Teejayx6, real name unknown, has been blowing up this year. The 18-year-old rapper from Detroit’s East Side has been gaining attention as the face of the burgeoning “scam rap” movement—a collection of artists who rhyme about the finer points of credit card fraud, identity theft, fake Instagram sales, and other illicit ways of splitting people from their money. 

His songs like “Swipe Lesson,” “Dark Web,” and “Fraudulent Activity” give step-by-step lessons on the finer points of VPNs, BINs, and magnetic card readers, and fans are taking notes. I sat down with Teejayx6 (the “x6” in his name comes from the MSR X6 reader/writer/encoder) at the Complex office in Times Square, New York City—an appropriate spot, given the neighborhood’s plethora of scammers and con artists—for a conversation about the scam rap movement and how long the trend will last. The interview, edited and condensed for clarity, is below.

Lately there has been a lot of discussion about “scam rap.” Is scam rap actually a thing, or is it just something that writers like me are making up?
No, it’s a thing. Some people really base their music around scamming. I don’t base it exactly around scamming, but it’s a few bars here and there.

Scam rap is trendy right now. What do you think about that?
That’s good because I know for sure I’m the one who did it. If I ever hear somebody say they scamming, or doing going into the Walmart and all that, I know where it came from. Other people have been talking about it, but if I hear somebody go into detail and try to steal my style, I’ll know where it came from.

Do you think that scam rap’s going to continue to be a thing for awhile?
Yeah, for sure. Because it’s money. Anybody would like to make money. So it’s just a matter of time before the whole world catch on. 

Will you always associate yourself with scam rap, or can you see yourself starting to talk about different topics?
I really don’t want to switch it up, because that’d be like not being myself. So I’m going to just keep saying the same shit. 

It would be dumb for me to be this big and walking into banks and sh*t. 

Do you have a plan if scam rap dies out?
People call it scam rap, but it’s not scam rap. I have videos that have nothing to do with scamming that have a million views. So it was just the way I rap, and the way I say shit. I know what I’m doing. I know what people want to hear.

Do you think that scam rap being popular right now is a good thing, or do you think that if it gets too popular it might be an issue?
If it gets too popular, it might bring problems.

What kind of problems?
Probably the police.

I wanted to delve into that for just a second. When you talked to Pitchfork, you said that if a scam had already happened, the police can’t do anything about it.
Yeah, they can’t.

Did you get any feedback from saying that?
What do you mean?

Did people talk to you about saying that? “Oh that’s not true” or “That is true”?
Of course. A lot of people say it is true. A lot of people said is not true, but I personally think that’s true, though.

Have you talked to a lawyer or any kind of expert about that?
Nope.

Why not?
Because it’s just pointless. It would be dumb for me to be this big and walking into banks and shit. 

Teejayx6
Photo by @fedjy_

For a long time, there was this idea that rappers either were or pretended to be drug dealers. Do you think that’s switching to scamming? Is scamming—real or imaginary—going to be the standard job for rappers now?
For sure. That’s why I know that I’m going to get bigger. For one, it’s a whole different way. For two, I know what I’m doing. For three, I know exactly what the people want to hear. For example, if I shoot the “Swipe Lesson” video, I know it’s going to go crazy. That’s literally me telling somebody how to do that shit, so I know it’s going to go crazy.

You’re pretty honest about your crimes in your songs. Are you worried about repercussions?
No. Only repercussions I’m worried about is actually seeing somebody that I scammed. 

It seems like being a scammer might be lonely. You can’t go out in your city because you pissed a lot of people off by scamming them. You have to drive hundreds of miles just to do a lot of these scams, because everyone in town knows you’re out to get them. Why do it if it’s lonely?
Fuck them. Ain’t got nothing to do with me. It’s people who look at me like, he doing wrong, but deep down inside they want to do the shit that I’m doing. And I’m close to people. Of course I wouldn’t scam my brother or something.

what’s his name, YBN Nahmir? He just tried to steal that sh*t. The whole flow, scam and all that sh*t.

What’s the line for you? Who won’t you scam?
I ain’t going to lie, I did scam a family member before. I have. He was on Facebook. You know how all old people got Facebook? So when you go on Facebook, you can DM people, private message them. I was just copying and pasting and sending messages off a juug page to my real family members, and somebody really did that shit. Somebody sent $2,200 on that shit. It was, like, a house. That don’t even sound right. How do you sell a house for $2,200? Scammed the fuck out of them.

So if the line isn’t all family, is it close family?
I wouldn’t scam no close family. 

You’ve said you wanted to rap since you were five years old. What’s your first memory of rapping?
Being in my room when I was six, playing beats off my phone or playing a YouTube beat. Just play it, and then freestyle.

What did you sound like back then? What were you rapping about?
Anything that come to my mind. Lil Wayne was my favorite rapper back then. I don’t remember exactly what I was saying. I probably was saying something that he said or something like that.

You put some of those early raps on Facebook. Can you share a couple bars from one of them with us?
It was freestyle, so I really don’t remember none of that shit. But I still got the videos. So if anybody ever find my real name, they can just go look it up and see all of them videos and all that old shit.

Why do you keep your real name a secret? 
Because the shit I do and the shit I talk about, I don’t want it to be public.

There was a big change in your style earlier this year. You started rapping very specifically about details of different scams, and people loved it. Tell me about how you decided to do that. 
One day I was just in the studio and just freestyled for my first time. Ever since that, I’ve just been freestyling. That just made me better for some reason. When I was writing, I was getting stuck. I couldn’t really get past it. But ever since I’ve been freestyling, it’s been easy.

That was “Blowed Freestyle”?
Yup. That was the first ever song that I freestyled.

How would you describe your music before you made the switch to rapping about scams in detail?
It was trash. That’s why I wasn’t getting no views. I was trying too hard. I really wasn’t being myself back then. I was just saying some bullshit.

Your delivery on that early stuff was different. Tell me about how it’s changed.
My delivery changed way better. The way I say my words at the end of every bar, people love that shit, when I scream or something. I heard about 50 people try to take it. I just heard, what’s his name, YBN Nahmir? He just tried to steal that shit. The whole flow, scam and all that shit, and then the end-words.

You have that line on “Airport,” where you rap: “Stop asking me why the fuck do I rap with aggression.” 
Yeah, because people ask me that. The shit that I say in my songs. You ain’t even got to ask me personally, because you already going to know from my music.

It’s better to get hate than love. If you getting more hate than love, you’re going to blow up for sure.

Your new music also has a very offbeat style.
I said in a song yesterday, “I want you all to keep talking about me and my offbeat flow because I'm going to get rich off this.” If you on beat, somebody just going to listen to it. They might like the song. But it’s different, somebody who is offbeat. It’s better to get hate than love. If you getting more hate than love, you’re going to blow up for sure. So if somebody comment under my shit, “You offbeat,” and somebody else listened to it, then they might say, “He’s not even offbeat.” People listen to music differently. For example, people say G Herbo is offbeat. I never hear him offbeat. 

You said in a recent interview that your whole flow and style comes from Blueface.
It don’t come from him. He’s smart for real. People might think them rappers are dumb, but they know what they’re doing. When he’s offbeat, he know he’s offbeat. So when he drops the shit, he’s just going to get all that publicity. So when I dropped and I’m offbeat, I’m just getting the same exact shit. I don’t really care what people think about me, as long as I’m getting bigger and bigger. That’s exactly what’s happening.

Did you get the offbeat idea from him?
It just came out of the blue, to be honest. I wasn’t really trying to sound offbeat or nothing. That’s just how people take this shit. When I heard Blueface, I was like, “This shit sweet,” but I didn’t want to play it around nobody else because they thought that shit was ass. That was a year ago. Look at him now—one of the biggest artists. I know how this shit go.

What did you add to the offbeat style? 
How I rap is at the end of my words, I emphasize it. At the last exact word, I’ll be loud, and people telling me they like that shit because they never hear that. Then they just name it my flow. It’s people on YouTube with songs called “Teejayx6 Flow.”

Do you think you’ll keep this style of delivery? Have you been trying to expand or change it?
I’ve been trying to expand it, yeah. On my new mixtape, it’s going to be different. It’s going to be the same shit, but it’s going to be me rapping different on some songs. I’m not trying to sound the same on everything.

One of the most interesting things about your music is that right in the middle of a song, you’ll have one line about some deep family thing. For example, on “Parents,” you have that line about your uncle stabbing your aunt (“My uncle stabbed my auntie ‘cause she had a miscarriage”). Why include significant things like that as throwaway lines?
That shit is not real. Why would I say that? Why would I do that? The only shit that be real [is] the swiping, the banks. Probably when I say I robbed a n***a, that’s real. If I ever say I shot somebody, I’m dumb. That’s not true.

You’ll often talk about your uncle or your father having problems with drugs. Is that stuff true?
That shit true, though. That’s nothing to lie about, like drugs and shit. But if I say, for example, my uncle stabbed my auntie, that’s retarded.

But even the stuff that is true, about your dad and your uncle and drugs, it’s only one line. It never takes up a whole song. 
Right. I’ll just add it in there. I try to not stay on one topic the whole song. And I try to say retarded shit that nobody ever think of in life. So for example, that my uncle stabbed my auntie because she had a miscarriage—who would ever say that? That’s just retarded, you know what I mean? 

Here’s another extreme example—you can tell me if it’s true or not. On “Miami Trip,” you said your cousin robbed someone while was dressed like Michael Meyers.
No cap, but he wasn’t dressed like Michael Myers. He just had the mask on.

In a few of your songs, you talk about scamming celebrities. How is it different to scam famous people than normal people?
That shit’s really easier than normal people, because they fall for it quicker. It’s harder to get in contact with a famous person than a regular person. So if you actually get in contact with that famous person and talk to them the right way, they’re going to do it.

Who are some of the celebrities you’ve scammed?
Blac Chyna, Dave East.

You mention Curren$y on one song.
I just DM’d him. I didn’t really scam him. And really, these celebrities that I be scamming, they’re like Instagram celebrities. They not real life celebrities.

Why would you buy a t-shirt on my site, with how I talk about scamming? You’re stupid.

I wanted to ask an expert: This past winter, Soulja Boy scammed his fans by selling them low quality video game systems and watches, and then didn’t ship them. What did he do right? What did he do wrong?
He should have shipped him. He would’ve made money off that shit. That was his dumb, dumb fault. My t-shirts, I’ll ship some, but I don’t ship all of them. I don’t personally ship them, I have somebody else ship them. I pick out who I want to ship them to. I really scammed some people for the shirts.

You have that line about that. [On “Website Scam,” Teejayx6 raps, “Bought a t-shirt off my website? N***a, you're a fool.”]
You see what I mean? “Bought a t-shirt off my website? N***a, you’re a fool.” You’re really stupid. Why would you buy a t-shirt on my site, with how I talk about scamming? You’re stupid.

On “Swipe Siblings,” you call the City Girls “irritating.”
Oh yeah, they are. They making all the girls want to be city girls and hot girl summers and all that shit.

Do you not like them because they’re trying to encourage girls to scam?
Yeah, that’s the thing, too. Somebody keep telling me to do a song with the JT girl. I want to do a song with her because that shit would blow up. If she talking about scamming and I’m talking about scamming, they’re going to love that shit. 

You talk about drinking lean despite damage to your kidneys. Why keep doing it?
I love that shit, to be honest.

Are you worried?
Of course, but I can’t be worried about right now. 

On “Parents,” you say that you tried to sell weed “one time.” What happened that one time?
It was a year and a half ago. I was juuging and shit. My juug page got shut down and I was like, “What the fuck I’m going to do?” I had some little money stacked up, but it really wasn’t going to last me. So I took some of that money that I made from the juuging and invested it in, I think it was a QP [quarter pound of weed]. But that she was moving so slow. I’m not used to that type of money. That little $10 shit, I can’t do that. I’m used to making $3K a day.

What’s the East Side of Detroit like?
It’s bad, but it’s really not that crazy. People just make it sound like that. You just got to stay to yourself and just be you. If you fucking with somebody, of course they going to fuck with you, but if you just stay to yourself, shit won’t happen to you. Well, even if you’re just at a gas station or something, it’s a possibility to get robbed. But if you stay to yourself, it’s a lower chance.

You have a bunch of great duets with Kasher Quon. How do you decide who raps when? You guys are trading back to back lines—sometimes as little as half a bar back and forth. 
We go in there and just say that shit. I’ll be like, “Say half a bar.” I be trying to do shit that nobody else say. So a week ago, I was [trading off] word, word, word. Instead of a full bar, we was rapping by word. Three people, me, him, and 10kkev. So we’ve got a song that’s literally one word per person. That shit crazy.

When you scam, do you think about the victims?
Yeah. In my song, I say I scammed some people from here, so I’m scared to go to New York. I’ll be scared to go outside in Detroit because I’ve scammed so many fucking people from there, bro. I really be scared to go outside and shit. 

Are you happy with that? 
No, I ain’t happy with it. I ain’t happy with it. It’s just the shit happened. 

Would you ever consider stopping?
[When] I make some nice rap money, I'll stop.

Have you seen the TV show Barry?
Barry? No, I never heard of it.

I’ll be scared to go outside in Detroit because I’ve scammed so many fu**ing people from there, bro. I really be scared to go outside and sh*t. 

It’s a show where the main character is a hit man, but he wants to be an actor. So the central tension is that there’s a guy who does this job that has to remain secret, but he also wants to be in the public eye as an actor and a star. It reminded me of you. Tell me about how you negotiate the secrecy involved in scamming and the public nature of being a rapper. You’re doing interviews, you’re doing photo shoots. It can’t be that long until people find out your government name.
See, that’s the thing. I always think it is as this: If I ever get big, somebody that I scammed in the past might book me for a show just to rob me. The life I live, I always got to be careful. I scammed so many people from different cities, different states. I don’t know who trying to book me. So I really be terrified. The last show I did [in Seattle], I was terrified. I don’t know who in that crowd that I scammed. I scammed people from Seattle before. That shit is not nothing. 

When I was scamming, I scammed on my real Instagram and I scammed on a juug page. So when I was scamming on the juug page Instagram, it was like I was a hidden person. It was just shoes and clothes and shit. But I have scammed some people from my real page, from different cities and shit. That’s what I be scared about. I just got to be safe. That’s my past. I really did that shit.

What do you have coming up musically?
I got Fraud Bible coming out. I got a lot of bangers on there, bro. Swear.