PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.

There Is More Musicality to Be Found on 'Dummy Boy' Than Previous 6ix9ine Projects

There are no quotables to be found on 6ix9ine's Dummy Boy; no multisyllabic rhyme schemes, piquant punchlines or elegiac tales of struggle; this is rudimentary rap, to be consumed loudly and disposed of quietly.

Dummy Boy

ScumGang / Create Music

27 November 2018

Hubris has been an integral part of the competitive braggery that has defined hip-hop lyricism for the best part of 40 years. Whether internalised by its espouser or merely rhetoric for the role, pomposity is part and parcel of a rapper's repertoire. However, the kind of aplomb possessed by Daniel Hernandez, known professionally as Tekashi 6ix9ine, or simply 6ix9ine, is atypically divisive.

Hernandez didn't want to be a rapper and readily admits he's not even very good at it. He makes light of his miserly penmanship in videos and interviews and shows no interest in improving. Hip-hop has, in its essence, enduringly provided a voice for the disenfranchised. 6ix9ine, however, raised in poverty, who witnessed his father being murdered at 13, sees the genre not as an avenue to express his poeticism, but a financial means to end.

In tune with his social media generation, Hernandez's steadfast belief in himself and the appeal of branding, became 6ix9ine, a rainbow haired, egregiously tattooed scream rapper, who he'd probably best compare to Sticky Fingaz - if he knew who he was. The hair, tattoos, self deprecating videos and inflammatory statements are intended wholly to draw attention - and pecuniary views. Music, for all intent and purpose, is merely a byproduct of Tekashi's industry.

His problematic language, insipid content, and noxious behavior vexed many hip-hop purists, who sought to write him off as a passing fad. Consequently, his 10 schismatic singles have raised as much chagrin as they have success, each surprisingly charting on the Billboard Top 100, one after the other. With a generation of Champion hoodie heads stamping their Timbs in disbelief, Tekashi's hollow, energetic, almost-rhymes and relentless self assurity have won him legions of fans across the globe, one "Tr3yway" at a time. With each video, his popularity burgeoned, baffling his critics and fueling his defiance at being misjudged.

Dummy Boy is a celebration of this hustle. Its release itself a testament to a rapper who is certain his endeavour alone merits his place atop rap's hottest - if not best - acts. Takeshi isn't in the market for classics or compliments. Dummy Boy, with his animated likeness flagrantly urinating colour on a black and white floor on its cover, is about defiance - an obstinate ode to acting up. There are no quotables to be found here; no multisyllabic rhyme schemes, piquant punchlines or elegiac tales of struggle; this is rudimentary rap, to be consumed loudly and disposed of quietly.

Despite a dearth of lyrical content, there is more musicality to be found on Dummy Boy than previous 6ix9ine projects. Album opener "Stoopid", featuring a prison sent verse from the incarcerated Bobby Shmurda finds Tekashi waxing lyrical on sex, money, and murder, the three objects that ultimately define Dummy Boy's mentation. Over a rousing Tay Keith riddim, 6ix9ine sends shots at his enemies, in particular at Hot 97's Ebro, perhaps his most concerted critic. Hernandez's abject writing is lent a much needed hand from Nicki Minaj on the platinum "FEFE", his highest charting single to date. Minaj wistfully commandeers the track with 16 expendable bars herself, that still rank among the best on the album.

To 6ix9ine's credit, or perhaps his limitations, all but two of Dummy Boy's 13 tracks run less than three minutes, with five of them barely breaking 120 seconds. Anything longer would be asking too much of its listeners. Lil Baby gives Tekashi a run for his money in rotten rhymes on "Tic Toc", which manages to be one of the album's more agreeable tracks. All but one of Dummy Boy's songs contain a featured performer, most of whom surpass 6ix9ine's efforts. The album standout "KIKA", produced by a restored Scott Storch is comfortably the best song of Tekashi's fledgling career. Tory Lanez laces Storch's steelpan banger with a silver-toned hook, humorously comparing his ability to stunt to Jackie Chan's, while 6ix9ine's drops the type of hardcore verses that chartered his ascent with "GUMMO" and "BILLY".

Celebrated straw man Kanye West makes one of two throwaway appearances on "MAMA" alongside Nicki Minaj, who's hook again steals the limelight from her male counterparts, while the murderous "WAKA" might well end up as prosecutory evidence in 6ix9ine's eventual racketeering trial. Dummy Boy takes a drastic and welcome detour midway as Trapeton star Anuel AA joins 6ix9ine for some autotuned crooning on "BEBE" and "MALA", for seven minutes of Latin trap that provides the album some much needed melody, before West rejoins 6ix9ine on 'KANGA' in hip-hop's most unpopular pairing since Nelly and Tim McGraw. The song, a musical hybrid of ASAP Rocky's "Fuckin' Problems" and Kelis' "Milkshake" - while boundlessly worse of an effort than both - showcases a rare musicality in Tekashi's rhymes.

There is a futility to 6ix9ine's raps, even in his most boisterous of barks. These are rhymes for rhymes' sake. His can-do pragmatism towards gaining YouTube views and streams may come at the cost of quality music, but have ultimately paid dividends financially, and Dummy Boy follows this same formula to its close. While "FEEFA" sees 6ix9ine reflect on the outcome of his legal complications and being separated from his family, it's a fleeting moment of sentiment before the album closes out with two unavailing trap tracks "TATI" and "WONDO", which find Tekashi in his snarling comfort zone.

What Dummy Boy lacks in maturity and creativity it makes up for in energy and vitriol - equivalently bankable features in 2018. While it won't feature in any end of year 'Best Of' lists, nor will it stand the test of time, it will sell profusely, for now. 6ix9ine's by any means necessary ascent to mainstream recognition was permeated with shock tactics and scandal. When attempts to influence fashion didn't present itself as viable career path, his Instagram instead played host to a sexual performance with a 13-year-old girl. Raising enough ire and attention that a prominent set of Brooklyn Bloods believed there was money to made from his antics, 6ix9ine seized on the opportunity to challenge anyone in earshot to "test his gangsta". His ensuing feuds with fellow hip-hop artists YG, Trippie Redd, and Chief Keef, which resulted in multiple shootings in either direction, fatefully ignited the FBI's interest into his activities.

Despite warning, he continued to bait his antagonists and was kidnapped and robbed at gunpoint in July. His refusal to yield to better judgement however, only served to further his steadfast following, who took his ignorance for gumption. Three court dates over the course of four days in October for assaulting a police officer, assaulting a minor and the aforementioned use of child in a sexual performance followed, before he finally disavowed his gang ties. A credible threat on his life a few days later and he was promptly arrested on racketeering charges, along with other members of the gang he had so fiercely toted in his songs. As Dummy Boy predictably climbs the charts, 6ix9ine currently awaits trial behind bars for charges that well may send him to prison for life. You can't help but wonder if it was a pyrrhic victory for Daniel Hernandez.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.





In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.


The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.


The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.


The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.


When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.


20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.


The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.


Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.


Kimm Rogers' "Lie" Is an Unapologetically Political Tune (premiere)

San Diego's Kimm Rogers taps into frustration with truth-masking on "Lie". "What I found most frustrating was that no one would utter the word 'lie'."


50 Years Ago B.B. King's 'Indianola Mississippi Seeds' Retooled R&B

B.B. King's passion for bringing the blues to a wider audience is in full flower on the landmark album, Indianola Mississippi Seeds.


Filmmaker Marlon Riggs Knew That Silence = Death

In turning the camera on himself, even in his most vulnerable moments as a sick and dying man, filmmaker and activist Marlon Riggs demonstrated the futility of divorcing the personal from the political. These films are available now on OVID TV.


The Human Animal in Natural Labitat: A Brief Study of the Outcast

The secluded island trope in films such as Cast Away and television shows such as Lost gives culture a chance to examine and explain the human animal in pristine, lab like, habitat conditions. Here is what we discover about Homo sapiens.


Bad Wires Release a Monster of a Debut with 'Politics of Attraction'

Power trio Bad Wires' debut Politics of Attraction is a mix of punk attitude, 1990s New York City noise, and more than a dollop of metal.


'Waiting Out the Storm' with Jeremy Ivey

On Waiting Out the Storm, Jeremy Ivey apologizes for present society's destruction of the environment and wonders if racism still exists in the future and whether people still get high and have mental health issues.


Matt Berninger Takes the Mic Solo on 'Serpentine Prison'

Serpentine Prison gives the National's baritone crooner Matt Berninger a chance to shine in the spotlight, even if it doesn't push him into totally new territory.


MetalMatters: The Best New Heavy Metal Albums of September 2020

Oceans of Slumber thrive with their progressive doom, grind legends Napalm Death make an explosive return, and Anna von Hausswolff's ambient record are just some of September's highlights.


'Avatar: The Last Airbender' Nudges Out Conscience in Our Time of Crises

Avatar shows us that to fight for only the people we know, for simply the things that affect us personally, is neither brave nor heroic, nor particularly useful.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.