The opening track of 6ix9ine’s TattleTales is a remake of Akon’s “Locked Up” (“LOCKED UP PT. 2”) where the young rapper—recently freed after serving an abbreviated jail sentence stemming from firearms and racketeering charges—unpacks his mind state while incarcerated. “Got me thinking like, ‘Why the fuck I did that?’/Got me wishing that I could take it all back,” he sings through heavy Auto-Tune distortion. He comes close to repentance, but he’s ultimately at peace with the decision he made to testify against his co-defendants, the Brooklyn-based Nine Trey Bloods gang, ensuring his early release. “Ain’t nothing you could tell me ’bout this life I chose/I was facing 47 to life,” he sings.
With regard to TattleTales, “LOCKED UP PT. 2” is where any introspection ends. The title of his highest-profile collaboration to date, “TROLLZ” with Nicki Minaj, is now, as it was at the time of its June 2020 release, a perfect distillation of the MC’s role in modern rap. By track two (“TUTU”), he’s singing, “I get money when I want to/I get bitches when I want to/Tote this pistol when I want to/Money dance step, hit the 1-2,” which in context has a conspicuously “na-na na-na boo-boo” quality to it. The majority of TattleTales, in fact, finds 6ix9ine in this same zone, living his best life as if the career-toppling federal prosecution never happened. Across TattleTales, he is at turns ferocious street general (“GOOBA”), suave reggaetonero (“YAYA”), and shameless womanizer (“P****I”). So if his legal troubles taught him anything, it’s that on record, 6ix9ine can be anything he wants.