“The hood love you, but behind your back they pray for the day, a bullet hits your heart and ambulances take you away. That ain’t love, it’s hate.”
Kirshnik Khari Ball, better known as Takeoff, one third of the acclaimed rap trio Migos, was shot and killed in the early hours of 11.1.2022. He was shot and killed in a bowling alley in Houston, TX. Reports say the conflict which led to his death began over a dice game. Takeoff and Migos partner Quavo were reportedly in Houston celebrating J. Prince Jr’s birthday. Prince is the son of legendary rap figure J. Prince. Takeoff was 28 years old.
I REFUSE TO SPEAK OF THE MIGOS AS BEING BROKEN UP SO I WILL ONLY REFER TO THEM AS THE TRIO I’VE ALWAYS KNOWN THEM TO BE. DOWNLOAD QUAVO AND TAKEOFF’S ONLY BUILT FOR INFINITY LINKS RIGHT THE FUCK NOW.
The ties that bind Migos are closer than friendship or rap. The three are blood family. Quavo and Offset are cousins. Takeoff is Quavo’s nephew. All three were raised [together] by Takeoff’s mother, who is Quavo’s older sister. My first condolences go out to Takeoff’s mother, Latabia Woodward.
When asked why Takeoff was often absent from award shows, Woodward commented, “He likes to work and mind his business. He doesn’t like to be involved in a lot of things; he just likes to make good music for the people.”
Mama Woodward’s response is the sentiment most often echoed by Migos aficionados. Quavo is the default front man of the trio. Offset is the (estranged?) husband of rap titan Cardi B., and the group’s sharpest blade in the eyes of many listeners. But Takeoff...he was the baby of the group. He was easily the most taciturn of the trio. He was always lowkey, but his voice was the scruffiest. He always carved his unique niche into each Migos track.
Migos is the largest rap group since...? I can’t even say. They came along at a time when groups were on the decline. But their work, acclaim, influence and legacy cement them amongst the best to ever do it. This is the time for purists my age and older to stop it with the bullshit belief that no artists can touch the artists from their eras. I’m not sorry to say that Migos share seats at the table with Run-DMC, Eric B. and Rakim, NWA, EPMD, The Tribe, Gangstarr, Wu, Mobb Deep, UGK, Outkast and all the other legendary groups to bless the mic. All their tangibles check the necessary boxes. If you disagree, do me a favor. Ask your child, niece/nephew, or any youngster about Migos in comparison to your favorite group. You might get your feelings hurt. Yes, they have that much influence in the current era. Yes, they are an all-time great group, all things considered.
My blog and the sorrow I feel are not cosmetic or contrived. I’m not some old head thirsty to blog about a current event. I’m not my bro Malik B. or other day one Migos purists. But I have been a listener since “Fight Night.” I own Culture and Culture II. I fuck with Migos heavy. I always thought their sound was 100% original. They didn’t sound like anyone else in a game saturated with artists that mimic whatever the dominant sound is. Migos was so influential that the phrase “Migos sound” became commonplace, whether genuine or in satire. Their ad libs were the best since Jeezy had Snowman shirts selling out urban wear boutiques (Yeahhhhh!). I’m gonna miss you, young fella. LONG LIVE TAKEOFF.
I’m tired of our community losing rappers every other fucking month. We haven’t even finished mourning the death of PnB Rock. How about Dolph? Shit, do y’all even say RIP Mo3 anymore? How about Slim 400, Drakeo, or Trouble? XXL released an article on 9.8.2022 titled, “The Current Status of Every Murdered Rapper’s Case.” It’s sad that Takeoff’s name had to be added to the list, which began with the murder of Boogie Down Production’s Scott La Rock in 1987. The damn article wasn’t even two months old before a name was added to the list. What in the entire fuck?
There are reports coming out of Houston saying that Takeoff’s death may have been friendly fire. But every report is saying that the conflict was birthed by money lost in a dice game. In a bowling alley. In a city that that man didn’t even reside in. Do y’all see where I’m going with this? We know the answers to the pertinent questions. It’s the motives we take issue with.
It completely scares me that the loss of Black life is so easy, so simple. People die in dice and card games all the time. Even Englewood, NJ has its own loss due to a gambling spot disagreement. But damn. One third of the most famous rap group in the world dying over money on the floor? In a spot far from home?
THIS IS THE PART WHERE I PUT MY OLD HEAD FITTED ON AND SPEAK REALITY.
Piperboy Williams, one of my favorite bloggers, questioned why they were out with Prince Jr. in the first place. I agree. Takeoff and Quavo shouldn’t have been in that bowling alley in that city at that time of night. I get it: y’all partying with Lil Prince. But there shouldn’t have been a setting or situation where there was anyone or anything that would have potentially been a threat to anyone’s life. My guess is that it probably wouldn’t have happened if they were at Lil Prince’s home. I could be completely wrong, but I doubt it. My mind goes back to the first week or so in Yearbook my sophomore year of high school. We learned about public figures and the adversities they knowingly face and accept. I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling that if it’s not about the money, stay as far away as possible, unless the security mimics a presidential Secret Service detail. My bro Malik tweeted, “...At this point they (rappers) have to maneuver and interact with folks only in their tax bracket and cut everything else off.” That part. I know it goes against so many popular beliefs, but successful rappers need to insulate themselves from all fuckery. Do the shows, get paid and go the fuck on about your way. And why in the world is a millionaire putting himself in harm’s way over pocket change? Shut up. I already know the answer. We [us-skinned] folk don’t tolerate ANY form of disrespect, whether it’s perceived disrespect or actual disrespect. It seems like some type of disrespect led to entourage members drawing weapons and firing. Takeoff was minding his damn business. He (allegedly) arose to see what was going on and was struck with several shots from his own camp. Quavo has to live with this tragedy every day for the rest of his life. It was completely unintended, but it happened. Over pocket change. We have to do better.
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