According to a person familiar with the investigation, the rapper known as Takeoff, 28, of the chart-topping Atlanta rap trio Migos, was shot and killed overnight at a Houston bowling alley.
According to the source, the Houston Police Department is awaiting formal confirmation from the local medical examiner before notifying the man’s family. The Associated Press was informed by an unidentified Migos representative that Takeoff had died.
According to police, another member of Migos, Quavo, was with Takeoff at the time of the shooting.
Drew Findling, Takeoff’s lawyer and confidante, described his death as “a devastating loss, particularly for Atlanta.”
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“There’s a sense of peace about Takeoff’s aura when you’re around him,” Mr. Findling said. “He listens to you, he looks at you, he’s more interested in what you’re saying than what he’s saying.” Takeoff was becoming known around the world. It was finally his turn to shine.”
Migos, one of the most successful rap groups of the last decade, was founded in 2008 in the Atlanta suburb of Lawrenceville, Georgia. Five years later, the trio gained widespread attention with its debut singles “Bando,” “Versace,” and “Hannah Montana,” which featured the group’s signature style of rapid-fire, stuttering raps and sticky, repetitive choruses.
The New York Times described Migos’ 2013 mixtape, “Y.R.N.,” as “consistent, noisy, and chaotic” and “perpetually in fifth gear.”
The group rose to international prominence in late 2016 and early 2017 with “Bad and Boujee,” a song featuring Lil Uzi Vert — but not Takeoff, who was absent from the song — that spent three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The song became one of the first streaming megahits, with more than 1.5 billion streams in the United States alone. Migos’ follow-up album, “Culture,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard chart and earned the group one of its two Grammy nominations.
Migos has since released singles such as “MotorSport,” “I Get the Bag,” and “Walk It Talk It,” as well as a solo album, “The Last Rocket,” which debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 in 2018. Takeoff and Quavo released “Only Built for Infinity Links” last month without the third Migos member, Offset, and it charted at No. 7.
Takeoff, born Kirsnick Khari Ball on June 18, 1994, grew up in Lawrenceville and Athens, Georgia. He “always wanted to rap,” he told music magazine The Fader in 2013, and found his bandmates close to home: Takeoff and his uncle, Quavo, were raised by Quavo’s mother, Edna, a hairstylist. Takeoff was the first member of the group to become obsessed with rap music, soaking up music purchased at flea markets, particularly Lil Wayne and his early group the Hot Boys.
Takeoff and Quavo began performing music in their teens as a duo called Polo Club, and released a mixtape when Takeoff was still in middle school. Offset began visiting Edna’s house and considered Takeoff and Quavo to be his cousins. They began to map out a sound — repeated words, punchy ad-libs — that was both catchy and distinct.
The trio was discovered by Quality Control’s Pierre Thomas (known as P) and Kevin Lee (Coach K) through local hero Gucci Mane, who heard the group’s early track “Bando.” Takeoff initially drew Thomas’ attention with bouncy, melodic triplet raps that reminded the executive of the ’90s group Bones Thugs-n-Harmony.
“The music was insane,” P later admitted, “but what really made me want to go hard for them was that they packed all their clothes and moved into the studio — literally lived there, sleeping on reclining chairs and making music all day.”
Takeoff described their approach to music in The Fader, saying the band would make “seven songs a day,” spending no more than 15 minutes on each track. Working on a song for too long “kills the vibe,” according to Takeoff. “You have to have fun with a song, make someone laugh,” he added, “and you have to have character.”
Takeoff was accused of rape in the summer of 2020 in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles by a woman who claimed she was assaulted at a house party in Encino, California. A lawyer for the rapper described the claims as “patently and demonstrably false,” adding that the rapper was known for his “quiet, reserved, and peaceful personality.” According to Pitchfork, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute the case the following year due to a lack of evidence.
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