LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — The shooting death of rapper TakeOff, of the internationally acclaimed family trio Migos, has fans and friends reeling worldwide, and especially in Lawrenceville, their hometown.
“Everyone is extremely devastated,” said Lore’l from The Morning Hustle, a nationally-syndicated radio program on Atlanta’s Hot 107.9, in an interview with 11Alive. "I mean, we've seen a lot of other young rappers also lose their lives recently. It's just something about TakeOff that has really hit everyone hard.”
Lore’l attended what would end up being one of the final performances of Migos. It was on Oct. 4, at a private event in Atlanta.
That night she recorded cell phone video of the group on stage, and stood with them for photos which, to her now, are priceless keepsakes.
“Migos literally shaped and changed the sound of hip hop music,” Lore’l said Tuesday. “TakeOff was such an important part of the group. I mean, one part--one third--of the biggest group that, up to date, we’ve seen in my lifetime....” She struggled to find the words, in her grief. “I just can’t even, I can’t even imagine.”
An Instagram page from Brian Valmond (_valtown), which showcases historical photos, posted a 2003 picture of TakeOff and his uncle, Quavo, as children. The two would go on to form Migos along with TakeOff's cousin, Offset.
Their roots remained in Lawrenceville and Athens, where residents, who followed their career with excitement and pride, are now heartbroken.
“I love you, TakeOff, I hope you rest in peace,” said one fan, Yolanda Yarbrough, “and I wish that I could wake up and it was just, it was a dream.”
“I literally watched them change music,” said another fan, who spoke of growing up with TakeOff and his family, and who is also in the entertainment business in metro Atlanta, going by the stage name, “Derrty Ramone.”
“He (TakeOff) is a lot of people’s favorite, just his delivery, his cadence, the adlibs, the punchlines," Ramone said. "Their music meant a lot to a lot of people. It’s sad, man, it’s sad for sure, for sure.”
All day and into the night, radio listeners called V-103 in Atlanta sharing, on air, how much Migos and TakeOff meant to them. One caller after another said Atlanta is Migos and Migos is Atlanta, and described how proud the city is of the world-wide acclaim the group has earned.
“I mean, the whole movement, the culture movement, everything that they had going on from the beginning really just took the whole world by storm,” said V-103’s Greg Street, speaking with 11Alive, “just a whole movement when it comes to fashion, the way they move, different things that they participated in in the community. And they're like a really close knit family. And this whole movement that these boys were able to create at a very young age was really like a phenomenon.”
In the callers' voices was profound sadness, and also anger that another artist was taken too soon in a world of violent crime.
“We can’t let him die in vain,” Street added. “How many more losses are we going to have to take when it comes to senseless violence? I mean, everybody just seemed like—it has to stop, the violence, the disagreements, people not being grown, and having a conversation about their differences” and disagreements.
“They are Atlanta, they represent Atlanta,” Lore’l said of Migos. “They've helped schools, they've helped kids. They've done so many things that were positive. They've helped other artists, other aspiring artists in the city, from the city of Atlanta. And they've definitely made their mark in Atlanta and made sure they always given back. And TakeOff was always a big part of that, and they never left where they came from.”