6ix9ine’s December 18 sentencing date in his federal racketeering case is inching closer, and an early release is likely.

Two weeks ago, TMZ reported that the controversial rapper signed a record deal with 10K Projects that is worth more than $10 million, confirming rumors that he intends to pick up his career where he left off instead of entering the witness protection program

An attempt at continuing his music career is risky, due to potential threats on his life after testifying against gang members, and TMZ’s sources suggest the rapper will employ around-the-clock security to protect himself. 

Complex spoke with several security companies about 6ix9ine’s case, and they all said 24/7 surveillance for a rapper like him is possible, but this particular situation is “unprecedented,” expensive, and risky. 

Shamir Bolivar, CEO of Shadow Group Security and former bodyguard for 6ix9ine, says high-profile rappers routinely employ security teams, but 24/7 security operations are a unique situation. “It entails around-the-clock, live-in security or a rotation of shifts of agents. Security gets paid to look over their shoulder so their client no longer has to,” Bolivar says, adding that 6ix9ine needs to be aware of gang members who want to hurt him and the “ultimate clout fanatic that may plan an attack as retribution.” 

“Protecting a client involved in a high-profile federal witness case is pretty unprecedented. This is going to be a case study for a witness to re-enter the entertainment world.” - SHAMIR BOLIVAR

To determine the number of staff needed, level of risk, and overall cost, security companies need to do a thorough evaluation. “Each security company should perform their due diligence on any potential client from a risk assessment standpoint, financial ability of the client to pay, and understand the complete scope of work to determine if their licensure and insurance would and could cover the work requested,” says Peter Curcio, COO of Arrow Security in New York.

Curcio notes that companies assess whether their work would be “armed or unarmed, uniformed or covert” and whether the job would require other equipment, such as vehicles, ballistic vests, K-9 teams, or explosive sweeps. 

Every case is different when it comes to the number of agents assigned to a client, but Bolivar expects a minimum of three agents and as many as 10 would be required to protect 6ix9ine. “24/7 security is specifically designed to the client, members of his family, size and location of his residence,” Bolivar explains. 

The estimated cost for a job like this varies. Allen Hollimon, CEO of Texas company Nationwide Security Service says the standard for his company’s daily protection is $125/hour. Over the course of one year, that would roughly cost 6ix9ine $1.09 million, although Hollimon said he would reduce the rate considering the length of the job. Curcio says Arrow’s going rate would be $140/hour, which would total over $1.2 million for one year. Over the course of the rest of his career, this would cost him millions.

It’s important to note that neither of these companies knew the details of 6ix9ine’s situation before speaking with Complex, so the unique risk involved in his case could mean the price would be much higher. For perspective, when 6ix9ine spent 10 days in Los Angeles before the racketeering charges even took place, he reportedly spent $100,000 on security.

Even if 6ix9ine could afford the price, there is a possibility that security companies would reject his business because the risk is just too high. 

“We frequently decline high-risk work that involves entertainment venues, venues that serve alcohol, high-risk individuals, or short-term work that may not provide the long-lasting relationships that we currently enjoy with our portfolio of prestigious clients, because they may have an impact in our insurance premiums, branding, and reasonable safety of employees,” Curcio says, adding that “not all work is good work.”  

If 6ix9ine is rejected from security companies, Curcio suggests the rapper could explore other options such as “[hiring] bouncers, armed drivers, or undercover security officers off the books.” He adds, “Other security companies operate around licensure and insurance issues, which is not a problem until something happens.” 

There is also skepticism about the ability of security teams to properly protect 6ix9ine in a case that carries as much risk as this one. “Being high profile, if he's ever in the news and they ever determine where he's at, a Mickey Mouse security team ain't going to cut it," says Ramon “Mundo” Mendoza, an ex-Mexican Mafia hitman who entered witness protection after testifying against his former gang members. “I'm sure these guys will be nicely trained and all that, but if you get some crazy kid to just go in and open fire, you're going to have collateral damage. I’d be more concerned about innocent people dying.” 

Although Shamir Bolivar admits that he “started to care for Danny” while he was working for him prior to the arrest, he says providing 24/7 security for someone like 6ix9ine is unheard of in his line of work.  

“As the only company able to keep him and his family safe both domestically and internationally, I’d hope whoever he hires is properly vetted, trained, licensed and insured,” Bolivar notes. “Protecting a client involved in a high-profile federal witness case is pretty unprecedented because the witness protection program provided by the government is typically the first and only option. This is going to be a case study for a witness to re-enter the entertainment world.”