Last November, at the height of his infamy, Brooklyn rapper Tekashi 69 was arrested and lumped into a RICO case with members of New York’s Nine Trey Gangsta Blood set, aka Treyway. He had just received a relatively light probation sentence in a sexual misconduct case. 69, or 6ix9ine, has professed his innocence via his legal team, but as of now is awaiting trial, which isn’t scheduled to start until September. Throughout 2018, he had the rap world in the palm of his hands with a combination of adversarial bombast, controversy, and a polarizing, energetic sound that won him hoards of young fans. Follow his complete timeline below.
Summer 2017: 69 goes viral and signs with TenThousand Projects
Before anyone knew anything about Tekashi, they knew he was “the kid with the rainbow colored hair.” For better or worse, the 22-year-old had a knack for courting attention. He immediately set himself apart from the hoard of young, debaucherous rappers in the underground scene with a striking visual aesthetic of rainbow-colored hair, large face tattoos, including a prominent 69 that was tatted all over his body. A July 2017 Instagram photo went viral in July 2017, and sometime that year, he signed with Elliott Grange’s LA-based TenThousand projects.
November 2017: 69’s “Gummo” debuts, he speaks with DJ Akademiks about his sexual misconduct case
With the surging “Gummo,” 69 had a noteworthy track to go along with his noteworthy image. The rambunctious hit showcased him screaming threats and gangster affirmations at the top of his lungs over a Pierre Bourne beat. The video, which featured hoards of Bloods throwing signs and dancing in front of the Treyway crew’s “dog house” was even more of a spectacle. The track managed to peak at number 12 on Billboard, making heads turn and people began to wonder exactly who he was.
They’d soon get their answer: In 2014, 69 was arrested and charged with sexual touching of a minor after posting videos on Instagram which depicted him smacking the butt and otherwise fondling a 13-year-old girl. The case was frequently brought up on social media and in various media outlets.
In an interview with media figure DJ Akademiks, who 69 noted was the only person willing to speak with him, 69 contended that the girl told him that she was 18 and that he felt like a “baby” being targeted by a predatory legal system.
He gave Akademiks his account of what happened that night and discussed the case, for which he was facing up to three years in prison. 69 had reached a plea agreement in the case, which was contingent upon him attaining his GED and staying out of trouble. After this interview, Jezebel published an in-depth story which challenged 69’s claims with facts from the case’s paperwork.
December 2017: Day69 drops, gets to number 4 on Billboard
Despite the sexual misconduct case being a prominent aspect of his profile, his Day69 album exceeded expectations. Spurred by singles like “Gummo” and “Kooda,” the album sold 55K album equivalent units in its first week and reached number 4 on the Billboard charts. The album’s success won him favor with TenThousand and affirmed that, for better or worse, the “Gummo” artist was no passing fad.