ATLANTA — Family, friends, and fans gathered Friday to remember the life of Takeoff, a member of the famous hip hop and group Migos. The music artist, whose real name is Kirsnick Khari Ball, was tragically shot and killed in Houston last week.
11Alive's Neima Abdulahi sat down with the VP of Music Programming for Pandora to have an in-depth conversation about the star's life and legacy of Takeoff. Joshua "J1" Raiford has worked in the Atlanta music market for decades and has had a front row seat to not only witness the success of Migos, but the skillset and impact of 28-year-old Takeoff.
“I remember meeting him and Quavo in 2012,” Raiford said. “He was a humble kid and his talent was undeniable. Even if you listened to those early mixtapes, his voice always broke through the tracks.”
As tributes pour in nationwide, the music industry and Atlanta community is honoring Takeoff’s contribution to the hip-hop industry and how his laid back personality resonated with his fanbase.
“I think Takeoff was just the most relatable. Quavo and Offset have larger than life personalities. And then, you have Takeoff whose in his own world. That’s what made him the most relatable Migo,” Raiford said.
During the conversation, Raiford talked about the movement “Black Men Deserve To Grow Old," which was started by the late rapper Young Dolph’s widow Mia Jaye in Memphis, Tenn. Dolph was shot and killed in his hometown of Memphis about a year ago. The tragedy led to many conversations that are resurfacing now in light of Takeoff’s death.
“There are so many obstacles that we [Black men] face on a daily basis, whether its due to gun violence, police violence, and being profiled. A lot of us don’t get passed the age of 50. We do deserve to grow old like everybody else. We do deserve to see our children get old. And our grandchildren,” Raiford said.
The service at State Farm Arena had the family members and close friends of Takeoff present, as they honored his life in front of a packed venue.
“We’re always going to remember him through his music and his legacy. But we also have to remember this was somebody’s son. This was somebody’s brother. Somebody’s nephew. Somebody’s friend,” Raiford said.