Rapper Takeoff from the Atlanta trio Migos passed away at the age of 28
Takeoff, one-third of Migos, died. Migos became a popular local force in the 2010s before breaking out nationally. They shaped the zeitgeist without losing their localised appeal, paving a door for subsequent acts, and the band credited Takeoff as their secret weapon. After a Houston bowling alley fight early Tuesday, he was shot. Drew Findling, Takeoff’s lawyer, verified his death. 28.
Takeoff, born Kirsnick Khari Ball on June 18, 1994 in Lawrenceville, Ga., started rapping as a teenager with his uncle Quavo and cousin Offset. “Growing up, I tried to make it in music,” he told The Fader in 2017. “In my spare time, I’d record myself. Find a beat, pulling em up. Just making something and creating for me. Just listening to the songs I made for myself, so I could rap to em, even if I didn’t put them out. I was getting my own pleasure out of it, because it’s what I liked doing.” He became famous for one-take tunes. In 2011, Polo Club released Juug Season, their first mixtape as Migos. The trio broke through in 2013 with the mixtape Y.R.N. (Young Rich N*) and its catchy lead hit “Versace.” Drake’s remix boosted the song’s Billboard chart position when it went popular online. The decade was shaped by it. Known for its triplet-heavy Migos style, the group rose to fame.
Takeoff was the group’s most underrated member, a lively performer prone to contemplation. He held the band’s songs together. Migos popularised the dab and spread their flow across popular music. In early 2017, they were on top: “Bad and Boujee” topped the Billboard Hot 100 in January, and Culture, their second album, earned the No. 1 album in the country a few weeks later. At the BET Awards, Joe Budden and Takeoff argued over his absence from that hit. While accepting the Golden Globe for outstanding comedy series, Donald Glover called the trio “The Beatles of this generation.”
What could have been another viral incident solidified Migos as a professional act; widespread notoriety never undermined their credibility. 2018’s Culture II was another Billboard No. 1. In the same year, the trio released solo albums that solidified its status. All three reached the Top 5 on the Billboard 200, with Takeoff’s The Last Rocket debuting at No. 4. It was his sole solo release. Though his personality remained largely inextricable from the group’s for most of its existence by design, Takeoff became an increasingly unignorable presence in their fast-moving music as his explosive verses took up more space and became more contemplative.
The COVID-19 pandemic delayed Migos’ Culture trilogy until 2021. When Takeoff and Quavo released songs sans Offset earlier this year, rumours of a separation circulated. Only Built for Infinity Links, Takeoff’s last album, was released alongside Quavo.
After his death, his lawyer Drew Findling wrote: “Takeoff was not only a brilliant musical artist with unlimited talent but also a uniquely kind and gentle soul. He will be greatly missed now and always.”
Despite his accomplishments, he kept a low profile. Attention didn’t suit him. In May, Quality Control co-founder Pierre “P” Thomas tweeted, “Takeoff so underrated. If he cared more about this rap game he would definitely be stepping on y’all n* but unfortunately he don’t gaf. Been like that since he [sic] first met him. Nothing has changed with him.”