Exploring the case of Daniel Hernandez, a popular rapper who got a potential life sentenced reduced in an unpopular fashion.


Christian Branch

Many of us don’t have to think about what we would do if we were facing possibly a few decades in prison.

It’s a funny “would you rather” question to throw around with friends or on social media, but it never is reality for the majority of us.

For some, however, that situation is a reality. Those who come face to face with the potential of prison time while on trial realize that the “what now” thought is real.

From surrendering to the judge’s decision, to doing all one can to possibly see less time in prison, criminals in these types of situations must weigh all the options.

While there is no set way to get a prison sentence reduced, there have been some cases in history where criminals have ducked out of lengthy prison sentences.

Most recently, popular rapper Daniel Hernandez, famously known as Tekashi 6ix9ine, was arrested in a racketeering sweep done by the FBI, where he testified that he and his fellow Nine Trey gang members participated in “robberies, assaults, and drug deals.”

After garnering an impressive following on social media for his attention-grabbing statements and stunts, his music career began to take off. “GUMMO,” the song that jump started Tekashi’s time in the spotlight, included lyrics that detailed guns, murder and gang activity.

Upon pleading guilty, the rapper was facing 47 years to life in prison.

From self-proclaimed “king of New York,” to a possible life sentence, priorities were quickly rearranged for Tekashi.

What he did from the moment he was proven guilty, though, is what made headlines.

In court, Hernandez took a role that he had never taken, and one that the public never would’ve guessed he would take: the role of a government witness.

Instead of staying quiet, Tekashi cut a deal with federal prosecutors to flip on his gang and tell them what they wanted to know.

From detailing internal operations, to deciphering gang codes, to listing the hierarchy of the Nine Trey gang by name, Tekashi stunned prosecutors with the directness of his testimony.

It is quite rare for men like Hernandez to “snitch” in this manner, and his willingness to cooperate with government officials did not go unnoticed.

When reports surfaced, social media erupted in disbelief and anger toward the rapper.

Those involved in the hip-hop world were especially disgusted by Tekashi’s decision, as snitching is a cardinal sin in the gang world.

Bringing others down for your crimes and wrongdoings is not going to garner respect.

However, you must put yourself in his shoes and ask, “What would I have done in his situation?”

A respectable answer is, “I would stay quiet,” but that is much easier said than done.

After stepping off the witness stand, Tekashi destroyed what reputation he had left. By taking the testifying route, he put himself in a very dangerous and isolated position.

Those who were out to get him prior to his arrest are now that much more motivated to get revenge.

Government officials offered him a spot in the witness protection program, but because of the large amounts of face tattoos he has, it would be a very long and costly process to get them removed.

If prosecutors do grant him with a lighter sentence, his freedom from prison will turn into a life that is constantly filled with paranoia and security.

After being asked if he is aware of the widespread resentment that many have toward his name, he replied saying that he is aware, and plans to hire a 24-hour security team worth a million dollars annually. This lifestyle begs the question again, is snitching the way to go?