Takeoff — born Kirshnik Ball — was reportedly murdered in Houston early Tuesday (Nov. 1) following an altercation outside of 810 Billiards & Bowling when gunfire rang off and fatally struck the Migos rapper while leaving two others hospitalized.
In the hours since Takeoff’s death, there’s been an outpouring of support from the hip-hop community with touching tributes coming from the likes of Drake, Gucci Mane, Nas, Rich The Kid, Metro Boomin’, Chance The Rapper, Chuck D and more.
As one-third of Migos alongside Quavo and Offset, Takeoff served as the backbone of the seminal trio, which played an integral role in changing the sound of 2010’s rap and turning Atlanta into the hip-hop capital of the world.
Fans had the privilege of witnessing Takeoff go from a reserved teenager blossoming to one of the most consistent wordsmiths the genre had to offer over the course of the past decade.
What made Migos’ meteoric rise from the North Atlanta bando to the Met Gala even more special was that it was always a family affair. For those that don’t know, Takeoff was Offset’s cousin and Quavo’s nephew.
At 28-years-old, Takeoff seemed to just be entering his prime as a rapper. Migos shifted the genre with their decorated Culture series, which produced three installments and a pair of Grammy Award nominations.
Takeoff also branched off to unleash his The Last Rocket solo album in Nov. 2018, which eerily turns four years old on Wednesday (Nov. 4).
More recently, Takeoff teamed up with uncle Quavo under the alias of Unc & Phew for their Only Built For Infinity Links joint album in October. The critically-acclaimed project peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard 200.
“Personally, I feel like it, because we had to work hard,” Takeoff told Billboard of being more proud of Infinity Links compared to previous albums. “We went back in that bat cave. Dirty, grimy, no cut and scruffy — just ain’t even worried about nothing.”
“Just in that basement cooking up, going in, editing and coming back… Those changes made the album. You think you got it and then you keep painting that picture until you come up with that Picasso.”
Billboard commemorates Takeoff by highlighting some of the lyrical brilliance he displayed throughout his career.
8. “Casper” – The Last Rocket (2018)
“Before we jump in, my n—a we gotta say grace/ My grandmama gone but can’t be replaced/ Jenna, she paved the way (Jenna Lou)/ I’m turnin’ the page on n—s (Turnin’)/ I waited days, remember/ Been had that fame on the side of my hood/ Swear it couldn’t change a n—a.”
7. “John Wick” – (2014)
“The trap game is Madden, no need to ask Madden/ I just hit the plug with the hit stick (boom)/ No Santa Claus, I’m on my Grinch s–t/ F–k it, might light the block up like it’s Christmas.”
6. “L.A. Leakers Freestyle” – (2021)
“They talking about COVID when I heard the news I started sipping a remedy/ If I got an opp and you say you my brother, then he better be your enemy/ I’m taking them back to the bando way back to when a n—a was breaking and entering.”
5. “Bars Into Captions” – Only Built For Infinity Links (2022)
“And we are creatures that come from another planet (Creature)/ The rocket ship take off, I’m ’bout to land it (Takeoff)/ I got a stick, the switch is automatic (Brrt)/ Ain’t never average, keep that ‘shh’ in the attic.”
4. “Stir Fry” – Culture II (2017)
“Don’t discriminate, ball players come in all sizes/ Finger roll, post move or the pick and roll/ They mad the way we win, they think we used a cheat code/ Why you keep lookin’ at me?/ I feel like n—-s got static/It must be the Patek.”
3. “Call Casting” – Culture (2017)
“Draco on me, it’s attached/ Name a n—a with the pack (Pack)/ Name a n—a with the sack (Sack)/ Elem’ o’clock, I got the MAC (MAC)/ She eat the molly like a snack (Eat it up)/ This gold on my neck a plaque.”
2. “Fight Night” – No Label II (2014)
“Broke n—s stand to the left (Left)/ My rich n—-s stand to the right (To the right)/ Lil’ mama, she keep looking at me (Lil’ mama)/ I’ma knock the pussy out like fight night.”
1. “T-Shirt” – Culture (2017)
“I’ma feed my family, n—a, ain’t no way around it (Family)/ Ain’t gon’ never let up, n—a, God said show my talent (Show it)/ Young n—a with the Anna, walkin’ with the hammer/ Talkin’ country grammar, n—a, straight out Nawf Atlanta.”