Dummy Boy was never destined for anything close to greatness, but it had a brief shot at being a source of misguided legend. (Tekashi) 6ix9ine’s arrest on multiple counts, including racketeering, days before his debut album’s release led to it being indefinitely delayed. Had it stayed on the shelf longer, there could’ve been more salivating for it from fans and morbid curiosity from haters. Instead, it’s out and it’s nothing more than a terrible album from a terrible person, without the bonus of at least being ambitiously misguided.

Can you review 6ix9ine the rapper without also reviewing 6ix9ine the person? Probably, but the assessment isn’t going to be much different. He’s a colorful individual, and it doesn’t stop at the rainbow hair. WatchMojo came up with ten reasons for why he was so despised in 2018, and while not all were comparable (there’s a stark difference between having an off-putting flow and being an accomplice to pedophilia), it highlighted how Daniel Hernandez fuels himself not on rapping, but antagonism, to the point of his music career coming third to his legal record and laundry list of feuds in terms of what he’s recognized for.

It’s probably because if you’ve heard 6ix9ine’s signature shtick once, you don’t need to hear it again. His guttural inflection could be called an acquired taste if it actually had flavor. Everything about his more aggressive tracks is all amped up with nowhere to go. If completely left to his own devices without producers like Murda Beatz lending their talents, his songs would be all the more impossible to get through. He could learn a few things from contemporaries like ZillaKami about how to hold the listener’s attention beyond just sounding like angry white noise.

For someone fixated with cartoon imagery with a ridiculous name, 6ix9ine is remarkably humorless. The closest he comes to trying to actually be funny is on a line referencing Ray Charles and John Cena, which you can probably guess based on context. Sure, you could argue that he’s not about making jokes; he’s about being hard. Well, that’s the biggest laugh of them all: It’s so desperate to be seen as vicious and uncompromising while trying also trying so hard to be liked by everyone.

He tries different things, but there’s a difference between trying to and actually being versatile. His fury might get stale, but he sounds more comfortable with that then when he gets whispery/seductive. The 34-minute runtime doesn’t make this a breezy listen, because he can’t come up with enough material to sustain even a quarter of that, and the pacing is particularly abysmal. Someone could’ve told him that harder and softer tracks can have their place on an album, but jumping haphazardly between the two just turns everything into a mess. You could find mixtapes in the dregs of DatPiff with better sequencing than this album.

Maybe 6ix9ine doesn’t want to create an album that’s structured in any conventional sense, which isn’t necessarily a problem. But what does he want to do? More so, who is he? Beyond being a gangbanger with Bloods affiliation, there’s hardly a glimpse to be found inside his mind. Even when he talks about sex, he’s boring (“She a Fefe, her name Keke/ She eat my dick like it's free, free”). Surface level would be too deep for 6ix9ine. When he interpolates the chorus to ‘Fuckin’ Problems’ on ‘Kanga’, it comes across as particularly desperate, like he needs to insistently remind you of a far better song to not put you to sleep with his own music. On the same track, he argues, “They don't like me 'cause I'm Mexican/ Sent me back, now I'm back again.” It’s elementary-level rhyming that deliberately misses the point of why he’s despised, but at least it’s specific. The pairing of Latin pop numbers ‘Bebe’ and ‘Mala’, both featuring Puerto Rican rapper Anuel AA and performed entirely in Spanish, is a would-be scenic detour that just turns into driving around in circles.

He has friends in high places, or at least people who subscribe to the “no such thing as bad publicity” philosophy. The guests on Dummy Boy feel less like collaborators and more akin to parents trying to salvage their child’s grade by doing their school project for them. Nicki Minaj and Kanye West each make dual appearances, as if their PR wasn’t bad enough this year. Minaj puts in more effort than necessary with a decent refrain on ‘Mama,’ but she could contribute something equal to or greater than her iconic ‘Monster’ verse and it would be for naught. Someone with as little range as 6ix9ine packing his debut with high-profile guests is completely understandable, but he ends up ceding control of the project so much that he practically seems to be asking permission to appear on his own album. When you can’t even keep up with Lil Baby, you’re doing something wrong. The closest he comes to actually having chemistry with a guest is in the form of a literally-phoned-in feature from Bobby Shmurda on opener ‘Stoopid’.

Paradoxically, Dummy Boy would be better if it was worse. 6ix9ine doesn’t show any sign of knowing how to write a complete song, let alone curate a whole album. But he’s also too unimaginative to write anything so jaw-droppingly awful that it needs to be heard to be believed. His loathsomeness doesn’t spoil the album as much as his tepidness does. 6ix9ine trying to ruffle feathers is about as noteworthy as Professor Chaos trying to take over the world.

Is this the last we’ll hear of 6ix9ine? If he beats his case next year and somehow avoids decades to life in prison, he’s could still fuel himself on notoriety for a while longer. But that’s a big “if,” and his sound is so easily replicable that there are likely dozens of wannabe-6ix9ines waiting in the wings to dilute his impact before falling off themselves. His heinous actions should have been enough to kill his career, but this album might also do the trick.