Takeoff of Migos: Remembering the Late Rapper

Photo: Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images

Most people’s first taste of Migos might be the confusing drug dealer slap of “Versace” or “Hannah Montana,” the madcap hit from the Atlanta rap trio’s 2013 mixtape, YRN (Young Rich Niggas). But if you follow hip-hop a lot in those years, your introduction is likely to be the same project that focuses on and is labeled “RIP,” where the group mourned the murder of Freebandz friend OG Double D and said what was in danger or rap. he didn’t go out as a job. The trio worried about safety and death, with Quavo opening up about his father’s death and Takeoff cycling through grief and braggadocio before reaching paranoia: “I know they’re after me, but I won’t let them take me / And every day and every night, I pray they don’t arrest me.” ” Migos could do cartoon absurdism and stress-out-of-reality, and helped to change attitudes about trap in years when the audience was not as open-minded as it is now. The proof of how much crucible 2022 is is that we have to talk about them in the past as we mourn the death of Takeoff, a 28-year-old group member who was shot and killed this week in Houston.

It was a family band: Quavo is Offset’s nephew and Takeoff’s uncle. They had great chemistry together and did, and the conflict was mentioned in Offset’s recent lawsuit against the record label Quality Control Music over the ownership of his personal catalog (confirmed by Quavo and Takeoff throwing the Unc & Phew album. Designed exclusively for Infinity Links without him) it didn’t seem like it could go on forever. These were the boys who met each other on vacation. “His mom took care of everything, and so did we,” Quavo recalled in 2013 Fader interview. “We lived in the same house.” Rap was Takeoff’s idea. Art imitated life; Migo who brought the group together is the glue, the one who holds the song together and the fulcrum Quavo’s hook-man/front-man tendencies and Offset’s laser look to surprise you with his touch on deceptively relaxed syllables. Stand up could do all that or play the field while you’re protesting. Most of his great verses are near the end of a long song. (Which is why it never made sense that he was left off “Bad and Boujee.”) He went second to last on Drake’s “Trophies” remix and melted: “If I touch the floor, I jump in a Zonda / Smoking good weed in Mexico, call that It’s good / Try to beat me Rihanna. ” That’s the takeoff point Tradition album bruiser “Deadz” drives home the point, his perfect timing and screaming lyrics: “Niggas argue, they hate, they plan, they wait / They want my ice, tell them to come and get it / If people tell me I can’t do it / Now I’m doing signs outside of the world.” Put him in the place of the stake and he broke it. On “Everything’s Good,” from 2014 Rich Nigga Timeline mixtape, Takeoff complained about bringing up the frustrations of a troubled person who’s “Talkin’ ’bout me treating him like Macaulay Culkin” because he lives at home alone. Elsewhere, he decides to take her to Miami and keep her by his side like a gun, leaning in. Scarface thing but also oppose it with laughter.

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It was clever stuff, undeniable evidence of a refined product, but it surprised many people who came to the music looking for a culturally articulated compass. A weapon like “Contraband” – “Narcotic, narcotic, narcotic” – offends a certain type, people who listen to rap songs hearing ways that can be received by the other two ears, they struggle with being able to distinguish between real and intentional violence. . In this case, Takeoff joking about hitting pots like Bernard Hopkins, Winky Wright, Adrien Broner, or Mike Tyson sold harmful ideas to the fans who are involved. If you think that music should be a service for sending positive messages, you have a problem with the bando’s discussion because it doesn’t clearly tell you that selling drugs can be a terrible line of work. Migos’ songs made you realize the spoils and hard work the lifestyle can lead but left you to your own devices in the way that an action movie shows its hero removing bad, bad habits from a lack of choices. Tradition‘s “Brown Paper Bag” goes there: “Don’t ever look back behind me, sip a little and live fast / I ended up in first place but I swore a nigga started last / I was born with nothing but a nigga knew I had it. to get a bag / I was raised by my mother, so a nigga never had a father.”

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These are trailblazers, not imitators – arrests, disputes, and civil suits have made the latter a difficult sell. But Black artists deserve the license to tell negative stories without spoon-feeding culture to young audiences, treating adult themes in art designed for older audiences. We can ask rappers to be more mindful of the messages they are promoting. We can’t ask them to breed everyone in the ear, and we have to have more to offer the crying fans who are famous in the community than the cold, cultural distance. Rappers are in danger when gun violence takes over Takeoff at a dice game, and Young Dolph is shot dead after a trip to the cookie store, and Trouble can’t rest at home without worry. And if we treat these tragedies, along with the death of PnB Rock and Pop Smoke, as proof of the lack of soul in the hip-hop community, we serve it to the players who are not interested in the culture beyond their means. use it to pathologize and blame young black people for their interests. Transforming violence in hip-hop into a story about the work of an outcast, singing rap as a source to see a toxic world and criminal activities rather than a megaphone to amplify existing practices and conflicts, he tells people who are interested in protecting the public but. not caring about the future of hip-hop the way you stop crime and keep rappers out of business, and shutting black youth out of amazing job opportunities is not the answer to the problem of latchkey kids without good places and influence.

You are within your rights to play uplifting music during this dangerous time, to encourage artists to vent their anger on their records and social media posts. But we can’t limit creativity, treading on the lines of desire in a rapper’s body of work to show only the dirt they do or discuss. (Yes, Takeoff is hacking the Draco on Tradition“T-Shirt” He also touches on religion and public service: “I feed my family, nigga, there’s no way around it / I ain’t gonna stop, nigga, God said show my talent.”) We have to deal with this problem that seems to be bigger than hip-hop. In a climate of increasing economic inequality and gang violence and mass murder, where a random mass shooting can provoke our national leadership to fix guns, it’s foolish to ask twenty-something rappers for favors our elected leaders won’t bother to show. . That’s how to cook inertia.

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Dealing with Takeoff’s loss as a casualty of the rap chickens that come home will forever affect the image of who he was, most evident in the girlfriend’s raps and warm family memories of recent Takeoff and Offset tracks like “Two Infinity Links” : “Before the cake, before the stage, we split the honey buns / 5:30, mother’s house, we were all sons / 85 NAWF where we all came from.” They sound certain that they will spend the rest of their lives sharing these experiences. It’s more than just a disaster for Migos, the group has brought an incredible sense of humor and triple penetration to the pop charts, and has forced listeners of climate therapy and hard-core adults alike to appreciate the art. Departure will be missed. One of rap’s big three will never be the same again. But among the many records he left behind, Takeoff still shines, all the green diamonds around his neck, looking like the Riddler. We have to ask him there now.



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