Titled “69: The Saga of Danny Hernandez,” after the Brooklyn-born rapper’s real name, the doc is tagged “part investigative documentary, part real-life gangster movie” and details how the rapper “repeatedly broke the internet with his sensationalist music videos and social media beefs before infamously testifying against Brooklyn gang the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods in a landmark trial.” Director Vikram Gandhi spoke with neighborhood locals who knew him “before the hard-core persona and the face tattoos” and examines “the harsh extremes of addiction to fame in the digital era.”
Judging by the description, the bulk of the work on the documentary would seem to have been done before 6ix9ine’s release from prison due to coronavirus concerns earlier this year. Following his release to house arrest in April, the rapper began releasing songs at a steady clip, although public interest in them waned with each release and his “TattleTales” album performed well below projections when it dropped in September, debuting at just No. 4 on the Rolling Stone albums chart. In a manner oddly predictive of Donald Trump’s recent protestations that the presidential election was rigged, 6ix9ine claimed without convincing evidence that he had been cheated out of chart positions.
“All of my films explore identity, specifically the inner life of charismatic figures,” Gandhi said in a statement. “I’m fascinated by the difference between the perceived person on the surface and the real person underneath…. What made him so fascinating were the contradictions built into his very existence: A Mexican kid with facial tattoos and rainbow hair shouting the n-word, flaunting gang affiliation, starting beef, and posting his own violent acts online. … As I moved further into the story, I met a motley crew of personalities who were integral to Tekashi69’s development as an artist and celebrity. Danny Hernandez wanted to be famous so badly that he was devoured by his digital avatar, Tekashi69.”