Two years is a long time in music. In 2018, Tekashi 6ix9ine (real name Daniel Hernandez) was one of the hottest up and coming rappers in the United States of America, which by extension, made him one of the hottest up and coming rappers in the whole world.
Twelve months later, he was on his way to prison, and he was thought of as a laughing stock. Tekashi has been convicted of several crimes and was looking at a lengthy jail sentence – possibly even life – when he decided to testify against his fellow gang members to save his own skin.
The strategy worked in that it got him a reduced sentence, but it also saw him nicknamed ‘Snitch Nine’ by other rappers and by the world’s press.
The rapper’s time behind bars didn’t last as long as it was expected to, even with his reduced sentence taken into account. Due to the current global situation, Tekashi is considered to be at high risk of becoming ill due to his chronic asthma.
Because of that, he’s been allowed out of incarceration early and is instead serving the remainder of his sentence on house arrest. Because he’s back at home, he has access to his music studio. With access to his studio, he can record and release new music, and that’s precisely what he’s done.
He thought he was headed to the top of the US Billboard Top 100 this past week with his comeback single ‘GOOBA.’ The public appears to have had other ideas.
Justin Bieber & Ariana Grande claimed the top spot with their collaboration ‘Stuck With U,’ and now 6ix9ine is accusing them of not playing fair.
There have been accusations that the way that sales are counted toward the charts can be manipulated for as long as the charts have existed. At one point in the past, only the sales of songs or albums purchased from specific outlets were counted.
A song could sell one thousand copies at a non-registered outlet and end up behind another song that sold only five hundred copies at a registered outlet.
The system was never viewed as being fair, and when digital downloads and streaming started to be taken into account for chart placement a few years ago, it was hoped that the playing field would level out as a result.
That doesn’t appear to have happened. If anything, it’s made things more complicated.
In theory, an individual can purchase a maximum of four copies of the same song, whether as a download or in person. Streams are only counted when they come from an IP address based in the same country as the chart that’s being compiled.
Taken all together, monitoring the charts requires a mathematical formula as complicated as those that drive the odds of games on online slots websites, and if misapplied might result in an outcome that’s no less random.
What if there was a way to beat the odds, though? What if you knew the outcome of an UK slots before you paid for your next spin? That would be cheating, and if you were caught, it would get you banned from registering at every respectable online slots website in the world, but that’s effectively what Takeshi has accused Bieber and Grande – or at least their label – of doing.
Without providing much in the way of specific details, Takeshi has released a video statement on Instagram in which he claims that he and his team have conducted an ‘investigation,’ and concluded that just four credit cards were used to purchase the Grande & Bieber song more than thirty thousand times in the two days running up to the announcement of final chart positions.
Seemingly ignoring the fact that his song finished third in the final order as opposed to second, he claims that this is the reason that he lost out. He’s also attempted to drag Billboard into the debate by stating that he’s asked Billboard to explain the credit card purchases, and they’ve refused to disclose any information.
Unsurprisingly, both Grande and Bieber have been quick to deny any allegations of wrongdoing. Bieber, in particular, has issued a strong dismissal, taking to his own Instagram account to say that Nielsen will automatically discount any purchases made on a credit card beyond the initial four that are permitted, and therefore the idea that thirty thousand sales could be made on just four cards and count toward the charts is out of the question.
Joining in with the criticism, Grande also pointed out that sales contribute toward chart placing more than streams do, which is another reason that their duet placed higher than Tekashi’s single despite Tekashi gaining considerably more streams.
It’s highly unlikely that this dispute will go anywhere. Billboard has said nothing so far, and have no reason to say anything. History will record the fact that Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande had a number one single, and that Tekashi 6ix9ine made it to number three with his first post-prison song. The rapper will have to find a way to live with that and to let his bitterness go.
His chart placement could have been a lot worse. When he initially went to jail, many music journalists wondered whether he had a future in the industry at all. They felt that the convictions might have alienated one part of his fan base, and the ‘snitching’ may have alienated another.
We now know that there are still plenty of Tekashi 6ix9ine fans out there and willing to support him, even if there aren’t quite enough of them to propel their man to the top spot over global icons like Grande and Bieber.
If we wanted to be cynical about this, we could also point out that the disagreement and the drama about the situation have given Tekashi a lot of publicity that he might not have obtained under normal circumstances.
The American charts aren’t often publicized outside the United States of America. Because of this argument, they’re now making headlines all over the world. As a result, the whole planet knows that Tekashi is back making music again, and might be curious enough to check him out.
He might not have got a number one single out of all this, but he has got the type of publicity that money can’t buy. That’s probably worth more to him in the long run.