Takeoff, the youngest and most reclusive member of Migos, one of the most influential rap groups in decades, was killed early Tuesday morning, according to TMZ. He was just 28.
He allegedly died in a shooting that took place around 2:30 a.m. at a Houston-area bowling alley called 810 Billiards & Bowling, where a group of 40 to 50 people were having a private party. When authorities arrived at the scene around 2:40 a.m., they reportedly found the crowd surrounding a man with a gunshot wound to the head or neck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Houston Police have not named the victim until his family is able to identify the body, but public information officer John Cannon did confirm to Gawker that Migos members Quavo and Takeoff were in attendance. TMZ, which obtained footage from the night, reported that Takeoff appeared to have been shot. Two other men were also injured, and taken in private cars to hospitals nearby. HPD had no updates on their conditions, but Page Six reported that Quavo, Takeoff’s 31-year-old uncle, was unharmed.
“There was a party going on that was attended by some rap artists, but they don’t even know if the artists were involved in the shooting or not,” Cannon told Gawker. “The homicide detective got asked ‘Well, can you tell us if Migos was one of those groups of members?’ And he said, ‘Yes, it’s our understanding that Migos was one of those groups that was inside this private party.’ But whether or not one of them was involved in the shooting, we just don’t know.”
When the news broke early Tuesday morning, a Twitter user @rugsbycarpe posted what appeared to be texts from someone on the scene, alongside a photo seemingly taken that night. The texts alleged that Quavo had been shooting dice and losing, and that tensions got high enough that a fight had broken out. Takeoff “wasn’t saying a word just chillin in the cut,” one message read, “he didn’t even know what was going on he just jumped up and got shot out of nowhere.” The texts were widely disseminated by 11 a.m. Tuesday, but their authenticity hasn’t been confirmed. RugsByCarpe didn’t respond to a request for comment. (Note: after this post was published, @rugsbycarpe responded, confirming the texts had come from someone at the party).
Takeoff, born Kirshnik Khari Ball, started rapping with Quavo and third Migos member Offset in 2008 in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Originally performing under the name “Polo Club,” they later changed the name to Migos before dropping their debut mixtape, Juug Season, in 2011.
The trio’s 2013 track “Versace” broke them into the mainstream, enabling them to tour with Drake and become one of the most beloved groups in the country. They cemented that status in 2016, when Migos dropped the lead single from their album Culture, the first of what would become a Culture trilogy. That track, “Bad and Boujee” featuring Lil Uzi Vert, became their first top Billboard single and stayed on the charts for weeks. It turned into a phenomenon — partly for the seamless staccato hook “rain drop, drop top,” partly because Takeoff didn’t seem to be on it himself. His conspicuous absence turned into a running gag that Takeoff had been “left off ‘Bad and Boujee.’” When Akademiks asked him about it during an interview in 2017, Takeoff laughed (“Do I look like I’m left off ‘Bad and Boujee’?”) Quavo later claimed they’d rushed the track out and it was just a matter of timing.
Earlier last month, Quavo and Takeoff put out their duo album Only Built for Infinity Links, in an apparent pivot to performing as “Unc & Phew.” The pair later told Rolling Stone’s Andre Gee that Offset was still very much part of Migos, but sorting out some legal issues with the label Quality Control Music. Takeoff had been touring with Quavo in the nights before he died, playing shows in New Orleans and Miami late last week. They put out a music video for their track “Messy” on Monday.