Takeoff: Tributes to Migos rapper shot dead in Houston at 28 (2023)

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Takeoff: Tributes to Migos rapper shot dead in Houston at 28 (1)Image source, Getty Images

By Mark Savage

BBC Music Correspondent

Hip-hop stars and fans have paid tribute to US rapper Takeoff from the chart-topping group Migos, after he was shot dead at the age of 28.

The musician, real name Kirshnik Khari Ball, was killed in Houston on Tuesday.

Gucci Mane, Kid Cudi, Khalid and Dave posted tributes on social media, while Rick Ross called him a "young legend".

Migos were one of the most influential groups of their generation, pioneering a style of rapping in choppy, staccato triplets known as the "Migos flow".

The band, who split earlier this year, scored several international hits including Bad and Boujee, Versace and Walk It Talk It.

Image source, Getty Images

The shooting took place at about 02:30 local time (07:30 GMT) on a balcony outside the 810 Billiards and Bowling Alley, where Takeoff had reportedly been playing dice with his uncle and bandmate, Quavo.

Police said 40 to 50 guests had been at a private party when someone opened fire. When they arrived, officers said they found a large crowd and a man with a gunshot wound to the head or neck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said two other people were injured and were driven to hospital in private vehicles. No arrests have been made.

At a news conference on Tuesday afternoon, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner pleaded with witnesses at the scene to come forward.

"Please step up, get the information to us so we can bring some closure to this family who's hurting right now," he said.

(Video) Takeoff, Migos Rapper, Dead at 28

In a statement, record label Quality Control said: "It is with broken hearts and deep sadness that we mourn the loss of our beloved brother Kirsnick Khari Ball, known to the world as Takeoff.

"Senseless violence and a stray bullet has taken another life from this world and we are devastated. Please respect his family and friends as we all continue to process this monumental loss."

"Forever a legend, I can't believe this," wrote Lil Pump on Instagram; while Ja Rule posted an emoji of a dove and sent "love to friends and family".

Brit Award-winning rapper Dave shared a series of photos of himself and Takeoff on Instagram, alongside the words: "My brother... days we spent together were priceless."

Fellow British rapper AJ Tracey said on Twitter: "Not Takeoff! RIP"; while Atlanta singer Keri Hilson wrote: "Rest In Peace. Healing love to your brothers, family, & friends. #gonetoosoon."

Reality star Khloe Kardashian said on Twitter: "This is so sad. Wow! over what?? May God cover everyone who is in pain. These senseless acts have got to end. So so sad."

RIP Takeoff 🙏🏾

— Khalid (@thegreatkhalid) November 1, 2022

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

RIP Takeoff 💔💔💔
my heart is broken

— Chlöe (@ChloeBailey) November 1, 2022

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

No hot takes. No profound thoughts. Just sad that another rapper, son, brother, and friend has been killed. God be with all those who feel the loss. #TakeOff #MIGOS

— Lecrae (@lecrae) November 1, 2022

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Oh my God…rest in peace Takeoff…I can’t believe that..omg…

(Video) Migos rapper Takeoff killed in shooting in Houston

— Lauren Jauregui (@LaurenJauregui) November 1, 2022

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Music executive Cole Bennett tweeted that "nothing makes sense anymore. Nothing at all"; and Juice Wayne posted a verse about Takeoff, saying "it will never make sense".

"Takeoff [was] probably the most unproblematic rapper," added actress Masika Kalysha. "He don't bother nobody and stay out the way."

Pioneers

Migos - made up of Takeoff, Offset and Quavo - grew up together in Lawrenceville, Georgia, and came to represent the state's capital, Atlanta, arguably the spiritual home of trap music.

Takeoff said music had offered the band, who were all related, an escape route from poverty.

"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," he told The Fader.

Image source, Getty Images

"In my spare time, I'd record myself. Find a beat... just making something and creating for me. I'd wait for Quavo to get back from football practice and I'd play my songs for him."

Originally called Polo Club, the band made their debut as Migos in 2010, and scored their first hit with Versace, which received a remix from Drake, in 2013.

'The Beatles of this generation'

Their ascent halted briefly in 2015 when Offset was sent to jail following a police raid on the group's tour bus after a show at Georgia State University.

Later that year, the trio issued the mixtape Back to the Bando, which included the hit song Look at My Dab - which popularised the dabbing dance trend that was later picked up by athletes and even politicians.

They went mainstream in 2016 with Bad and Boujee, a viral hit whose quotable lyrics ("rain drop, drop top") spawned multiple memes.

A slow-burning success, it topped the US charts two months after it was released, thanks partly to an enthusiastic endorsement from actor-rapper Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino.

"I think they [Migos] are the Beatles of this generation," he said during a speech at the Golden Globe Awards in 2017. "That song, Bad and Boujee, is just fly."

Image source, Getty Images

Takeoff's non-appearance on that single caused a minor controversy among fans - but he brushed it off, claiming he was simply unavailable for the recording session.

Propelled by its success, the band's second album, Culture, debuted at number one in the US. The same year, the group collaborated with Calvin Harris on Slide - their only UK top 10 hit.

(Video) Migos Rapper, Takeoff, Dead At 28; Reportedly Shot Over A Dice Game In Houston

Their follow-up album, Culture II, featured production by Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, as well as guest spots from Nicki Minaj, 21 Savage, Cardi B and Drake. Another US number one, it spawned the platinum hits MotorSport, Stir Fry, Walk It Talk It and Narcos.

Around the same time, Offset began dating Cardi B, with whom he now has two children, Kulture and Wave.

Takeoff was the youngest member of the band and often the quietest in public.

"He analyse a lot, that's why I think his raps be so strong," Offset told Rolling Stone in 2018. "He's just powerful."

The musician released a solo album, The Last Rocket, in 2018 before Migos reunited to record Culture III in 2021.

However, the band split up earlier this year after a disagreement with Offset.

"We stand on real deal loyalty, and sometimes that... ain't displayed," Quavo told the Big Facts podcast earlier this year. "This ain't got nothing to do with no label, no paperwork, no QC, nothing. This got something to do with the three brothers."

Takeoff and Quavo continued as a duo, releasing an album, Only Built For Infinity Links, which reached number seven in the US charts last month.

Shortly before Takeoff's death, the pair had released a Halloween-themed video for their single Messy.

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