In a no-holds-barred interview, his first since being released from prison, rapper 6ix9ine spoke with the New York Times and refused to apologize for any of the actions that have made him a villain to at least as many people as consider him a hero, whether it be “snitching,” his convictions on sex crimes involving a minor, allegations of domestic abuse, or — something he’s directly accused of by the Times interviewer — the crime of being shallow as an artist.
Moreover, 6ix9ine may give some people in the hip-hop world one more reason to hate him: Although he is unsure of his voting status as a felon, he says he’d vote for Donald Trump.
The Times’ in-person interview is remarkable for how probing and downright adversarial many of reporter Joe Ciscarelli’s are, all the way from asking him about his immediate life expectancy to reminding him how ostracized he is by most of the music industry, and then even just telling the rapper that his new song “Trollz” is not up to his past work. None of it seems to faze 6ix9ine in the slightest, which may be as expected for a rapper who lives to profitably provoke, and who doesn’t have a huge security detail just because he’s worried about having his feelings hurt. (As the story points out, he has racked up more than a billion YouTube views just since his early prison release four months ago.)
Here are a dozen things we learned about 6ix9ine’s life after prison, and his still cocky and unrepentant attitude, from the Times’ interview:
His security detail fluctuates, but is always in the double digits. The security team he employs “varies, like, eight, 12, 22,” he says. He admits he’s spending “a lot” on that big a number of guards, but, asked about safety worries, the rapper answers, “Without security? A lot. With security? Nah.” He says he worries but isn’t scared. “Right now, if I … took the train by myself to Bed-Stuy, I wouldn’t come back. If you took a trip to an island full of cannibals, are you coming back? But you don’t put yourself in stupid situations.”
He’s not interested in speaking up for Black Lives Matter, or anything else. “I feel like I got no say… I’m not an activist. People do that for the cameras.”
Despite not being Black, he’s still okay with using the N-word. “Nobody’s going to make me stop saying [expletive]. I grew up in Bushwick, Brooklyn. All my friends are Black. Who’s going to stop me? If I felt it was wrong, I would stop, but it’s not wrong…”
He will vote for Trump, if he can. “Can felons vote?” he asks. “I would vote for Trump,” the newspaper quotes him as admitting, “quietly” and with a laugh.
He believes he shouldn’t be judged harshly for pleading guilty to use of a child in a sexual performance in 2015, given his own adolescence at the time. “The thing with a 13-year-old girl, I was at the wrong place at the wrong time. … Going back to the 13-year-old girl — I was 18 at the time. Am I this 40-year-old Jeffrey Epstein-type? … I’m filming it, uploading it for the masses to see. If you committed a murder, would you upload that (to) Instagram? I uploaded it to social media for the world to see! You’re thinking there’s no crime being committed. When the cops came to get me, I said, what happened?”
He compares himself to Tupac Shakur. “Tupac Shakur was convicted of rape [actually, felony sex abuse]. Is Tupac Shakur loved or hated? Loved! What’s the difference between me and Tupac Shakur? I never caught a rape charge — ever. … There’s no difference between me and Tupac Shakur.” He rejects the idea that Shakur went on to make socially conscious records: “You’re telling me he gave back through his art? You’re lying to me.”
He says any reckoning he has to do about having admitted to domestic violence, committed over a period of years, is private. “I admitted my truth. It’s the worst thing ever. But I’m not going to sit there and lie to you. I’m telling you, I did it. I admit to it, and I apologize. I don’t owe the world an apology, the person I owe an apology to is [the mother of his child]. She got that apology.”
“Snitching” is no less honorable than any of the things his former cohorts did to him, he says. “Before I broke the street code, how many times was it broken to me? ‘It’s all about honor, loyalty.’ Well, let’s talk about if sleeping with somebody’s girl is honor, kidnapping somebody is honor, stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from them is honor, trying to kill them is honor. ‘Snitching’s not street!’ But street is taking advantage of one of your homies?”
He says the music industry is reluctant to promote him, because of his having been an informant. “I feel like the executives think they’re Nine Trey gangsters. These executives feel like they owe something to the streets. It’s the most stupidest thing in the world.”
He admits gaming the system — the Times mentions “bots, pre-roll ads and dirty tactics” — to get his streaming numbers up. “Everybody inflates their numbers. Ev-er-y-bod-y.” But he also complains that the major labels are able to use cash to keep those numbers high, in explaining why his records debut spectacularly and then drop off fast.
He defends his music as something to listen to to get pumped up in the gym, and also likens it to fast food. “When you listen to 6ix9ine, you don’t want to hear, ‘My mama was crying …’ I can go there, but my fans don’t want that. You don’t go to McDonald’s and get filet mignon.”
The last word on possibly changing his ways: “Why would I want to? It’s made me millions of dollars. I’m stupid, but I’m not dumb.”