Tribute to Late Rapper Takeoff

Stephen Andrews
18 Jun 2023

Kirsnick Khari Ball, better known as Takeoff, was the youngest hip hop trio Migos member, along with his uncle Quavo and cousin Offset. The group stormed the Billboard Top 10 several times. Their biggest hits included "MotorSport," a collab with Nicki Minaj and Cardi B, "Stir Fry," and "Walk It Talk It" together with Drake, among others. Takeoff's life abruptly ended on November 1, 2022, when he was fatally shot outside a bowling alley in Houston.

If there is one thing that casts a long dark shadow on hip-hop culture in the US, it's the extensive list of murders of young artists and performers, often at their careers' peak. Unfortunately, Takeoff's name is also on that list. Over 50 prominent rappers and hip-hop musicians have been murdered since the late 1980s. 

Takeoff was shot in the head and back as he was leaving a private party at a bowling alley on Nov. 1 in Houston, Texas. Police have said the gunfire followed after a disagreement over a "lucrative" game of dice outside the venue but that the young rapper was not involved and was "an innocent bystander."

Takeoff would have turned 29 this June 18. His premature and violent death has left friends and fans in deep shock. 

The court case for Take's murder is still ongoing. According to news report, the grand jury in Houston has indicated a primary suspect, named Patrick Xavier Clark. The man had been free on a $1 million bond when the jury had him indicted in May. 

Hours after the indictment was made, Cardi B went emotional about her late friend. Nearly seven months after the rapper's death, she posted a tender tribute with a photo of Take on her Instagram story, saying "What a angel god [blessed] this earth with." 

"I know you see the tears I know you see them looking at the sky asking why...," Cardi added in her post. "What a beautiful soul to take." She also called her followers to keep family and friends close while they still can. 

Cardi's husband, Offset, is also a Migos member. He recently addressed how hard Takeoff's death has been on him. "Talking about Take is hard, man. Talking about all this s–t is hard. That's why I don't, to be honest. That s–t hurts," he told Variety. "He's not here. That s–t feels fake, bro. I get through my day thinking it's fake. And I don't say nothing to nobody about it."

Takeoff started rapping at the age of 16. His group initially performed under the stage name Polo Club before rebranding to Migos. The group's debut material followed in 2011, a mixtape titled Juug Season. Their rise to stardom followed two years later, in 2013, when a Drake remix of their single "Versace" began crawling up the charts. 

In 2015, Migos released their debut studio album, Yung Rich Nation, featuring appearances from Chris Brown and Young Thug.

That same year, the group was scheduled to headline Georgia Southern University's annual spring concert. Migos were late on the stage. They were also supposed to perform for 45 minutes, but their set lasted less than 30 minutes. Angered university officials would later pay them only half the sum agreed on in the contract.

That would not be the sole incident the trio were involved in. When Migos went on a tour in 2018, their bus was searched in Boone, North Carolina, and three men, none of the group members however, were charged for possessing 420 grams of weed and other drugs like codeine. 

The search happened after one of the group's concert there, when security officers at the Homes Convocation Center were alerted by a strong smell of pot coming from the Migos bus tour. Consequently, the Boone Police Department was notified. Police stopped the vehicle on a nearby highway once the group left the concert grounds. One of the three men charged received a felony; the other two were issued citations. 

Later in 2018, Migos released Culture II, and Take also went on to launch his solo project titled The Last Rocket. The rapper continued both his solo work and as part of Migos until the horrid incident that claimed his life last year. His music has been acknowledged with two Grammy Award nominations. 

Stephen Andrews