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As a Musician, Tekashi69 is Underrated

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As a Musician, Tekashi69 is Underrated

<> on September 1, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

<> on September 1, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

FilmMagic

<> on September 1, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

FilmMagic

FilmMagic

<> on September 1, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Ezra Jones, Staff Writer

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When people are asked who the greatest musician of all time is, they will give a variety of responses. Some will say Michael Jackson, others are likely to say The Beatles. Many will probably say Elvis, and a few younger people may say someone like Beyonce. I would argue, however, that the greatest musician, not only of our time, but if all time, is Daniel Hernandez, better known as 6ix9ine (AKA Tekashi69).

His debut album DUMMY BOY proves this point. It is a beautiful representation of the pains of becoming famous, telling a mesmerizing story of Tekashi’s battles against depression, betrayal, and injustice in America.

His mixtape DAY69, which released earlier this year to critical acclaim, discussed Hernandez’s struggles growing up in urban poverty, discussing topics such as police brutality and suicide with a refinement few others could compare to. The album also contained amazing, hard-hitting production and delivery from Tekashi’s trademark sound. Many people began to realize his talent from this, and Tekashi continued to rise to fame after it, but his most recent album DUMMY BOY truly cements 6ix9ine as one of greatest musicians of all time.

The album starts off with a bang with the opening track, STOOPID, having Tekashi let out his anger at the corruption in the American prison-industrial complex. The song’s title is a reference to the many insults he faces for standing up against the system. He shouts out his “Apes” in the “Zoo” on this song. This is used to paint a brutally honest picture of the inhumane treatment of prisoners in U.S. prisons, calling out the abuse inmates face in many of America’s for-profit prisons by comparing it to the well-known poor conditions of animals in zoos. Later in the song he states “Shout out my Blood shout out my Crip.” This is used to show that 6ix9ine grew up in a rough environment, give legitimacy to his claims about the poor conditions many Americans face, but also shows that he wants to end gang violence because of his friendship with members of rival gangs, creating an inspirational message of the future to America’s youth that will end much of the unnecessary gun violence in this country. The song ends with a feature from Bobby Shmurda, a rapper who at the time of the writing of this is currently unjustly imprisoned.

The Second track on the album is 6ix9ine’s chart topping hit FEFE, featuring Nicki Minaj. The song is a reference to a native language spoken in Cameroon, used to show the influence of African culture on popular music. This title is used to show his respect to the origins of the culture that means so much to him. It is also his way to show his views on culture and race, showing that race should not affect which culture you are part of, so long as you acknowledge the cultures origins. This idea is breaking new ground in terms of the pure idea of what culture is, as it is an identity that unites different people, rather than a way of dividing them into separate groups. In this song Hernandez illustrates his straining relations with those he cares for, and the isolation fame gives him. He uses a more melodic, quieter delivery to show how fame has changed him as a person, with his voice being a analogy for his personality.

He states in the song’s infectious hook, “I don’t really want no friends.” This is showing how he has so many trust issues after fame that he finds it easier to simply have no friends than figuring out who is his friend and who is his foe. It paints a picture of a depressing life that many would not expect for someone with so much wealth. In his verse 6ix9ine describes his strained relationship with his girlfriend and the mother of his child, saying “Talk to her nice so she won’t fight back.” This continues to show 6ix9ine’s growing apathy for his life, just trudging along without trying to improve anymore. This establishes the themes of depression that will be explored more later in the album. Nicki Minaj continues the theme of losing your personality to fame in her verse, saying that she “hates small talk.” She shows that she no longer has a life where she can appreciate the little things, being so wrapped up in the fame that she has no time to do anything she wants anymore. This song begins to express the dangers of fame that many don’t know.

The next song is titled TIC TOC, named after the sound of a clock, used to describe his expensive watch. This is a follow up to the last song, showing the positives of fame. It is used not to brag, but to explain why people are so dragged to fame and willing to stay famous despite the pains described in the previous song. Despite making an image of being blinded by wealth, he says in the beginning “You think i’m dumb, I ain’t no kid.” Tekashi wants to establish that he still acknowledges his problems and is working on improving his life, and that you shouldn’t assume him to be unintelligent just because he faces struggles that you may not understand.

The fourth song on the album, KIKA, is a story of betrayal that he experienced after becoming famous, named after a Spanish film that describes similar themes. The song features Toronto rapper and singer Tory Lanez on the hook, repeating “I do my own stunts, Jackie Chan with it” to prove the point that he rose to fame on his own work, saying that he has put in much work and deserves acknowledgement, despite common claims that musicians like him don’t do most of the work in their songs. 6ix9ine works to continue to disprove this misconception about the music industry by describing how those who he trusted to help him in life betrayed him. He explains how the reason he no longer associates with his former friends, as it is not that he left them out of greed as many people assume, but that they tried to betray him. This song, although made a while ago, seems to almost be a prediction of the events that would befall upon Tekashi recently, with his former associates in his management scamming him and plotting to murder him. This shows Hernandez’s talent for highly realistic storytelling, as the pictures that he paints can easily become true.

WAKA, named after a form of Japanese poetry, which 6ix9ine compares his music to to show it’s eloquence, beauty, and timelessness. The song reflects 6ix9ine’s desire to end the violence in his community. His guest on this song, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, sings “you want beef but this ain’t no burger”, displaying his lack of desire for conflict. He wants to end the unnecessary beef, which he leaves to 6ix9ine, who is known for having many, though as established earlier his beefs have justification. 6ix9ine then plays a character, describing the horrors of gun violence. He says “Boom! Everybody runnin’ out the room. Boom! Everybody beggin’ ‘Don’t shoot!’” This paints a horrifying picture of one of the mass shootings in America. He hopes to establish greater gun restrictions such as requiring greater requirements for registration and restricting where they can be carried. Growing up in bushwick, Tekashi has grown up surrounded by gun violence, so he hopes to use his platform to inspire positive change and restrict gun usage.

The next two songs, BEBE and MALA, are absolutely lovely Spanish ballads. I know they have a deeper meaning because they are written by 6ix9ine, but I don’t speak Spanish so I won’t be the one to figure it out.

KANGA, is a song named after an ethnic minority in Sudan, which are viewed as weird backwards tribalists by the western world, but in this instance are used to show acceptance of these “weird” people, calling for cultural equality. He starts off talking about a girl who loves him, which is used to show how it is possible to accept those with abnormal appearances such as himself. 6ix9ine intentionally makes his appearance go against all of society’s standards, as he wants to show how everything that does not harm another should be accepted. His popular phrase SCUM GANG is a reference to this, as scum is an acronym for Society Can’t Understand Me.

FEEFA is named after the soccer league that inspired him as a child and motivated him to achieve stardom, only spelled differently due to copyright laws. The song is one of Tekashi’s most emotional, as it details Daniel’s struggles with depression and his fear of death. The song starts with fellow rapper Gunna saying “Trapped on one stop” showing how when you are depressed you feel as though you have nowhere to go, stuck in one location. The use of Gunna as a feature has a deeper meaning, as he is commonly seen as the partner to earlier feature Lil Baby. The use of Baby and Gunna on the most uplifting and the most solemn song on the album is used for contrast, a use of parallelism that is nothing short of revolutionary. After telling about his personal struggles with depression, Tekashi cries “Get on one knee I prayed to the lord that he’d watch my family”, then talks about how he hopes that his fans and friends remember him. This shows 6ix9ine’s fear of death, as he is uncertain that an afterlife is uncertain. His praying proves that he is not atheist, yet his confusion implies that he is not of an abrahamic religion that believes in heaven. This implies that Daniel is likely Hindu, and is more likely worried about how his loved ones will fare in life once he is reincarnated as an animal that cannot communicate with them anymore, and he wishes the best for them in reincarnation as well.

The penultimate WONDO is titled after an important American soccer player, representing Tekashi’s identity as both American and Mexican (with soccer being the most popular sport in Mexico). Tekashi is known to support both his home country of America, with multiple instances of donating to educational charities in his home city of New York, as well as giving food to the homeless of Chicago. He also wants to support his roots, however, going so far as to give enough money to build an entire school in Mexico, among other things.

DUMMY, the albums closing track, highlights Tekashi’s advancement as a young man. He features his longtime friend Trifedrew to show his respect for the home he grew up with and his friends who stayed with him no matter what. He says that he “remembers the days we were starving”, a reference to his poverty-stricken upbringing. He then says that the “foreign land looks like a spaceship” referring to the future of the earth, believing that global warming will destroy the earth to the point where finding a extraterrestrial planet will be the only way to save humanity. He believes that he can use his future to inspire change needed to save the earth, but the rich oil companies that control America imprisoned Tekashi to restrict his revolution. A modern day storming of the Bastille is likely to come to spur the much needed modern equivalent to the French revolution to spread radical ideas.

All in all, 6ix9ine is one of the most innovative artists of our time. He combines beautiful, sonically pleasing masterpieces with intellectual lyrics that call for major societal changes, while also addressing struggles he faces along the way. His current unjust imprisonment may stand as an obstacle to success, but I believe 6ix9ine can become the new messiah, bringing a new age of prosperity of peace to this world. I encourage anyone and everyone to listen to this album, as it is not only amazing, but is going to be very influential in the coming months, years and even decades.

A masterpiece of this generation, I feel bad that a 10/10 is the highest I can give this modern classic.

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