Supervillain: The Making of Tekashi 6ix9ine validates everything you already thought
Karam Gill puts viewers into the mind of Tekashi 6ix9ine in Showtime's three-part documentary series Supervillain: The Making of Tekashi 6ix9ine. Produced by Imagine Documentaries, Rolling Stone, and Lightbox, the series trace how New York City deli clerk Daniel Hernandez manufactured himself into viral hip hop sensation Tekashi 6ix9ine, the ruthless, tattooed face of Gen Z and hip hop's prince of trolls. Based on Witt's Rolling Stone feature, "Tekashi 6ix9ine: The Rise and Fall of a Hip-Hop Supervillain,”
While I've never even heard a Tekashi 6ix9ine's song, I do know of the man and his antics. Coupled with the fact that the documentary features narration by Giancarlo Esposito, I decided to give the documentary a look. Supervillain: The Making of Tekashi 6ix9ine opens up and shows us Tekashi in a safe house, possibly regretting some of the choices he made. In Part 1, we learn about Daniel Hernandez and his childhood. Early on, we discover he had a tough life growing up and lost his stepdad at an early age. But Gill never attempts to make us feel remorse for the rapper. I was surprised to learn that Tekashi 6ix9ine had no interest in rap, preferring heavy metal and rock.
One of the first people to provided commentary in Episode 1 is Sarah, Daniel’s first girlfriend, and his daughter's mother. Over time Daniel realizes that there's money to be made in social media and reinvents himself and becomes Tekashi 6ix9ine. Episode 2 showcases the pain and pleasure of success, while Episode 3 deals with Tekashi's kidnapping, criminal trial, and eventual imprisonment.
Gill's documentary's strength is the amount of research that the documentarian put into Tekashi 6ix9ine's story. In addition to featuring interviewing from Tekashi's business associates, his birth father, and even his former barbers, Gill wants to humanize the rapper. Gill achieves this goal by showcasing stock footage of bloggers and well-known social media stars and just how far one will go for fame.
Tekashi has a great line early in the documentary. He says, "I'm a terrible rapper," but I know how to market myself. Episode 3 also has a great line from Tekashi's bodyguard, Shotti, where he mentions we live in an age where you aren't held accountable for what you say. If anything, it's a true statement and validates why Tekashi 6ix9inebecame a superstar despite his lack of musical talent. I was also fond of the viewpoints in Episode 3 from Tekashi's former business associates where they don't mince words for the way he betrayed them. They subtly mention if you're aren't about the street life, in reality, don't talk about it on wax.
Karam Gill is a talented documentarian, and I look forward to seeing what he will do with a narrative feature. Gill never attempts to humanize the rapper. In fact, his documentary validates just how much of a despicable human being Tekashi is. Now I will admit that the documentary didn't change my views on Tekashi 6ix9ine, nor will I start to buy his music. However, I will give him credit for what he accomplished with his self-branding and marketing. While I'm sure fans of Tekashi 6ix9ine will watch the documentary regardless, I will recommend it for non-fans as well as a rainy day watch.
Final Grade: B-
Episode 1 of Supervillain: The Making of Tekashi 6ix9ine premieres on Showtime Sunday, February 21st. The remaining two episodes will air on subsequent Sundays.