Takeoff has died in a shooting in Houston at the age of 28

Takeoff of Migos performing at Parklife Festival in September 2021
In incredibly shocking and tragic news, Takeoff, one of the three members of Migos, was shot and killed very early yesterday morning. Takeoff, whose given name was Kirshnik Ball, was just 28-years-old. He and his uncle/fellow Migos member Quavo had attended a private party at a pool hall and bowling alley in downtown Houston. There was some sort of disagreement and shots were fired. Takeoff was shot in the head and died at the scene before help arrived.

The rapper known as Takeoff, a subtle vocal technician and one-third of the chart-topping group Migos, whose singsong flow helped define Atlanta’s ever-evolving, influential rap sound, was shot and killed overnight outside a Houston bowling alley, the authorities said. He was 28.

Chief Troy Finner of the Houston Police Department confirmed the rapper’s death at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon. A 24-year-old woman and a 23-year-old man were taken to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries, the police said.

The police said the shooting occurred after a private party had ended at 810 Billiards & Bowling, as a large group of about 40 people gathered near the front door on the third level. An argument ensued and shots were fired from at least two weapons, they said, leading to many people fleeing.

“We have no reason to believe that he was involved in anything criminal at the time,” Chief Finner said of Takeoff.

No suspects have been arrested, the authorities said, and they requested that any witnesses who left the scene come forward with additional information.

“Sometimes the hip-hop community gets a bad name,” Chief Finner said. “I’m calling up on everybody — our hip-hop artists in Houston and around the nation — we’ve got to police ourselves. There are so many talented individuals, men and women, in that community, who again I love and I respect, and we all need to stand together and make sure no one tears down that industry.”

[From The New York Times]

This is really awful. Takeoff was so young and what should have just been a normal night out ended in fatal violence. Quavo must be absolutely devastated that his nephew died right in front of him and he couldn’t help him. Though Migos seemed over with Offset’s solo efforts and lawsuit against their label, Takeoff and Quavo were continuing on as they originally started years ago — as a duo, Unc & Phew. Takeoff had the lowest profile of the Migos guys, which was by design. He was described as quiet and reserved and generally eschewing celebrity. He deserves a lot of the credit for Migos’ sound and success. Takeoff was the driving force behind the group, shaped their sound, and his talent drew the attention of music execs in their early days.

It’s unclear what exactly led to the shooting, but the police chief said they don’t believe Takeoff was involved in anything criminal. Shots were fired from two guns, two other individuals were injured, but the shooter got away and authorities are asking any witnesses with information to come forward. I wonder if the person who filmed and sold it to TMZ knows anything? I’m not going to link to the TMZ or Page Six coverage (suggest reading the NY Times obituary instead) because it includes exploitative, insufficiently blurred photo/video of Takeoff’s body on the ground and Quavo leaning over him. I didn’t watch the video, but the articles say that Quavo was holding his nephew and calling for help. This is heartbreaking and I hope they find the person that did it.

As an aside, I appreciate what the Houston police chief said about the hip-hop community and not tearing down that industry. A lot of young rappers have died or been killed in the past few years and after the initial rush of reporting, there’s often an offensive undercurrent of blame. So I’m glad he said something in his press conference to head that off, although it probably won’t help.

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Photos credit: Seth Browarnik/startraksphoto.com, Xavier Collin/Image Press Agency/Image Press Agency/Avalon and Getty

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21 Responses to “Takeoff has died in a shooting in Houston at the age of 28”

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  1. Snuffles says:

    This is just so sad. I’m not a Migos fan but this trend of young rappers getting killed over stupid stuff is bothering me.

    Like you said, Takeoff wasn’t involved in any dangerous activities as far as we know, he was low key, minding his business. PnB rock was just out having dinner with his girlfriend. Pop Smoke was in his house. Nipsey Hussle was at his store. Young Adolph was at a bakery. All innocuous things.

    I dunno. I recall another rapper saying that these young rappers need to leave their hometowns and change how they operate because success breeds jealousy. Be careful who you have around you. Who you trust. Don’t announce on social media where you are while you are still there.

    The after effects of Takeoff’s death is going to be messy. Twitter is already trying to drag Cardi into this. Talking about beefs between Offset and the other Migos members. But at the end of the day, the Migos are family (literally), and everyone is hurting right now.

    • Haylie says:

      Deranged fans are always looking for a woman to blame, so of course, it’s Cardi. They also accused PnB Rock’s girlfriend of setting him up for murder.

      Way back in the day, Biggie had a whole song about how the people you used to hang with before blowing up would be the first ones trying to come for you due to jealousy and resentment.

  2. sunny says:

    This is really really awful. A big loss for music as Migos’ style has influenced rap over the last several years and an even bigger loss for this man’s family. In particular, I can’t imagine how Quevo is feeling right now.

    It was appalling how many people were sharing that video on the internet yesterday.

  3. goofpuff says:

    The word on the Houston street is that there was an argument between Quavo and someone else. Takeoff was not involved. Someone drew a weapon and fired a warning shot, the bullet ricochet killed Takeoff by accident. It could possibly have been friendly fire ricochet.

    • terra says:

      My best friend is a member of the Houston hip-hop community (which is much bigger than most would likely think), so it’s rather odd to here it called out in national news. I was always hoping if it was, it would be because one of their songs started getting some traction, not because of something so tragic and senseless.

  4. Stacey Dresden says:

    I’m sure the other two are traumatized. Quavo is somehow Takeoff’s uncle, aside from pretty obviously being best friends and business partners. What a scary event also, can’t even go bowling without guns being fired in this day and age. Takeoff was my favorite Migo. I liked his deep voice. 28 years old!

    • Noki says:

      Yeah Quavos big sister is Takeoffs Mother, so although only three years difference he is infact his uncle which was rather sweet.

  5. Sakura says:

    It’s been a very sad last couple of days here in Atlanta. No words.

  6. Roo says:

    My teen introduced me to Migos when they first came out. I liked their music and appreciated their creativity and talent. Takeoff left us too soon. It’s tragic.

  7. Boxy Lady says:

    You know, I was listening to some old school rap over the weekend. This past Sunday was the 20th anniversary of the shooting death of Run DMC’s Jam Master Jay. It seems like no era of rap is safe from this and that just f*cking sucks. It shouldn’t be like that and it shouldn’t ever have been like that.

  8. Nlopez says:

    This is tragic . A young Black man lost his life for no reason. I didn’t watch the gory videos either. Shame on the people who filmed man dying instead of calling 911 and trying to help!

  9. Sakura says:

    I did see the video(it was plastered EVERYWHERE), and I feel so much pain for Quavo. He just looked totally lost in the moment and didn’t know what to do- your literal family dying right in front of you. Traumatic doesn’t begin to describe.

  10. Emily_C says:

    I know nothing about hip-hop, but this is so sad. All the rappers being killed again like the 90s — it’s horrible. What the hell’s going on?

  11. Cee says:

    Something needs to be done about TMZ and Page Six lack of decorum, empathy and downright civility.

    RIP Takeoff and wish strength for his family and friends during this time.

  12. Lucía says:

    I saw the video (not by choice). It’s probably one of the most horrific things I’ve ever seen. Apparently a young woman who was at the spot is a nurse and tried to aid him but with no luck. And I don’t even want to think about how Quavo must be feeling right now.

  13. tealily says:

    I can’t believe he was only 28. So young! I feel sick about this. I’m so tired of this violence.

  14. Luna17 says:

    I’m not familiar with the rap community but this is really sad and I feel like almost weekly i see stories about a young rapper being shot and killed somewhere. What is going on in that community? I hate this gun violence and I know guns are sometimes part of that scene but this is out of control. I hope the victims get justice and things turn around.

  15. BB says:

    RIP Takeoff.
    This is so shoking and sad.

  16. jferber says:

    I am so furious about this. Why guns????? Quavo was in a heated discussion with someone with Takeoff standing nearby. It was reported that Quavo toward the end was trying to be conciliatory and leave. Then some asshole took out his gun and started shooting, hitting Takeoff in the head, and leaving him to die at the age of 28. Too many guns, too many conflicts that end up in violent insanity. I’d class Mr. Pelosi’s life-threatening assault in a similar class, except there was no argument, just a crazy Quanon mofo hitting Mr. Pelosi with a hammer AS THE POLICE STOOD BY WATCHING. I GUARANTEE you, had that been a black man with a hammer, he’d have been shot the second the police saw him. I don’t know where I’m going with this, but too many weapons, too much hate, too many lies, and too much willingness to “settle” things through killing/maiming other people. ENOUGH. MORE THAN ENOUGH. Rest in peace, Takeoff. Heal well, Mr. Pelosi. And give poor Mr. Pelosi gov. protection. God knows that piece of shit trump got it for his orange-adjacents and charged the gov. a FORTUNE for them to stay in his high-price hotels. For God’s sake.

  17. adri3nne92 says:

    This one really hit me. I’m only a couple years older than Takeoff and listened to Migos as they were blowing up throughout my 20s and he always seemed like such a lowkey, friendly and talented guy. It’s just such a shock. What a loss, RIP Takeoff.

  18. jferber says:

    adri3nne92, Yes, I agree. He was the most low-key of the three in Migos. I’d known of Offset because he does this great fashion show The Hype and because of Cardi B and all his kids, I knew of Quavo because of his love life: Saweetie, Karrueche Tran (maybe just friends) and because of his back and forth with Offset. But Takeoff was so modest and just seemed to do the work he loved with Migos and had no drama. So just as a bystander some lunatic takes out a gun over nothing, an argument involving Quavo, and shoots into the crowd. I am very sad for him. So sad. I’m also very sad for Quavo because he DID NOT CAUSE THIS but he will feel great guilt over, “What if I’d . . . instead of . . .” I’m sad for Offset for losing his cousin and for Quavo for losing his nephew. Rest in peace, King.