Who Was Takeoff? The Gray Mouse From Migos Changed The Rap Game And Brought New Slang
Kings of ad-libs and codifiers of new slang. How was the journey to the top for Takeoff with his uncle Quavo and cousin Offset?
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They wants us to stop takin' drugs, but ain't nobody stopping the killin' (Why?) – Migos „Antisocial“
The rap world is mourning. On the night from Monday to Tuesday during Halloween, at the age of 28, the rapper Takeoff from the group Migos left us forever. He died after the shooting, which occurred at 2:30 a.m. local time in Houston, where he was playing dice with fellow rapper Quavo.
One thing that is certain is that one of the most influential hip-hop groups today lost a family member, and the rap scene thus lost a fundamental pillar of the Atlanta trap sound. #RIPTAKEOFF
They bought DJs in Atlanta drinks to play their songs in clubs
Takeoff, whose real name is Kirshnik Khari Ball, was born on June 18, 1994 in the suburbs of Atlanta in the city of Lawrenceville in the US state of Georgia. Atlanta is considered a hotbed of young rap talents and trap representatives such as Young Thug, Future, Lil Baby, Playboi Carti and 21 Savage.
Atlanta showed the world a unique sound, fashion and urban slang. The Migos trio, which started creating music together in 2008 while they were studying in high school, is no exception. At that time, they were still called Polo Club, writes XXL. Takeoff was the youngest member of the group he co-founded with his uncle Quavo and cousin Offset.
"We were already tired of living on the street. So we decided to turn street money into legitimate money,” Takeoff told XXL in 2017 about their drug and street life rap beginnings. Drug money did not appeal to them, and rap seemed to be the only viable alternative.
After the first mixtapes Juug Season (2011) and No Label (2012), Migos started visiting clubs in Atlanta every weekend. They bought the DJs drinks and talked them into playing their latest tracks. After becoming increasingly popular locally, they caught the attention of well-known Atlanta producer and longtime Gucci Mane collaborator Zaytoven.
Gray Mouse from Migos, who changed the game
Zaytoven later introduced them to their later manager Kevin "Coach K" Lee, co-founder of the rap label Quality Control, which was behind stars like Gucci Mane, Lil Yachty and Lil Baby. Things moved quickly at that moment. “As soon as I saw their video, I knew they were stars. I told myself that these are going to change the game," says Lee.
Their first viral hit Versace was released under the name Migos in 2013. It reached number 99 on the Billboard Hot 100. This track from their third mixtape Y.R.N. (Young Rich Ni**as) became so successful that it was later even remixed by Drake.
Although Takeoff was the least prominent member of the Migos trio, for many rock fans he was the strongest pillar of the three-member group's Atlanta trap sound. In addition to rap, he also contributed several productions that defined their rhythmic genre to the group. He started producing music as soon as the seventh grade at elementary school.
In July 2015, their debut studio album, Yung Rich Nation, was released, on which famous names such as Chris Brown and Young Thug were guests. The album was ranked 17th in the prestigious Billboard 200 chart and consisted of hits such as Cocaine and Spray the Champagne.
But a year later came the big break when they released one of their biggest hits, Bad and Boujee, as the lead single from their second studio album, Culture. It was hosted by Lil Uzi Vert and went viral on the internet, spreading in the form of memes containing part of the text: "rain drop, drop top". The music video for the song currently has over 1.1 billion views on YouTube.
It was also quoted by the actor, comedian and rapper Donald Glover at the Golden Globe Awards that year. The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 and went quadruple platinum. Paradoxically, however, Takeoff did not contribute any verses on the song, and later joked about it in interviews: "Do it look like I'm Leftoff Bad and Boujee?"
Kings of ad-libs and codifiers of new slang
Migos' second studio album, Culture II, was released in January 2018 and again debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. The group began to dominate the mainstream scene more and more, for example, they appeared in the song Bon Appétit by Katy Perry or in Night Call by Steve Aoki together with Lil Yachty.
The Culture II album was full of extreme hits such as MotorSport with Cardi B (who is also the wife of Offset from Migos) and Nicki Minaj, Stir Fry produced by Pharrell Williams, Gang Gang, Walk It Talk It and White Sand featuring Travis Scott, Big Sean and Ty Dolla $ign.
Thanks to their unique work, Migos managed to become famous for the so-called ad-libs (impulsive vocal effects such as croaks and shouts between verses in rap music), which many big rap names began to adopt after them. The innovators were also in the unique slang, which they literally codified and young people began to use in their active vocabulary all over the world.
They are often considered one of the most influential rap groups of their generation due to their ability to constantly invent new phrases unique to their lingo (example: Straightenin, Dat Way or Dab). According to Billboard, Migos influenced pop culture and the entire English language by bringing their North Atlanta roots into the mainstream.
The Culture album series was supposed to culminate with its third installment in early 2019, but the release date of the album was moved to 2020. However, due to the strict pandemic measures in the USA, it had to be postponed again.
Culture III, as the fourth studio album of Migos, was finally released after a long hiatus on June 11, 2021. Drake, Cardi B, Polo G, Future, Justin Bieber, Juice Wrld, Pop Smoke and YoungBoy Never Broke Again performed as guests on the album. The project received positive reviews from critics and debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200. It also ended up being the last Migos album released during Takeoff's lifetime.
After the breakup, only "uncle and nephew" remained
In 2022, rumors began to spread that Offset had split from the group, leaving Quavo and Takeoff to release songs under the Migos name. The separation was apparently caused by an affair when Quavo's ex-girlfriend Saweetie allegedly slept with Offset. According to some fans, Quavo even raps about it in the song Messy.
"Bi**h fu**ed my dawg behind my back, but I ain't stressin". The song was released as part of the album Only Built for Infinity Links in October 2022, but under which Migos is no longer signed, but only Quavo and Takeoff. Offset has not met with his rap colleagues in recent months.
As late as May 2022, Offset also unfollowed them on Instagram after they released the song Hotel Lobby as a duo Unc & Phew (slang for uncle and nephew, because Quavo is the brother of Takeoff's mother).
The couple released an official music video for the song Messy just one day before the huge tragedy in which Takeoff was shot on November 1, 2022. The two were together playing dice at a pool club in Houston on the fateful night. Photos from the scene show Takeoff's uncle Quavo bending over his lifeless body and trying to revive him. Quavo was apparently not injured. The police are investigating the case.
Rest in peace, Take!
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