Takeoff of Migos: Remembering the Late Rapper

Photo: Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images

The public’s first taste of Migos may have been the drug dealer’s disturbing slap of “Versace” or “Hannah Montana,” the insane track from the Atlanta rap trio’s 2013 mixtape, YRN (Young Rich Niggas). But if you followed hip-hop a lot during those years, your first words might be the same version of “RIP,” where the group mourns the death of fellow Freebandz OG Double D and describes what was at stake as rap. it didn’t come out as a job. The trio was very worried about safety and dying, Quavo described the death of his father and Takeoff cycling through grief and arrogance before he came: “I know they’re after me, but I won’t let them get me / And every day and every night, I pray they don’t arrest me. A Migos can be both sarcastic and emphatically true, and they helped change the perception of trap in an age where audiences weren’t as comfortable as they are now. It’s a testament to the complexity of 2022 that we can talk about them in the past tense while mourning the loss of Takeoff, member the 28-year-old who was shot and killed this week in Houston.

It was a family group: Quavo is Offset’s cousin and Takeoff’s uncle. They had people who grew up together, and the dispute was reported in Offset’s recent lawsuit against the record label Quality Control Music over the ownership of his personal catalog (written by Quavo and Takeoff dropping the album Unc & Phew. Exclusively for Infinity Links without him) doesn’t seem like it could go on forever. These were the guys who saw each other on vacation. “His mom took care of everything, and so did we,” Quavo recalled in 2013 Fader interview. “We always lived in the same house.” Rap was Takeoff’s idea. Art took life; Migo was the glue that held the band together, the one that held the music together with the fulcrum Quavo’s hook-man/front-man tendencies and offset laser focus on getting you interested with his understanding of the false syllables he settled on. Take off can do all of that or play on the field while you show. Most of his great verses are near the tail end of a long song. (That’s why it didn’t make sense that he was left out on “Bad and Boujee.”) He went second to last on Drake’s “Trophies” remix and melted it: “When I hit the ground, I’m gonna jump in Zonda / Smoking good Mexican weed, name it Kitana / Tryna get me Rihanna.” It’s Takeoff’s place on Culture Album bruiser “Deadz” that drives the woodwork home, its good timing and the lyrics: “Niggas talking, hating, plotting, waiting / They want my ice, tell ’em come get it / Did the people tell me I can’t / Now I’m doin’ a show foreign countries.” They put him on a tree and broke him. On “All the Best,” from 2014 Time for Rich Nigga Mixtape, Takeoff lamented that he’d bring up a troubled man who’s “Talkin’ ’bout me doin’ Macaulay Culkin ’cause he’s home alone.” Elsewhere, he decides to take her to Miami and keep her by his side like a tommy gun, leaning outside. Scarface something and the opposite of it is humor.

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It was brilliant stuff, an undeniable testament to refined artistry, but it surprised many who came to music in search of a well-known compass. A song like “Contraband” – “Narcotic, narcotic, narcotic” – offends a certain type, people who listen to rap music hear how it will be received by the other two ears, who worry that they can distinguish between real violence and intentional. . During the tournament, Takeoff laughs at hitting pots like Bernard Hopkins, Winky Wright, Adrien Broner, or Mike Tyson sold bad ideas to the buff fans. If you think that music should be a work of sending positive messages, you have a problem with the story of gangs because it doesn’t tell you that selling drugs can be a terrible job. Migos’ music introduced you to the spoils and challenges life can bring but leaves you to your own devices as the music video portrays its hero with bad morals, and a lack of options. Culture“Brown Paper Bag” goes there: “Don’t look back on the past, sip slow and sit fast / I was first but I swore I started last / I was born empty but the smoker knew I had it. to take the bag / I was raised and my mother, so that nigga never had a father.”

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These are method makers, not models – arrests, disputes, and civil suits made them a tough sell. But black artists have a license to tell serious stories without catering to young audiences, to tackle adult themes in art that is meant for mature audiences. We can implore musicians to be more careful about the messages they promote. We can’t ask them to educate everyone who listens, and we have to have more to offer our vulnerable fans than a cold and polite distance. Rappers are in danger when gun violence takes over Takeoff in a dice game, and Young Dolph is shot and killed after going to a cake shop, and Trouble can’t rest at home undisturbed. And if we take these tragedies, along with the death of PnB Rock and Pop Smoke, as proof of the lack of life at the heart of the hip-hop community, we serve to artists who are less interested in culture than they can be. use it to cause pathologies and kill black youth and their interests. Turning violence in hip-hop into a story about dispossessed rights, using rap music as a source of global threat and terrorism rather than as a megaphone for exacerbating pre-existing conflicts and divisions, speaks volumes for those interested in the security of people but don’t care about the future of hip-hop as a lifestyle that prevents crime by keeping musicians out of business, and blocking black youth from incredible job opportunities is not the answer to the problem of drug addicts who don’t have the right environment and influences.

You have the right to listen to the most uplifting music during this difficult time, to ask artists to cool down their anger in their music videos and social media posts. But we can’t control this art, beyond the thread of desire in the rapper’s work to show the dirty things he does or talks about. (Yes, Takeoff shows Draco Culture“T-Shirt”. He also touches on religion and social work: “I feed my family, nigga, there’s no way around it / I can’t, nigga, God told me to show my talent.”) This problem seems to be bigger than hip-hop. In an environment of growing economic disparity and gang violence and mass murder, where even a shooting won’t motivate our leadership to enact gun reform laws, it’s foolish to ask 20 musicians to do us a favor that our elected officials can’t help but show. . That is the secret of inertia.

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Seeing Takeoff’s loss as an injury to the violent rap chickens that come home to rouse, distorts the image of who he was, which is clearly visible in the giddy songs and recent family memories of Takeoff and Offset like “Two Infinity Links”: “Before the cake, before we hit the stage, we split the buns / 5:30, mother’s house, we were all boys / 85 NAWF where we all come from.” They are sure that they will spend the rest of their lives sharing these experiences. It is not surprising that Migos met with misfortune, this group that brought a happy time and three infectious tours on the charts, and forced the listeners of good weather and brave rap to appreciate this art. Departure will be missed. One of rap’s big three will never be the same. But among the many notes he left behind, Takeoff still shines, green diamonds all around his neck, looking like the Riddler. We just have to ask him there now.


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