A tribute to Takeoff

The influential rapper died on Nov. 1


Courtesy of Chron

Takeoff raps on stage in an Atlanta Braves cap.

Brooke Degner, Contributing Writer

In the early hours of Tuesday, Nov. 1, word reached the media that Kirshnik Khari Ball— better known by his stage name Takeoff — was fatally shot at a private bowling alley party in Houston. The 28-year-old was the youngest member of Migos, a rap trio that dominated the charts throughout the 2010s. 

While Migos was huge for years, unknown reasons led to the members going their separate ways. Offset became more of a solo artist while Takeoff and Quavo formed their own duo “Unc and Phew” (uncle and nephew). Takeoff also released solo songs, one of the most notable being “Casper”.

After Takeoff’s death, people everywhere are talking about how influential Migos (and Takeoff) were in the world of Rap and Hip-Hop. In an NPR talk between Juana Summers and Atlanta-based culture reporter Jewel Wicker, the two discuss the ways Migos changed the rap game. 

“If you talk to a lot of music critics, they’ll tell you rap didn’t sound the same after the Migos, right? That flow was adopted not just by other local Atlanta rappers, but, you know, it was taken on by global superstars like Drake,” Wicker said. 

Biggest works:

Honestly, it is nearly impossible to pick just one Migos song or album that is the best or most famous. However, I think “Bad and Boujee”, released in December of 2016, is one that just about everyone knows — it held the No. 1 Billboard spot for three weeks and stayed on the charts for 36. Depending on one’s age, it’s safe to say that the song likely played at least once during every middle or high school dance. “Bad and Boujee” is a song on “Culture”, Migos’ second most popular album after “Culture II”. 

Some of their other biggest hits include “Motorsport (feat. Nicki Minaj and Cardi B)”, “Pure Water (feat. Mustard)”, “T-Shirt”, “Walk It Talk It”, “Stir Fry”, “Slippery (feat. Gucci Mane)” and “Fight Night”.

As an example of one of Takeoff’s well-appreciated verses, here are some of his lines from Gucci Mane’s hit, “I Get the Bag (ft. Migos)”. 

“Back ends I count in my sleep, on fleek / Hundred K spent on a Patek Phillippe (Phillippe) / B*tch, I’m a dog, eat my treat (Hrr) / Hop out the frog and leap (Leap)”.

How is the media responding to the news?

Takeoff was widely considered to be the peaceful, quiet and reserved member of the trio. As such, his death has hit the hip-hop/rap community with extra force. A video recorded in the moments leading up to the shooting shows Takeoff and Quavo talking with a group of people. At the very end of the video, you can hear the sound of gunshots. Many people are outraged by the fact this video is going viral, calling it insensitive and disrespectful. 

Atlanta’s Reaction:

Takeoff (like the other Migos members) was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He attended and performed at Hawks games, really making himself a part of the Atlanta community. Since his death, a mural has been painted of him on the Atlanta Beltline, and a service has been planned at the State Farm Arena to celebrate his life.

A mural in Atlanta depicts Takeoff with an angel’s halo. (Courtesy of WSB-TV 2 Atlanta)

Up to 20,000 people — both from Atlanta and across the world — are attending the service to pay their respects to Kirsnick Khari Ball. Knowing that State Farm Arena was where he cheered on the Hawks and even performed at a game makes this celebration especially tear-jerking and memorable. Tickets open to the public were sold out fast. His family requests that anyone planning to bring flowers or gifts instead donate to the Rocket Foundation (https://www.rocket-foundation.org/) to help prevent gun violence. Those attending the services are required to check in their devices, and no media outlets are permitted inside, so the memorial is a private, touching event for Takeoff. With the Rocket Foundation, his peaceful legacy will continue.