The Migos impeccable musicality was the brainchild of Takeoff, who was an ardent student of the rap game and a technician on the microphone.
While Quavo has become a ubiquitous fixture in pop culture for his magnetic flamboyance and Offset has garnered immense popularity because of his high-profile marriage to mega-star Cardi B, the success of the Migos as one of the most legendary groups in hip-hop history was largely spearheaded by Takeoff. His cool and quiet demeanor was the conduit for his unique artistic prowess to emerge.
The Migo's dexterous style, with their use of triplets in their rhyme patterns, innovative syncopation and strategically placed ad-libs have influenced an entire generation of rappers from Atlanta and beyond. The group's impeccable musicality was the brainchild of Takeoff who was an ardent student of the rap game and a technician on the microphone.
“He's always been workin’ on his craft,” Quavo revealed in an interview with Power 106 in 2018. “He just masterminded his craft.”
Because of his staunch determination to make it in the music industry, Takeoff encouraged Quavo, his uncle, and Offset, his cousin, to try their hand at making a name for themselves in Atlanta’s burgeoning hip-hop scene. When the trio first formed, they went by the moniker Polo Club.
“Growing up, I was trying to make it in music. I was grinding, which is just what I loved doing,” he told The Fader in 2017, regarding his love of music and his hunger for success. “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.”
Pierre Thomas, also known as P and one of the co-founders of Quality Control Music, signed the Migos to their first label deal. In an interview with Rap Radar, he explained how Gucci Mane had introduced him to Migos’ music, and how he was mesmerized by Takeoff’s style.
“Gucci sent me the song. He sent me the video. I was like, ‘Man, the dude with the long dreads’ —it was Takeoff—I was like, ‘That dude there is crazy.’ The way he was spitting it reminded me of Bone Thugs, like how they used to be rapping back in the day.”
With Young Rich Nation and Culture trilogy, the Migos have released some of the most hallowed albums of their era. They would go on to become the new standard-bearers of Atlanta hip hop along with Future, Young Thug, T.I., Lil Baby and Gunna. They ascended from an underground group with a cult following into global superstars blazing a path that so many have followed after them.
On November 1st, a senseless act of violence robbed his family, the culture, and the world of Takeoff’s immense talents. One can only imagine what was in store for him as he continued to grow as an artist and a human being. In the most unfortunate manner, he’s just the latest rapper to be taken away in the prime of his young life leaving behind a multitude of unresolved emotions and unanswered questions.
One of the saddest aspects of this tragic moment is that the world was on the cusp of experiencing Takeoff at his best. He seemed to be entering a new creative zone where he was fully embracing all aspects of himself. On his last project, Only Built For Infinity Linx, Takeoff’s dexterous lyricism garnered critical acclaim. He along with Quavo were exploring the new era of the Migos legacy.
In one of his last appearances before his untimely passing, Takeoff spoke candidly about his legacy on Drink Champs.
"Of course, you were shining before but you were dancing on this one... it was your time. It was always your time to prove it. Is that something you had in your mind when you were going in recording?" N.O.R.E. asked.
"Oh, for sure. Enough is enough. I'm chill. I'm laid back. But it's time to give me my flowers, you know what I mean? I don't want them later on when I ain't here," Takeoff emphatically replied.
A senseless act of violence robbed the culture and the world of Takeoff’s immense talents. In a trend that's becoming all too familiar, he’s just the latest rapper to be taken away in the primes of his young life.
Takeoff’s undeniable contributions to hip hop will live on for years to come and we will see to it that his he is never forgotten.