The New York-born rapper dominated the headlines all year after being arrested for his connection with notorious gang Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods in late November 2018. Despite his lawyer’s defense that the performer was only “portraying a ‘gangster image’ to promote his music” and had no real connection with the organization, Hernandez was charged with racketeering, drug-trafficking, and other firearm-related issues in February 2019.
As the trial went on, Hernandez’s unique defense strategy became the talk of the town. Rather than remaining silent in the face of his charges (as many of his peers in hip hop suggested that he do), the 23-year-old took the stand and proceeded to implicate as many people in the case as possible. Some of the celebrities the "FEFE" rapper identified on the stand as being affiliated with the New York City branch of the Bloods included Dipset artist Jim Jones as well as Cardi B.
Cardi's team has since denied the allegations, but a dig into her past reveals that the Grammy-winner may have in fact been connected to the group. She told GQ in 2018 that she did have an affiliation with the Bloods but admitted that it's not all it's cracked up to be.
"You could talk to somebody that is considered Big Homie and they will tell you: 'Don't join a gang.' The person that I'm under, she would tell you, 'Don't join a gang,'" said Cardi. "It's not about violence. It's just like — it doesn't make your money. It doesn't make your money. I rep it because I been repping it for such a long time."
Along with the 13 months that he has already spent in a federal jail, Hernandez's cooperation with the investigation resulted in the shortening of his prison sentence from the expected minimum of 47 years. When he is released in two years, the rapper might find himself in danger; prosecutors on the case have speculated that, having broken the cardinal rule of the streets by snitching, the rapper has put himself in harm's way with public testimony. He declined the prosecution's offer of witness protection, insisting that he will continue performing his music upon his release.