Fans gather for celebration of slain rapper Takeoff

ATLANTA — Fans rallied on Friday to remember slain rapper Takeoff, a member of hip-hop trio Migos, in a rainy downtown Atlanta area near where the 28-year-old grew up.

Takeoff to the music monument

A sign announces Friday’s memorial service for slain rapper Takeoff at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta. He was a member of the hip hop trio Migos. Sudhin Thanawala/Associated Press

The State Farm Arena, home of the Atlanta Hawks, held a memorial service to celebrate the rapper’s life and music, and a giant sign outside the arena was lit with the rapper’s image.

Takeoff, born Kirsnick Khari Ball, was shot and killed outside a Houston bowling alley earlier this month. A woman and another man were also injured in the shooting. No arrests were made.

Jenifer Loving, 22, waited in line with her young son Mateo for more than an hour before the doors opened to fans. She said Takeoff’s death was heartbreaking because he was so young.

Migos’ music represents the creativity and culture of the black community, she said, and she feared the group would be too sad to make new music — at least for a while.

“It’s just something you can play anywhere, and everyone will just come out and come around and dance,” she said. “It brings people together. It just fills the whole room with positivity.”

Eric Hood, an Atlanta firefighter, said he was shocked to learn of Takeoff’s death because the three Migos members were considered the most relaxed.

Migos’ music has been a “way out” for many people, he said, and he hopes the event will leave lasting memories for his family and the rest of the group.

“I’m praying for her,” he said. “I hope they continue to be uplifting, positive, and influential members of society and keep moving forward.”

Free tickets to the memorial service were available to Georgia residents, but the State Farm Arena said well before Friday that the event had reached capacity and fans without tickets should not come downtown.

The venue did not release a program for the event.

The Grammy Award-nominated trio Migos also included Takeoff’s uncle Quavo and cousin Offset. All three were largely raised by Takeoff’s mother in suburban Atlanta.

Migos broke out almost a decade ago with 2013’s hit “Versace,” which was made even more popular by a Drake remix.

Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said the day after the shooting that Takeoff was “well respected” and there was “no reason to believe he was involved in anything criminal at the time.”

Migos’ record label, Quality Control, mourned Takeoff’s death in a statement posted to Instagram, which attributed it to “senseless violence and a stray bullet”. The police said nothing about the shot straying.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, his family has asked for donations to the Rocket Foundation, which was founded in Takeoff’s honor and aims to prevent gun violence, according to its website.

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