Rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine was sentenced to two years in prison plus five years of supervised probation on federal racketeering charges on Dec. 18 in Manhattan federal court.
The Gummo rapper’s sentence includes the 13 months he’s already served, which means he will be released in late 2020.
6ix9ine, whose real name is Daniel Hernandez, will have to complete 300 hours of community service when he is released and pay a $35,000 fine.
Judge Paul A. Engelmayer ruled the charges against the 23-year-old rapper were too severe for his 13 months to be considered full time served.
6ix9ine could have been sentenced to decades in prison for his entanglement with the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods and for crimes that included orchestrating a shooting in which an innocent bystander was wounded.
The Stoopid rapper pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges accusing him of joining the gang known as the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods.
In January, 6ix9ine began co-operating with federal prosecutors after pleading guilty to nine crimes and saying he had joined a violent New York City gang and helped others try to kill a rival gang member.
After his arrest, he shed the outlaw reputation he’d curated online and testified against his gang mates earlier this year, causing some to label him a “snitch.” The testimony helped to convict two high-ranking Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods members.
“Your co-operation was impressive. It was game-changing. It was complete and it was brave,” said Engelmayer as he announced the sentence, which is far lower than federal guidelines for the crimes, in a Manhattan courtroom.
Engelmayer mentioned that many artists sing about organized crime, citing Bruce Springsteen’s Murder Incorporated.
“You, Mr. Hernandez, essentially joined Murder Incorporated,” Englemayer said.
6ix9ine expressed regret for joining the gang and apologized to his family, fans and the victims in the case prior to the sentencing on Wednesday.
“I’m not a victim. I put myself in this position from Day 1,” 6ix9ine said, breaking down shortly after when he spotted his biological father, whom he says he hasn’t seen since the third grade, in the courtroom.
6ix9ine read from a letter on Wednesday, saying: “I made a lot of bad choices in life, but that does not make me a bad person.”
Last week, prior to his sentencing, 6ix9ine wrote an emotional letter to Engelmayer expressing remorse over his actions.
In the letter, 6ix9ine apologized and said he’s deserving of a second chance.
“As my sentencing date approaches, I am becoming more and more overwhelmed with emotions. More than anything, I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to express my remorse to you, your Honour, over this situation,” 6ix9ine wrote.
6ix9ine said that while he’s been in prison he’s “had time to reflect on the recklessness and foolishness” of his decisions.
“I wake up every morning asking myself was it worth it? I know that my life will never be the same but hopefully this change will be for the better because beyond all of this, I still consider myself a role model to millions of people as an artist, a celebrity and as a human being,” the Fefe rapper said.
“I’m happy that the public was able to witness me dealing with the consequences of my actions because I feel like it sheds a light on what can come from gang affiliation.”
In a pre-sentencing letter to the judge, prosecutors said his “co-operation was extraordinary” and “both incredibly significant and extremely useful,” enabling them to charge additional individuals. His Feb. 1 guilty plea prompted nearly all of the other defendants to begin plea negotiations, prosecutors said.
“The government believes that his co-operation was not only substantial, it was extraordinary,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Longyear said at the hearing Wednesday, noting the risks 6ix9ine and his family faced for his testimony.
Prosecutors have described Nine Trey as one of the most violent outgrowths of United Bloods Nation, which has members throughout the country. 6ix9ine relocated his family before his co-operation became publicly known, and then he was moved to a different prison facility and a unit with no gang members, the government said.
His co-operation might make him eligible for a witness protection program, though his distinctive facial tattoos — including a large “69” on his forehead — could make concealing his identity challenging.
“There is no question that the defendant’s life will never be the same because of his co-operation in this case. He and his family will have to take extra safety precautions when being in public so as to avoid potential reprisals from others,” prosecutors wrote in the letter.
On Dec. 12, United States Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman submitted a letter to the judge officially recommending that 6ix9ine’s sentence be reduced.
Berman added that 6ix9ine’s testimony and the media coverage surrounding his case has put him in danger.
“Hernandez testified in the face of threats of safety to him and his family.”
In September, 6ix9ine took the stand to describe for a Manhattan jury details from his life of crime with a violent street gang, including getting abducted at gunpoint.
Testifying as a prosecution witness at the federal trial of two alleged members of the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods, the rapper said defendant Anthony (Harv) Ellison and another armed man grabbed him out of his car and forced him into a stolen vehicle last July amid a dispute between warring factions of the crew.
Ellison was later found guilty of racketeering conspiracy and kidnapping 6ix9ine.
6ix9ine also said his former manager Kifano (Shotti) Jordan and others planned retaliation following the incident.
The rapper had also testified about the mayhem around various beefs with other hip-hop artists. Prosecutors said one of the disputes resulted in a gunshot being fired backstage at the Barclays Center arena and a robbery in Times Square that was filmed by the rapper.
6ix9ine told the court he and other alleged Nine Trey members attacked rapper Trippie Redd because Trippie Redd “was with another set of Bloods.”
He also described how he discovered a formula for success with the crew before betraying it by becoming a prosecution witness.
The rapper told the court his role in the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods was to “just keep making hits and be the financial support for the gang … so they could buy guns and stuff like that.”
The 23-year-old testified that in return, he received “my career. I got the street credibility. The videos, the music, the protection — all of the above.”
He said he began inviting gang members to be extras in his music videos, including Gummo and other songs, because he “wanted the aesthetic to be full of Nine Trey.”
Some of the Nine Trey members seen on tape were flashing guns and hand signs. 6ix9ine explained in court the lyrics to songs he said were often meant to taunt “somebody I didn’t get along with.”
When the music video blew up on the internet, “I knew I had a formula,” he testified.
In court, it was pointed out that 6ix9ine often shouts the slogan “Treyway” in his music.
“Treyway was more of a sophisticated way to name the gang — something that we could market,” 6ix9ine said.
— With files from the Associated Press