Tekashi 6ix9ine doesn’t think there’s a difference between him and Tupac. He expressed the sentiments in a new, extensive profile with the New York Times, his first interview since he was granted an early release from prison because of the coronavirus pandemic and due to his asthma. As one of rap’s most polarizing figures, Tekashi has had his public missteps and touched on everything in the wide-ranging interview.
The 24-year-old opened up about his association with the Nine Trey Bloods, federal racketeering case, and subsequent cooperation with the federal authorities. He also addressed the domestic abuse allegations lobbied against him by ex-girlfriend Sara Molina, his penchant for trolling and Donald Trump.
Speaking of his association with Nine Trey Bloods, Tekashi admitted he would not have made it as far as he has without the gang image. “I knew what I was doing with the Nine Trey. I knew what I was getting into,” he told NYT. What turned him against the Nine Trey was their betrayal.
“I was following a street code that was upheld by me and that I thought was real. Before I broke the street code, how many times was it broken to me?” Tekashi explained.
His guilty plea for posting a video of a 13-year-old in sexual performance was all brought up as well. In 2015, Tekashi pled guilty to one felony count of use of a child in a sexual performance. The rapper said he was “at the wrong place at the wrong time.” He maintained that he didn’t know the girl’s real age and was devastated to find out after the fact. Though, Tekashi objected the notion that he should be canceled for his past misdeeds and pointed to Tupac’s 1994 sexual abuse conviction.
“Tupac Shakur was convicted of rape,” he said. “Is Tupac Shakur loved or hated? Loved! What’s the difference between me and Tupac Shakur? I never caught a rape charge — ever.” Interviewer Joe Coscarelli pushed back against the comparison and highlighted how Tupac gave back to the world through his art. “And what am I doing?” Tekashi hit back. He continued that he sincerely believes his music is adding to the world as well. Coscarelli opined that he makes “fun” and “turn-up” music. The rapper countered that by playing the late rap icon’s “Troublesome 96” and pointing out that it was one of Tupac’s biggest songs.
“What’s the difference between that and ‘Billy? A born leader, never leave the crib without my heater!; You’re telling me he gave back through his art?” Tekashi argued. “You’re lying to me.” When Coscarelli notes that Tupac was a multifaceted artist while Tekashi is one-dimensional in comparison, Tekashi retorted, “I got to feed what, in 2020, is relevant. I got to feed the masses. There's no difference between me and Tupac Shakur.”
Later in the interview, Tekashi 6ix9ine spoke of his new reality since leaving prison. The rapper said he doesn’t feel safe without his security detail. Though, that doesn’t mean he’s going to give up his life in the spotlight. The “Gunmo” admitted he’s addicted to the attention that comes with fame, telling NYT, “I grew up being a nobody. Genuinely, as a kid, I felt like I was just walking invisibly. I never want to feel that way. My goal is to feed me and mine.” He denied that he ever considered going into witness protection. He said he was never concerned about testifying against the Nine Trey Bloods, telling NYT, “I wanted to tell my truth.”
Tekashi also addressed criticism over his usage of the N-word. He dismissed the notion, declaring, “Nobody’s going to make me stop saying [the N-word].”
He added, “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.”