we seen really bring
this East Coast Blood stuff

to the forefront.

That sells.

Like I said, the romanticism
and the gang culture

is huge with kids,

and the more clout you can have

of being connected
to these individuals,

it adds to your aura.

So the more credibility
you have

and the more, you know,
people can,

you know, peel the layers
and say,

"Well, he is from that area

and he was a member
of that gang," that sells.

That sells.

uneasy music

[rap music plays over stereo]

[Seqo] My first time
meeting Danny,

I hadn't seen a picture
of him,

seen nothing about him,

heard anything.

You know, I'm Seqo Billy.

You know, I'm from Red Star.
I'm from Brooklyn.

I'm SRG, what we call in jail.
I'm labeled.

Gang. I'm Blood.
You know what I'm saying?

Everywhere we go,
police know I'm Blood,

so it's red,
you know what I mean?

That's my thing.
That's my color.

In total, I did like
five and a half years.

I came home
probably in one month stints.

Like, I'd be home
for, like, two months

and I'd be back
on a parole violation

or sometimes even a new charge.

It was a back-and-forth thing.

That shit is
really a revolving door.

[indistinct radio chatter]

I got out of jail

and I started a record label.

My manager Chris
was just like,

"Yo, I just want you
to meet somebody."

I was mad tired,

I was aggravated
over something else,

some money shit,

and I was like, "Man, I don't
even wanna hear nothing.

I don't wanna meet
nobody tonight.

Like, fuck, I don't care."

But he like, "Nah,
you know what I'm saying?

This is how you gotta be
when you in this business."

I'm like, "A'ight.
Cool. Fuck it."

[train rattling]

My first time meeting Danny,

he said, "The music is dirt.
Trash. Lyrics, trash.

But the videos are fire."

And I'm like, "Damn, homie.

Like, you just gonna
tell niggas your shit trash?

Like, fuck it.
A'ight, I feel you.

Videos must really be
fire then.


dramatic musical flourish

Played some videos.

I was like, "A'ight,
this shit is different."

It's weird, but I'm not
against different or weird.

I'm not against it.

So I'm like,
"Let me hear 'em all.

Let me watch this shit
till the end."

So he played the videos.

I'm like, "Damn,
the videos are poppin.'"

So I'm like, "Nah.
This a go. This'll work.

We can do something with it."

And from then on, it's just--
we started rockin'.

Yo, that shit.

-[indistinct shouting]
-[music playing over stereo]

dark music

Yo, Bris.

[Bris] Don't tell me
we about to walk, bro.

Nah, bruh.
Get in the Uber.

[Bris] Oh, we gonna drive?

[Danny] Yeah, yo, Bris,
we here. Look.

[Bris indistinct]

Shit about to be a movie.
You heard, Bris?


For my Nine Trey gangstas.

This for my Nine Trey gangstas!

[Seqo] Me and him had
a real relationship.

I was like a big brother
to that nigga.


yeah, he was gang
in that sense.

Now, you cool now,
know what I'm saying?

You family.

I'm saying I see you,
I see what you doing,

I see what you got going on,

we both focus on this,
the business,

and we got
a regular relationship.

But ears.

[Seqo] Feel the ears.

[upbeat music over speakers]

Yo, he popped the tags.

-[Seqo, murmuring]

Know what I'm saying?

I knew it was gonna be hard

for the streets to accept

the whole punk-rock-rap thing

or punk rap idea, 'cause
that's where it was going.

That's what
it looked like to me.

They said when they see me,
I'ma run

I don't duck, bitch

All that talking,
boy, stop

Heard you dancing,
boy, stop

Need a lesson, boy, stop

That's when I was like, nah,
you know what I mean?

Just give it a different feel,
give it a different background,

and a different demographic.

So just...we gonna place him
in this environment.

Fucking big Bloods
in this bitch, what?

Niggas, niggas, niggas, niggas
cosigning this whole movement.

This is what gangtivity is.

There's a type of gangtivity
in this bitch.

[overlapping chatter]

[Adam 22]
If you're from New York

and you're not really, like,
associated with the gang thing

like that in the first place,
it's like,

most of us understand
that it's goofy

to, you know, squad up
with a gang later in your life.

[dog barking]

A big part
of why 6ix9ine wanted

to get down with the Bloods
is because he felt like

if he was established
with them,

he would have everything
that he needed for his career.

Like, that was a huge cosign,
huge step for him.

[person, muttering]
...get that shit out the way.

Tekashi was very glamorized

by the gang culture.

They said, "Listen, we got
the power to back you.

We got the muscle to back you.

No one's gonna mess with you
no more.

You can utilize our name
and our brand,

and as long as
we're getting something

on the other end of that,
that's how this game works."

[Adam 22] He wanted to not
only have that protection,

but he wanted to be
one of 'em.

[Ron] You're putting yourself
as a member of that group,

then they're expecting
something in return,

be it through violence
or any type of threats.

They're expecting some
monetary, you know, recoups

because, listen,
we're here for you.

We're doing this for you.
No one's touching you.

You're untouchable
because of us.

As I speak to you today,
Nine Trey is known

from the top of Maine
to the bottom of Florida.

You know,
the whole East Coast knows

about Nine Trey gangsters.

People know that if you mess
with a group like Nine Trey

that you are gonna deal
with the end result,

which was going to be violence.

intense musical build-up

-I got myself Big Star. Sup?
-I'm saying.

-Who said you not good?
-I don't know.

Who said he not good?

Who said they don't like him?

Who say they don't like
Big Star?

[Sara] I didn't honestly know

what a Nine Trey
gangster Blood--

I knew there was Bloods.

It wasn't until I was
around these people

that I knew there was
different types of Bloods

and all this other stuff.

Where the Billy?

-[person] Appreciation, man.
-Appreciation for y'all.

[Sara] At first, I was
very, like, anxious.

I asked him.
I was like, "Look,

you hanging around
with all these Blood guys.

Are you Blood?"
And he denied it to me.

He just...

he lied.

somber music

Around that time,

our daughter was born.

He said, "We're gonna have
a family,"

and, "I love you."

And I really wanted to have
a good family.

I really genuinely thought

this would make him
think differently.

"I want you to be
a part of the baby's life.

I want you to be her father.
I wanna be together.

I wanna have a family."

But not even a baby
can change a person.

When my daughter was born,

I wasn't there with my kid.

I went
and I kept making music.

I tell myself,

"Am I doing this

because I'm a bad dad?"

I told my girlfriend,

I was like,
"Yo, I'ma get a job.

We gonna be good.
We gonna do this.

I'ma do everything that
I have to do for the baby."

Everything I said
I was gonna do...

...I did the fucking opposite.

dark music

[Giancarlo] Okay.
So you got your look.

People are staring at you
and finally taking notice.

It's everything
you ever wanted.



The path to becoming
a supervillain

is full of twists and turns.

-It's not for everyone.
-[gun cocks]

You have to have
a relentless mindset

that disregards
the societal norms.

And when that society
tries to hold you back,

you say, "Fuck it."

Because after all,
to supervillains,

life is one big game.

[siren wailing in distance]

Billy up, nigga, Billy dat

Tell 'em pop out
where it's litty at

Really, homie?
Billy dat

Where all the 0-Trey
biddies at?

Gangsta party, Fendi fact

[Seqo] I told my people that
we was gonna shoot my video.

They had no idea that we were
shooting a video for Danny.

Like, they didn't know him.

[person] Bro, you know
the big bro out here.

[Seqo] My grandma was
actually in the video.

That's her home.
That's her brownstone.

And I told her,
"Yo, we shooting my video.

I'ma have some people over,
know what I mean?"

And she like, "A'ight, cool."

heavy rap music


[Seqo] My shit was playing.

Some of the other homies'
shit was playing.

We played a bunch of music.

But when it was time
to shoot the video,

know what I'm saying,
it was his video.

uneasy music

He had a bag full of bandanas.

I remember I told him,

"Yo, bro, just bring
your Mexican flag, bro."

He wanted to put
the red bandana on.

Said, "We do it
for the video."

And we do it
for the video.

Like, he felt like he was
a part of something.

It was different
just seeing him

and mad homies behind him.

That was big.

[Adam 22]
We underrate how important

that air of danger is
to rap fans.

[cheers and applause]

There is some significant
portion of rap fans

that might not be able

to identify this
about themselves,

but they basically
are watching it

because they want--

they're basically watching,
like, death porn.

'Cause if your video's filled
with guns and drugs,

then it's kinda like,
you really are

putting your life on the line
on a consistent basis.

Like, they wanna
watch something

where there's a real chance
of somebody perishing,

and that--it feels so real
to them in their head,

and it's like a really
kinda gross instinct.

If he had been doing
the "GUMMO" video

with like him and three
of his Hispanic homies

on the block in Brooklyn,
then, like, I don't know

that it necessarily would have
done as much for him,

but when you have him
with 40 dudes in red bandanas

on the block,

I mean, there's a lot of people
in hip-hop

that are gonna bite onto that
because that just--

it feels real,
it feels dangerous.

It feels like, you know,
he's really out here and...

I mean, he knew.

He knew
exactly what he was doing.

Scum Gang!

"GUMMO" playing

heavy rap music

I see y'all niggas

Say what?

Pop these niggas
like a wheelie, nigga

You a silly nigga

In the hood
with them Billy niggas

And them Hoover niggas

tense music

I was watching this video.

Here's this guy
with this rainbow hair.

And I actually had seen,
you know, memes

of this rapper before.

Rainbow hair
and the shiny teeth

and the tattoos and...

but I looked at him like,
"What the heck?

Is that Danny?
That's fucking Danny?

The bodega boy?"

I was impressed.

Like, from the deli

to a number one hit?

Like, that doesn't happen
all the time.

-[cohost] He has rainbow hair.
-[Joe] Yeah.

He's got a rainbow grill.

[Joe] Jamie forced me
into watching him.

He's got a rainbow grill now.
That's new, right?

[cohost] He has a tattoo of 69
on his face.

He looks Mexican to me,
but he's claiming--

I think he's claiming
he's Black, right?

-[Joe] No. Puerto Rican.
-'Cause he says the N-word...

-[Joe] Yeah.
-All the time.

[Brendan] My name is
Brendan Klinkenberg,

senior editor
at Rolling Stone.

I first heard of Tekashi

when every other day,
someone was coming to me

and being like,
"You've gotta see this."

[camera lens snaps]

He had a really firm grasp of

a way to shock the viewer

but not make you
want to look away.

I think the tattoos
and the hair and the grills

all are immediately, like--

regardless of how you end up
feeling about him,

people remember the first time
they saw him.

He did a lot
that, uh, warranted attention.

I'm good in my hood.

Niggas love me in my town.

Quit trying to get me to get
y'all self some money,

'cause y'all niggas be broke.

He said the N-word
as punctuation.

I assume
that that's partially because

he doesn't wanna come up
with words to rhyme.

People are well within
their rights

if they are personally
offended by that.

He exploited a very specific
emotional response

to become
extraordinarily popular

extraordinarily quickly.


In an effort to get clout

and sell his persona
as this dangerous rapper,

he was recruiting
these gang members

to, like, let them be
window dressing

in his music videos.

You need one hit for people
to coalesce around,

and "GUMMO" was that
for Tekashi.

It's such a strong introduction
to him.

Once he becomes famous,

he's just another one of these
characters in hip-hop.

[cheers and applause]

A lot of artists
and celebrities,

but rappers in particular,
are larger than life.

They're these people
who you recognize on sight,

and you also know
their stories

as soon as you start to listen
to them.

It's still
a story-telling genre,

and there's a lot of ways
to tell stories.

People start to operate
in these roles.

You have someone like Jay-Z

who's kind of
the mastermind kingpin.

His life bears that out.

He keeps making moves
that make him more money.

There's a really long history
of that

going back to the
very beginning of hip-hop.

You see these people--like,
Slick Rick has a full persona.

He's someone who influenced
story-telling rap

more than anybody else.

A lot of rappers play
with identity in that way.

You know, these people
like André 3000,

this--this soulful poet

who refuses
any artistic limits.

You have like a Young Thug,

whose sole mission seems to be
to follow his own instincts

and, like, bend the rules
of rap towards himself.

And all of these people,

through sheer force
of personality

and artistic ability,

begin to shape what the world
looks like for other people.

Hip-hop in general allows

for a lot of that kind of,
you know, myth-making.

That kind of
"I am who I say I am."

And that's the thing

that listeners
are often attracted to

is someone, like, defining
exactly who they are

on their own terms.

Yo, so you know
what I just noticed, right?

My government name
is Daniel Hernandez.

Like, that's my name.
Daniel Hernandez.

And my rap name
is 6ix9ine, right?

So follow me.

So Daniel has six letters

in the name,

and Hernandez have nine letters
in the name.

So 6ix9ine, Daniel Hernandez.

intense music

Never seen anything like him

in terms
of the supervillain thing.

I mean, it seems like
he's really willingly embracing

being a piece of shit.

Man, fuck all your dead homies,
nigga--I don't give a fuck

who I'm talking about,
fuck all them niggas, nigga.

-Who you talking about?
-Fuck you

-and your dead homies, nigga.
-Who you talkin' about?

Fuck are you talkin' about?
I'm gangsta like that.

Rainbow-head, dough-head bitch.

I mean, that's why he wanted
to get down with the Bloods.

It's just because it sort of
gave him the opportunity

to talk all the shit
that he wanted.

Do not beef with me if you not
ready to get disrespected

'cause I'm
a disrespectful-ass kid.

YG, suck my fucking dick,

99.9 percent of y'all rappers
is fucking bitch-ass niggas,

and y'all can all suck
my fucking dick.

It's how the fuck we mob, man!
Treyway shit, man!

Jack boy shit, man!

You're fucking Barclays,

[Ron] In 23 years
of doing gang work,

there hasn't been really
a happy ending with anybody.

The reality
of what this is leading to

has been prison,
has been death,

and has been people
being maimed,

in wheelchairs
and losing limbs.

-For real, nigga. Huh?
-Yeah. Yeah.

It's a whole lot of gang shit.

Gang shit...

[Ron] It's unwritten rule,

you know, you have to show
your worthiness.

You have to be walked in,
as they say.

To be a Nine Trey gangster,

you know, you have to have
somebody vouch for you,

and if somebody's vouching
for you,

then they're basically saying

that this individual is cut
for our lifestyle.

6ix9ine with the homies.

Real gangster,
you know what I'm saying?

[person] 6ix9ine is Blood.

[person] Who said he not good?

Who said they don't like him?

I had been with him
for five months,

on the road, off the road,

sleeping in my crib,
sleeping on the floor together,


eating Thanksgiving dinner
at my grandmother crib,

shit like that.

You do shit like that,

you know what I'm saying,
you in.

You in.

Bad times,
we stood up for Danny.

[person] Fuck these niggas!

[Seqo] In so many instances
and situations.

uneasy music

-Pull up for him every time.

I treat that nigga
like one of my family.

Mind you, he had a whole...

he had a whole different...

he had a ulterior motive
with that whole scheme.

He was doing it to...

to make the fucking empire
crumble though.

[reporter] 18 alleged gang
members and their friends

indicted on dozens of charges,

with crimes ranging
from reckless endangerment

to conspiracy and murder.

Watch as this young man
opens fire...

intense musical build-up

All I'm standing on
is pull up

On my Jetta
with the hood up, yo

Icy rocks, big bookers

Aunties wanna give me
sugar, yo

Mink coat like a pusher

Sisters wanna have
my babies

Baby mamas
drive me crazy

They comparing me to Jay-Z

Cooking, cooking,
cooking, cooking

From the kitchen
to the bookies

From the bookers
to the slammer

First day,
I got a hammer, yo

Roll out that red,
I'm like whoa

They be like,
'What's poppin'?

What's poppin', Fav?'

I'm banging, I sign
on that dotted line

Won't snitch and won't
switch for no dollar sign


Them niggas get
in your head, Fa

No, don't you do that
[echo] don't do that

You know what time it is

It's a fact
[echo] it's a fact

They play tag
and tap dance on lava

Billy yo


Think they hard
'cause they taggin'

Tie your moms up
in plastic, yo

Kill your dog
with the mattress

Leave a bomb
by your address

Seqo Billy terminator,

I feed your baby
to a gator, yo

You can dream about it