Despite inviting a level of personal and moral controversy that makes XXXTentacion look like Donny Osmond by comparison, this particular Trap-Rapper acquired a surprising level of Pop success before the whole ‘going to jail for years’ thing disrupted his Rap career. Now, I’m not concerned here with the crimes this artist has committed…I’m not saying those things aren’t important, but that’s the courts’ business, not mine, and as mentioned above, they seem to be taking care of it. The question I’m trying to settle is whether this guy actually had any artistic validity to justify his popularity in the face of controversy.
His primary selling point seemed to be the intensity and authenticity of his vocal delivery: he actually sounded like a hardcore thug, and when he rapped about murdering you, it sounded like he might actually do it. Leaving aside any speculation on why that was the case, the primary problem is that we already had a more interesting Rapper with exactly the same qualifications and stylistic approach a couple of years before this guy showed up…his name was 21 Savage.
And apart from offering a warmed-over version of 21 Savage’s shtick, 6ix9ine wasn’t particularly good at…well, much of anything: his lyrics were moronic shock value, so he couldn’t function as an old-school lyrical rapper in the J. Cole—Kendrick Lamar vein, and his vocal melodies weren’t nearly interesting enough to hold his own with the other Hook-Rappers. From a purely artistic perspective, I’ve heard worse Rap, but I doubt this guy has contributed anything that will make history remember him positively once his time in the spotlight is over.
Verdict: This guy is kind of like the frontman from LostProphets…the question of the importance of artistic ability vs. morality is one that has raged from time immemorial, but nothing this guy has done in his actual music is interesting enough to raise it in his case.