“What is a ‘blicky’?”
“A blicky is another word for a gun.”
There Daniel Hernandez sat. Testifying in court about the lyrics to his hit song “GUMMO.” Trying to explain to a bunch of lawyers and a judge what a “blicky” is. Just one year ago he was on a path to superstardom, with multiple top-ten hits and an album on the way. Before the year ended, he was in jail.
Daniel comes from a world not too unfamiliar to the one we all live in. A world where a person is only as strong as their clout. Where followers and views and comments are worth their weight in gold. Clout is the barrier between fame and dereliction. If you want to make it in music you’ll do anything to get it.
For Daniel, AKA 6ix9ine, he found clout through a gang—the Nine Trey Bloods. Nine Trey provided him with the security, legitimacy and—most importantly—the clout he needed to make it big in the music industry. All it cost him in return was patronage money and, of course, his soul. Relations soured, fights broke out and now they’re in jail. The clout giveth and the clout taketh away.
Now 6ix9ine is on the stand snitching against Nine Trey. He’s snitching so much that at one point the judge had to tell him to slow down. Snitch game Patrick Mahomes. He’s listed everyone even remotely connected to Nine Trey from Jim Jones to Cardi B. By the time this article is published, I might be implicated too. His testifying will slash time off his sentence but will also doom his reputation forever.
The point being, we all run the risk of winding up where Daniel is when we chase the clout too hard without thinking. The Instagram story where you drink a Four Loko and crash through a coffee table could get you more followers or it could get you fired. That tweet you think is so funny could go viral or it could get you cancelled. In the game of clout, you either win or you die. For all of us, take heed in the story of 6ix9ine, and make good choices in pursuit of notoriety. Or else you could wind up on the stand as well.
Vincent Rendon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @vincesagebrush.