Takeoff, Dead At 28, Leaves A Legacy Beyond Migos

Takeoff, the rapper known as being one third of hip hop’s famed Migos group, was killed by gunfire early Tuesday in Houston, leaving fans and the music community rattled by an unexpected loss.

Migos, which broke up in October, changed the trajectory of hip hop and music broadly since it formed in 2008 through their music that was always imbued with an effortless coolness and attention-grabbing complexity to their rhymes. In 2013 when Migos dropped “Versace,” the group was elevated to a new and mighty level of culture significance, setting them up for nearly a decade of hits.

“Senseless violence and a stray bullet has taken another life from this world and we are devastated,” said Takeoff’s label Quality Control in a public statement.

Takeoff, whose legal name is Kirsnick Khari Ball, died just short of the fourth anniversary of his first and only solo studio album The Last Rocket.

“When you’re around Takeoff, there’s a sense of peacefulness about his aura,” Takeoff’s lawyer Drew Findling told the New York TimesNYT
. “He listens to you, he looks at you, he’s more focused on what you have to say than what he has to say. The world was starting to learn about Takeoff. It was his time to shine.”

The artist’s abrupt death leaves music at a deep loss and a reckoning with Takeoff’s legacy of changing hip hop forever.

Honored as Lyricist Whiz, Takeoff Brought Migos Together

As much as Migos is a cultural phenomenon, it is also a family group. Quavo is Takeoff’s uncle, and Offset is Takeoff’s cousin.

Though Takeoff was seen as the quieter of the trio, he was the one who brought them together to be a group. Offset and Quavo were skilled football players in high school, and Takeoff convinced them to join him in making a group.

“Growing up, I was trying to make it in music. I was grinding, which is just what I loved doing. I didn’t have nothing else to do. In my spare time, I’d record myself,” Takeoff told The Fader in 2017. “I was getting my own pleasure out of it, because it’s what I liked doing. I’d wait for Quavo to get back from football practice and I’d play my songs for him.”

Migos formed in Lawrenceville, a suburb of Atlanta. Inspired by Atlanta-based artists like Gucci Mane and Yung Jeezy, Billboard credited the group for influencing “pop culture and the entire English language by bringing their North (or ‘Nawf’) Atlanta roots to the mainstream.”

Shortly after dropping their first album, Juug Season, the group went on to find massive commercial success with a total of 43 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 throughout their career. Some of their most popular songs include “Bad And Boujee,” I Get The Bag,” “MotorSport,” “Walk It Talk It” and “Stir Fry.”

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Rounding out their discography was a trilogy of the Culture albums released between 2017 and 2021 that included some of the hits mentioned above. While Migos experienced personal tensions and broke up earlier in 2022, the group remained synonymous with creativity and influence across music and style.

Early October and following the Migos split, Takeoff and Quavo released their first joint album, Only Built For Infinity Links, planning to continue making music together without former Migos partner Offset.

Takeoff was known as being the more laid back one of the trio who could deliver clever rhymes and catchy lines in one take. In fact, that’s where Takeoff got his name.

“He was just always cool, calm and collected. Kinda stayed out of the way, and then when it was time to do his thing, he would shine bright,” DJ Headkrack of Atlanta’s hip hop radio station Hot 107.9 told Atlanta News First.

Of each of the Migos members, Takeoff was especially credited for being a gifted lyricist and “a master of syncopation, with a deftness that could render even the toughest talk exuberantly,” as the New York Times’ Jon Caramanica wrote.

Less than two weeks before his death, in an interview on Revolt’s Drink Champs, Takeoff spoke to wanting his flowers while he’s still alive — or wanting to be recognized more broadly for his contributions.

Shaping a Generation of Music

The musical genius of Migos powered the sound of a generation. Atlanta has long been on the map for hip hop and the birthplace of new ideas, but Migos etched its roots deeper by creating a new style and resulting trends.

“They introduced what is called the triplet rhyme scheme. And its a rhyme pattern that has been duplicated by artists such as Jay-Z, Drake, Jay Electronica,” A.R. Shaw, journalist and “Trap History” author told ABC News. “It started with this generation, with Migos.”

Shaw notes that the group’s 2017 album Culture further cemented their influence on the sound of rap, Atlanta’s culture, trap music and broader culture beyond music.

“Sometimes, the hip hop community gets a bad name,” Houston Police Deparment chief Troy Finner said during a press conference following the shooting. “Evident from this city and people who I have a personal relationship with, there are a lot of great people in our hip hop community. And I respect them.”

The death of Takeoff is part of an unfortunate yet all-too-familiar series of shootings that have killed rappers like PnB Roc, Pop Smoke, XXXTentacion and Nipsey Hussle over the past few years. The news pushed the music community to discuss the repeated, alarming deaths of young Black men and the exhaustion of waking up to news of another artist joining “the litany” of dead rappers.

As tributes pour out online and flowers are left at the site of the shooting, the rapper continues to be honored by fellow artists like Drake and Beyoncé. Sometimes referred to as the backbone of Migos, Takeoff’s death leaves the music community and many more at a deeply painful loss.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/andreabossi/2022/11/02/takeoff-leaves-behind-a-legacy-more-than-migos-dead-at-28/