Takeoff Memorial: Drake and Justin Bieber Among VIPs Celebrating Rapper’s Life

Takeoff Memorial: Drake and Justin Bieber Among VIPs Celebrating Rapper’s Life


The State Farm Arena was transformed into a church on Friday as families and fans gathered to celebrate the earthly departure. Takeoff from Migos.

The three-hour farewell was a superstar affair, with performances by Justin Bieber, Chloe Bailey and Yolanda Adams, as well as a poem by Drake and tributes from Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and the founders of Migos’ label, Quality Control Music. .

Cousin Offset, who formed the platinum hit factory known as Migos with Takeoff’s uncle, Quavo, struggled to compose himself while remembering his bandmate, whom he grew up with and considered a brother. With her head bowed, dreadlocks obscuring her face, she apologized repeatedly.

“I love you, dog. I love you,” he said.

Unable to sleep or eat following offset November 1 murder, he told the several thousand people in attendance, most of them dressed in black. Every time he falls asleep, he said, he wakes up hoping the news of the fatal shooting of his 28-year-old cousin in Houston was a terrible dream.

“I wish I could smile again,” he said. “I wish I could smoke with you.”

He closed by saying how Migos changed the future of music – “You did it, take it” – and called for more brotherhood and fellowship in the world before asking the crowd to pray with him.

The program started with about an hour of gospel music. White roses covered the stage and Takeoff’s casket was shaped like a mother of pearl at the foot of the stairs. Acrobats in angelic costumes danced in the back corner, dangling from white ribbons as a choir sang. An infinity symbol with the symbol of a rocket on takeoff painted in its center is not only for his latest production but also how he will be remembered – forever.

Bieber took the stage in a black toboggan as box candles on the stadium screen bathed the stage floor in a soft glow. Sitting on a stool supported only by a piano, the two-time Grammy winner performed “Ghost.”

“And if you can’t be by my side/Your memory is bliss/I miss you more than life itself”

Drake, who catapulted the rising stars into another universe entirely in 2013 when he remixed and added a verse to their hit “Verses,” leaned toward British entertainer Joyce Grenfell and author Maya Angelou in his praise.

He quotes from Grenfell: “If I go before the rest of you / Break not a flower or carve a stone / Nor speak in a Sunday voice when I’m gone / But be my familiar self.”

Then he explained Angelo’s poem “When Great Trees Fall,” how it’s understandable to feel sad when great trees are cut down, or when great souls are gone, but it’s wise to remember, “They existed. They exist / We can be. Be and be good/Because they existed.”

The hip-hop superstar who just released an album with 21 Savage then recited his own poem, “We Should Do That More,” recalling how he got to know Migos on their 54-city tour in 2018. He wept as he recalled the Swiss wristwatch, an Audemars Piguet, that Takeoff gave him as a gift.

“I miss performing with my brothers,” he said. “We should do more of this.”

Takeoff will always be remembered as the quiet Migo. But several speakers warned the crowd not to mistake its silence for a lack of speech. He is considered by many to be the best rhymer of the trio, and Jesse Carney III, pastor of Takeoff’s family at Lilburn Church, shared a story that Quavo once told him about Takeoff’s sobriquet.

Where Quavo and Offset needed multiple takes to get their verses on track, retaking and retaking until they got it right, Takeoff – the youngest of the three – would walk up to the mic and lay down his lyrics in one perfect take. “He was an introvert,” the pastor said, “but he trusted God” not to slip.

From left, Takeoff, Quavo and Migos' Offset performed in Los Angeles last year.

Between Bailey’s stirring rendition of Beyoncé’s “Heaven” and Adams’ gospel song, “The War Is Not Yours,” Takeoff’s family members took the podium to offer fond memories of the humble, wise, peaceful young man who always wanted to be a rapper but never bothered with credit or the spotlight. didn’t happen Even as a child, he had a unique voice, his mother, Titania Davenport-Treet, said.

“I could tell her cry from any other baby,” she said, adding that God must have given her that voice because she always knew what she wanted to be.

He was quiet but always attentive, family members said, and he never bothered anyone. He was the funniest guy in the room, and no matter how famous he got, he never stopped putting family first and making sure their needs were met, they said.

“He hugged so tightly, you could feel the love moving through him,” his mother said.

State Farm was the perfect place to take off. The rapper was often courtside – usually with Quavo and Offset – for Atlanta Hawks games, iced out and dripping. Over the years, his music has blared through the PA system during timeouts and replay reviews.

Although the gates didn’t open until noon, fans began lining up outside the arena around 8:30 a.m. despite the cold, steady drizzle. Around 10 p.m., a woman jumped out of a silver Mazda by the arm and said, “Rest in peace, Takeoff.” Fans in line turned away.

Calandrick Woods, 24, and girlfriend Kylie Allen, 20, were second in line in Covington. Woods took the day off as a sandblast machine operator and they drove about 45 minutes to downtown.

When asked about his favorite song — “Last Memory” — from Takeoff’s first solo effort of 2018, Woods became dejected — and said it’s still hard to talk about his beloved Migo. He cried after hearing this news.

“I’m still disappointed about it,” he said.

Woods likes being known for keeping the takeoff to himself, but by no means does that mean he’s the lesser third of the group. With each new song, he evolved further as a songwriter, able to switch from rapid-fire raps to deliberate three- or four-word bursts that paint vivid scenes. He displayed lyrical enigma on 2014’s “Cross the Country” and more recently on his and Quavo’s “Integration,” keeping the metronome beat as he flips styles on the track.

“Deadshot (brrt)/AK make that head rock (brrt)” is the start of Fifi Solomon’s favorite takeoff verse, even if he had to think about it for a few seconds. From Migos’ 2017 hit, “Slippery,” Takeoff ends – following Quavo, Offset and fellow ATLien Gucci Mane – and brings his band’s Quentin Tarantinoesque cartel personae into graphic focus.

“He said a lot in a few words,” Solomon said. “He was the quietest, but I think he was the deepest songwriter.”

Solomon, 25, and his friend, Nani Kiden, 28, traveled from Gwinnett County, the onetime home base of Migos, for the funeral. The band’s influence reaches beyond Atlanta, they said. They were trendsetters in fashion and influenced the way rappers inject ad-libs into their music.

They also set an example with their work ethic, Kidden said. Takeoff will be sorely missed, he said.

“I’m a big fan,” Solomon said. “He was my favorite lyrically out of the group, and he’s where I’m from so it hurt even more.”

“It hit close to home for Gwyneth,” Kidden added.

Maliah Tindall, 22, of Riverdale, and Sequoia Thomas, 20, of Atlanta, cited Takeoff’s “slippery” verse as one of their favorites. The pair drove from Clayton State University, about 30 minutes away, to pay their respects.

“He’s huge for culture,” Thomas said before the funeral. “They paved the way for a lot of rappers that are going to be here today.”

“He was quiet but made a big impact,” Tyndall said, prompting Thomas to add, “like a tame lion.”

Migos was a feature of Tyndall and Thomas’ adolescence, they said, and he didn’t always get the recognition he deserved, but he showed on every track.

“He would take over people’s songs outside of Migos,” Thomas said of his features with other artists including Lil Wayne, Roddy Rich and Travis Scott.

Takeoff seemed aware of his notoriety as the submissive Migo, but the Lawrenceville-born rap star also seems ready to shake off the fame, telling the podcast “Drink Champs” last month, “It’s time to pop, you know what I mean? It’s time for me to give flowers.” , you know what I mean? I don’t want them when I’m not here. I want them now, so …”

After more than a dozen Migos mixtapes and four studio albums — two of them platinum — Takeoff and Quavo recently announced they’d be performing as Unc & Phew. Last month, the pair released the “Only Built for Infinity Links” with offset noticeably absent. Although the band never officially broke up, there were rumors of some sort of beef between the trio.

It was abundantly clear from Friday’s recollection that Offset would give much to speak with his cousin one more time. Migos fans are hopeful that Takeoff’s tragic killing may help Quavo and Offset rethink whatever they’ve been going in different directions for.

“I hope they can put their differences aside,” Solomon told CNN. “You know, come together for takeoff.”

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