For better or worse, 6ix9ine is arguably the hottest young artist on the rise. We say “for better or worse” because his popularity has less to do with his music and more to do with his antics outside of the booth.
Most recently, 6ix9ine was taken into custody over an outstanding warrant for his arrest due to a January 2018 incident where he allegedly strangled a 16-year old child at a mall. He was released from jail on bail, but only after a third request and under heavy conditions. He has also been dealing with a separate case from May 2018 where he allegedly assaulted a police officer. Prior to that, 6ix9ine entered our casual hip hop conversations by beefing with names like Chief Keef, Trippie Redd, J. Prince Jr, and Casanova.
Whether his adversaries are shooting verbal jabs at him or actual bullets, 6ix9ine’s name carries a hateful energy that has led the rapper down a path of infamy. Regardless, infamy is still fame. In fact, the more infamous he becomes, the higher his star proceeds to rise.
It should, because it’s exactly the same way 50 Cent rose to superstardom during the late 90’s and early 2000’s.
Let’s wind the clocks back a couple decades ago…
The year is 1999, and 50 Cent is hardly a blip among the hip hop world. That would change in the coming months when he would release his first single, “How to Rob,” a song where he dissed countless celebrities; ranging from Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston, Jay-Z, Brian McKnight, Mariah Carey, Master P, P. Diddy, Mike Tyson, and several others. 50 Cent meant no ill will towards anyone who he mentioned in the song. He merely was trying to make a name for himself.
As he explained in a snippet from the Beef documentary, “Being a new kid, brand new, a nobody, don’t know nobody, how do you get in [the industry] all at one time? You make everybody that you feel like is somebody go ‘Yo, who is 50 Cent?'”
This is similar to 6ix9ine’s rise to prominence, in that the rainbow haired rapper’s first single was also shrouded in controversy. “GUMMO” managed to blow up during the summer of 2017, and became a huge club banger–in part because 6ix9ine’s colorful image instantly convinced the internet to turn him into a meme–but not without some controversy. Prior to the song, 6ix9ine was friends with Trippie Redd, who received the “GUMMO” beat produced by Pi’erre Bourne before handing it to his friend. Pi’erre was not a fan of 6ix9ine due to his sexual misconduct case with a 13-year old girl, and distanced himself from the project; even getting his producer tag removed from the song. This beef often dominated conversations concerning the song, and grew a life of its own. With each beef that 6ix9ine continues to interject himself in, the wider his name manages to spread across the media industry.
It’s a business plan that worked marvelously for 50 Cent all those years ago, and it continues to work for 6ix9ine today.
The similarities between 50 Cent and 6ix9ine reach a zenith when we consider how Tekashi handled his beef with Chief Keef. As many of us may recall, last June in the middle of his feud with Keef, 6ix9ine took Keef’s baby mama–Slim Danger–on a shopping spree. Right before shopping, she declared that she was with 6ix9ine that day because “that nigga don’t do shit for his fucking kids!” He also posted videos of himself flirting with the woman, and cuddling with her. He tried to do the same with Keef’s other baby mama–Simone Patton–via an Instagram DM, but she declined out of loyalty for Keef.
6ix9ine took this page straight out of 50 Cent’s book. Nine years ago, on February 2nd, 2009, the G-Unit leader interviewed Tia–Rick Ross’s baby mama–who proceeded to verbally attack Ross as a father, rapper, and a former correctional officer. After the interview, Fif took Tia on a shopping spree. Shortly afterwards, 50 released a sex tape starring Rick Ross’s other baby mama, Lastonia Leviston. He bought the tape from Lastonia’s ex-boyfriend after they broke up, and 50 decided to add some of his own disparaging commentary onto the visuals.
Keep in mind that the whole 50 Cent vs Rick Ross beef started over Ross claiming he locked eyes with 50 at the 2008 BET Awards, and didn’t like how he looked at him. While 50 failed to recall such an interaction, he accepted that beef was afoot, and said that “Officer Ricky” picked the wrong person to start a beef with for publicity, because he had every intention on ruining his life “for the fun of it.”
50 Cent has been known to rarely be the one to start a beef, but he would make sure to finish it by any means necessary. This earned 50 Cent a reputation for being a bully among the hip hop community. 50 Cent was always the type of person who, if a bear roared in his direction, 50 would poke that bear with a stick for the next five years, no matter how long the bear pleaded for mercy.
Ja Rule started the beef with 50 after learning that 50 was friends with the man who had robbed Ja back in the day, even though 50 had nothing to do with the robbery. That didn’t stop Fif from releasing an endless list of diss tracks against Ja Rule, effectively ending the beef by ending Ja’s career. Going back to 6ix9ine, his beef with Keef started after Keef entered himself into the 6ix9ine/Tadoe rivalry over Cuban Doll. All Keef did was hop on a diss record with Tadoe, and it made him a target of 6ix9ine.
It’s worth noting that 50 Cent actually met with 6ix9ine for the first time earlier this year, and co-signed him as the new King of New York. We don’t know if the hip hop vet gave the rookie any pointers on how to handle beef, or if the parallels between the two artists are nothing more than a coincidence. All we know is that the similarities and parallels between their careers are glaring and undeniable.
Despite all of the negative press that 6ix9ine gets on practically a weekly basis, nothing seems to hurt his career. He continues to strike gold with each record he puts out, currently seven for seven when it comes to his singles, and his new single with Nicki Minaj–“FEFE”–is expected to produce the same results. Years prior, 50 Cent’s long list of hip hop beefs helped him become the biggest name in hip hop to dominate much of the 2000s. Even to this day, 50 Cent’s endeavors as multi-million dollar businessman, actor, and producer would not have come to pass if not for his early successes as a beef rapper.
If 50 Cent’s career, longevity, and star power is anything to go off, we should all expect 6ix9ine to run the streets as New York’s hottest rapper for many years to come.
However, if 50 Cent’s career is anything to go off of, 6ix9ine needs to understand that negative energy breeds negative energy. If he continues to build off of the negative press for himself and respond to crazy beefs in a wild manner, it’s not going to end well for him. It almost went just as bad for 50 Cent back in the day.
On May 24th, 2000, three days before he was set to start filming a music video for “Thug Love” alongside Destiny’s Child, 50 Cent was shot nine times outside of his grandmother’s home in South Jamaica, Queens by an assailant at close range with a 9mm handgun. His expected debut album–Power of the Dollar–was shelved immediately, and it took 50 five months before he could recover from gunshot wounds to his hand, hip, arm, chest, left cheek, and both legs. Even after recovery, the incident gave 50 Cent permanent damage that he continues to deal with, including a shrapnel in his swollen tongue, a slurred speech, and he lost a wisdom tooth. This altercation nearly spelt the end of both 50 Cent’s career, and his life.
Just early yesterday, 6ix9ine was kidnapped and robbed at gunpoint. While sitting as a passenger in a Chevy Tahoe at around 5:00am, two armed men met 6ix9ine at a Brooklyn intersection, stole the driver’s iPhone, then grabbed and dragged 6ix9ine into their car before speeding off. They drove to his house, expecting his baby mama to come out and send them his jewelry. However, 6ix9ine somehow managed to escape their clutches, hop into a stranger’s car, and begged the stranger to drive him to the nearest hospital, which they did.
6ix9ine barely made it out of this ordeal unscathed. While 50 Cent went on record in saying that his near death experience made him even more ruthless than he was before because he “really don’t give a fuck now,” we can only hope that this ordeal could be a wake up call for 6ix9ine. Both men were lucky that they weren’t killed from their altercations. 50 Cent was lucky that he didn’t find himself in worse predicaments afterwards. 6ix9ine may not be so lucky next time.
If nothing else, 6ix9ine revealed weeks ago that the death of XXXTentacion made him realize that maybe he does “too much trolling” and maybe he should chill before something bad happens to him. Well, yesterday, something bad happened to him, and that bad thing–as unfortunate as it was–may prove to reinforce the idea that his rambunctious behavior needs to stop. Sure, it may be risky for his career to stop doing the moves that brought him to the big dance in the first place–especially when 50 Cent built a career out of making such moves, and it worked out so well for him–but he’s even less likely to be successful if he sees the inside of a coffin than if he stops trolling and beefing.
Yes, the similarities between 6ix9ine and 50 Cent are there, but that doesn’t mean each career path will wind up in the same place.
We’re not living in 1999, and 6ix9ine may not be lucky enough to survive nine bullets.