Takeoff of Migos performs onstage at the 2018 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on June 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California / © GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP
The rapper Takeoff, a member of the influential hip-hop trio Migos, was fatally shot Tuesday at a bowling alley in Houston, according to police. He was 28 years old.
Police in the Texas city said they received a call at approximately 2:34 am that a shooting was underway. Takeoff was found dead at the scene, they said.
Two other people were shot and took private vehicles to area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries, according to police.
Officers said the shooting happened following a private party of some 40 people at the bowling alley and that a large group had gathered outside the venue's front door when shots rang out following an argument.
Pop industry news website TMZ, which broke the news early Tuesday, had said fellow Migos member Quavo was also at the bowling alley when the shooting broke out. It did not appear Quavo was injured.
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner told journalists at least two firearms were involved.
He said investigators currently have "no reason to believe" that Takeoff, born Kirshnik Khari Ball, "was involved in anything criminal" at the time of the shooting, or that he was directly targeted.
"Based on what people say about him, he's well-respected, non-violent -- I would not expect him to be involved."
Finner said Takeoff's mother had flown into Houston and that he had spoken to her.
"I want everyone here to understand the pain and suffering of a mother," he said.
- 'Pillar of Atlanta culture' -
The rapper Takeoff, a member of the Grammy-nominated hip hop trio Migos, was fatally shot at a bowling alley in Houston, Texas, on November 1, 2022 / © AFP/File
Both Finner and Houston's mayor urged against "demonizing" the hip hop community over the tragedy.
"We all need to stand together and make sure nobody tears down that industry," the police chief said. "Sometimes the hip hop community gets a bad name.... (There are) a lot of great people in our hip hop community, and I respect them."
Hip hop powerhouse Coach K, who manages Migos, issued a statement saying his team was "devastated" by the killing.
"It is with broken hearts and deep sadness that we mourn the loss of our beloved brother," he said, adding that Takeoff was a victim of "senseless violence and a stray bullet."
Tributes rolled in as news spread that a member of one of rap's biggest contemporary acts had died.
"This broke my heart," posted Gucci Mane, a fellow Atlanta rapper who had collaborated with Migos.
"No hot takes. No profound thoughts. Just sad that another rapper, son, brother, and friend has been killed," said Houston rapper Lecrae.
The NBA Atlanta Hawks basketball team also voiced condolences, calling Takeoff a "pillar of Atlanta culture."
- 'Bad and Boujee' -
Migos (Quavo, Offset and Takeoff) arrive for the Savage X Fenty Show Presented By Amazon Prime Video at Barclays Center on September 10, 2019 in Brooklyn, New York / © AFP/File
Born in Lawrenceville, Georgia on June 18, 1994, Takeoff was best known for his membership in Migos along with Quavo, his uncle, and Offset, his cousin who is married to fellow rapper Cardi B.
"Growing up, I was trying to make it in music. I was grinding, which is just what I loved doing," Takeoff said in a 2017 interview with The Fader. "Just making something and creating for me."
"I was getting my own pleasure out of it, because it's what I liked doing. I'd wait for Quavo to get back from football practice and I'd play my songs for him."
The Atlanta-based Migos soared to prominence off their viral 2013 song "Versace," which Drake remixed.
The trio later recorded "Walk It Talk It" with the Canadian superstar rapper.
It was 2016's hit "Bad and Boujee" that first saw them hit number one, a song emblematic of their signature flow, a unique cadence of staccato lyrical bursts in triplet rhythm.
The smash has been streamed 1.5 billion times in the United States alone.
- 'Culture' trilogy -
Quavo, Takeoff and Offset of Migos arrive for the 2018 Met Gala on May 7, 2018, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York / © AFP/File
The trio is considered widely influential in bringing contemporary Southern trap, a popular rap sub-genre, to the mainstream.
Following their debut album "Yung Rich Nation" in 2015, they debuted atop the Billboard top albums chart with their sophomore effort "Culture" in 2017.
They followed up a year later with "Culture II," once again hitting the top spot.
In 2021, they completed the trilogy with "Culture III."
Migos also played fictionalized versions of themselves on the hit Donald Glover show "Atlanta."
Quavo and Takeoff, who recently have been performing as a duo, had just released a new music video for the track "Messy."
Takeoff was considered the most reserved member of the group, but his fellow rappers routinely heralded him as a singular talent.
"My thing was rapping. I knew I was gonna be who I was," Takeoff told the music magazine. "You couldn't tell me I wasn't going to be who I was."
"I knew I was going to be here."