Tekashi 6ix9ine has built his brand on controversy – beef with other rappers, memes and occasionally music. Now, amidst a whirlwind combination of the first three, 6ix9ine has released his major label debut studio album DUMMY BOY as he sits in federal prison, facing racketeering and firearms charges. 6ix9ine clearly has ambitious goals in mind, with guests from Kanye West to Tay Keith, and those two only scratch the surface of the album’s crossover production and numerous big-name guests. His ambition, however, does anything but translate to his music: DUMMY BOY is an unoriginal and elementary exercise in modern hip-hop, showcasing just how amateur 6ix9ine really is when one looks past all of the hype.
6ix9ine’s sound throughout his previously released music was angry, violent and relentless. Opening track “STOOPID” embodies just that as he raps: “Shoutout my apes in the f*ckin' zoo/ Filayo, they gon' shoot/ Spin a hoop, who the f*ck is you?/ Who the f*ck you know, n*gga?”
As , there is the problematic placement of the racial slur while 6ix9ine is of Hispanic descent. At the same time, in these few lines, he has dropped three f-bombs and only three words that are more than one syllable. His elementary diction and simplistic delivery are painfully obvious throughout the entire record. The structure of his lines is just as plain, with front-loaded, short-phrase flows that are nothing special.
Those first two lines are stolen from Chief Keef, just one of the many rappers 6ix9ine has had beef with as of late. While the lines are meant to be a shot at Chief Keef, the lines come across more so as low-hanging fruit as 6ix9ine attempts to load his gun with other people’s bullets. On “TATI,” he raps, “Pour a semi, pull up to the cribby uh/ licky-licky, licky on my blicky uh,” which is a borrowed flow from his breakout single “GUMMO,” and on “KANGA,” essentially the entire track is built off of preexisting lines and flows.
In multiple tracks, 6ix9ine’s more interesting vocal ideas are not original to DUMMY BOY, which is a consistent example of his lack of originality. Hip-hop is a genre that has always featured borrowing or sampling by remixing old songs to make them feel new again. Plenty of great tracks borrow phrases, sections, samples or ideas, but the blatancy of 6ix9ine’s interpolations have no depth or artistry to them.
In addition to borrowing other artists’ work to pass off as his own, the plethora of guests outshines 6ix9ine, further minimizing his impact on his own project. Only one track features Tekashi 6ix9ine alone. The bar to outperform 6ix9ine is a low one, so don’t expect anyone to give you any verses or hooks that are anything above minimally entertaining.
The production, some of it handled by prolific producers like Murda Beatz, tries to expand 6ix9ine’s range as they craft a few different styles outside of his comfort zone. Lead single “FEFE” has a Nicki Minaj feature and a restrained, laid-back 6ix9ine. Later, tracks “BEBE” and “MALA” feature Anuel Aa and 6ix9ine performing in Spanish with loose Latin grooves.
Whatever you’re picturing for these three tracks is probably not too far off from the end result. While the tracks aren’t unlistenable, they are so consumed in crossover appeal that they amount to nothing more than mediocre and generic songwriting. 6ix9ine may reach a larger fan base with such audience-friendly beats, but they lack any sort of memorability and defining moments that exemplify 6ix9ine as a major label force.
If I had to pick between DUMMY BOY or Day69, 6ix9ine’s mixtape released this past February, I would probably pick DUMMY BOY; it has a wider range of production and more guests to keep things interesting. The choice between DUMMY BOY or Day69 is also like picking between the electric chair or lethal injection. Both albums failed to establish 6ix9ine as a legitimate artist, just in different ways. You could find a wide variety of other tracks and albums that accomplish what 6ix9ine wants to do in a much more rewarding way.