Houston officials vowed to solve the murder of rapper Takeoff, with the Atlanta police chief calling the 28-year-old a “peaceful” man and urging any witnesses to the shooting to come forward.
Police found the rapper, part of the multi-platinum hip-hop trio Migos, at a bowling alley and pool hall where a private party was being held early Tuesday. A 911 call received at 2:34 a.m. reported a shooting in progress, and Takeoff was dead at the scene when officers arrived, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said. There were about 40 people at the event, many of whom left “possibly out of fear,” he said.
A 23-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman were also injured and taken by private vehicles to the hospital where they were treated for non-life-threatening injuries, Sgt. Michael Arrington of the homicide division told reporters. He did not elaborate on the type of injuries.
Employees told police an argument broke out after the party and a large group of people gathered outside the front door, leading to the shooting, Finner said.
“A lot of people who were there fled the scene and didn’t stay to make a statement,” Arrington said. “All we can hope for is that you all come forward and give us evidence to solve Takeoff’s death.”
Researchers face the challenge of an anti-snitch culture that many hip-hop artists have long embraced. Takeoff’s uncle and bandmate Quavo appeared on Pop Smoke’s posthumous 2020 song “Snitching”, which reported “rats” and talking to the police. Pop Smoke was fatally shot in Los Angeles months before the song was released.
Finner was clear, however, that investigators do not believe Takeoff was “involved in anything criminal at that time,” he said.
“I got a lot of calls from Houston and outside of Houston, and everybody talked about what a great young man he is, how peaceful he is, what a great artist (he is),” the chief said, adding that Takeoff was well-respected and non violent .
He warned not to blame the hip-hop community, asking its inhabitants to “be united”. Finner would also like to “meet with some of our artists and see how we can narrow things down,” he said.
Mayor Sylvester Turner issued a similar plea: “If you have any information, for members of the hip-hop community, for those who were there last night, please provide that information to HPD.”
It doesn’t matter how famous a victim is, Turner said. A life is a life, and friends and family will grieve regardless of the victim’s status in society, he said, promising that Houston officials would find the person or people responsible for the rhymer’s murder.
“We will solve this particular case. We will find the shooter or shooters, but the information provided will help speed it up,” he said.
News of Takeoff’s death came as a blow to the hip-hop community, which was still reeling from the fatal shooting of rapper PnB Rock in September. Rapper Ja Rule tweeted: “This shit needs to stop,” while fellow rap star Lecrae wrote: “No catch. No deep thoughts. Sad that another rapper, son, brother and friend has been killed. God be with all those who feel the loss.”
Born in Lawrenceville, Georgia, Takeoff began performing with Quavo and another relative, Offset, in 2008, and the trio had success with their 2013 single, “Versace.” Three years later, their track “Bad and Boujee” featuring Lil Uzi Vert thrust them into the international spotlight.
Migos now has four studio albums, two of which have gone platinum, along with a handful of solo projects and more than a dozen mixtapes to their name. Takeoff’s 2018 solo effort “The Last Rocket” reached no. 4 in the US charts.
Takeoff and Quavo had recently announced that they will perform under the moniker Unc & Phew, and their first album, “Only Built for Infinity Links,” came out last month, and Billboard reported that it had reached No. 1. 1 on the charts of rap
Hours before he was killed, Takeoff tweeted the video to the single “Messy,” off the project. On the track, Takeoff rhymes, “I wanna know my moves and all my spots, but I move smart/I wanna know my stash, how much I got, but I won’t tell ’em.”
Last month, he and Quavo appeared on the “Drink Champs” podcast, and in response to praise for his lyrics on “Infinity Links,” Takeoff told listeners, “It’s time to do it, you know what I mean? It’s time to give me my flowers, you know what I mean? I don’t want them later when I’m not here. I want them right now, so—”