Here we are again. Different day, same sad story. Less than 24 hours after writing a review where I noted a rapper had every right to be paranoid given how many young black men in entertainment are cut down in their prime, hip-hop has been struck by another tragedy. Takeoff, real name Kirshnik Khari Ball, was shot at a bowling alley in Houston on the morning of November 1st. Takeoff’s uncle Quavo (Quavious Keyate Marshall) was also there but was not injured. They along with Offset are collectively the rap group known worldwide as Migos. The video for Quavo and Takeoff’s single “Messy” had just debuted worldwide yesterday.

According to TMZ, Quavo and Takeoff were playing dice at 810 Billiards & Bowling when some sort of altercation broke out around 2:30 AM local time before shots were fired. Two other people were also injured and taken to the hospital as a result and their condition is unknown as of the publication of this article. Takeoff was not transported to the hospital as he was pronounced dead on the scene when help arrived. Approximately 40-50 people were reported to have been on the scene at what was apparently a private after hours event. It’s either miraculous that more people weren’t hurt or a sad indication that Takeoff was the target all along for whatever reason.

It’s hard to overstate the impact of Migos over the last 15 years, and how their success as a group led to not only success for each of the members individually but a resurgence of the rap scene in and around Atlanta, Georgia. They were the forefront of a new wave of artists with a completely different sound, style and swagger from the generation before. The group’s artists are a fixture of music videos and musical collaborations with people locally and nationally. It’s fair to say if you couldn’t make a hit on your own having Offset, Quavo or Takeoff on your video meant their fans would support you too. They were in demand for collaborations even with established acts. Collectively or individually Migos were hip-hop superstars.

Obviously the future of the group is now up in the air. It’s hard to imagine them continuing without Takeoff as he wasn’t just one-third of the group but family, and you can’t just replace family. There’s no question Quavo and Offset could reform as a duo or continue to do collaborations with other artists, but will their heart even be in it to do so? If I’m Offset I can’t imagine losing my cousin that way, and if I’m Quavo I can’t imagine losing my nephew that way. My heart breaks for everyone involved. Nothing ever seems to change though. No matter how many times I write this story, this shit happens again.