In America, you can always recognize when something extremely awful has happened by walking past any government building. Whether it’s the death of a prominent public figure or a horrifying tragedy that has claimed the lives of several people, the flags in front of these buildings do not wave at their usual height. Instead, the flag is half-masted, as it is brought all the way to the top, where it usually sits, and then lowered back down to an odd halfway point. It’s most often interpreted as a sign of distress or deep mourning — two feelings the city of Atlanta has been forced to endure far too often this year.
If there was an official headquarters to physically represent the infamous southern city as the hip-hop capital of the world, the flags there – likely adorned with the logos of 1017, Quality Control, Young Stoner Life, 4PF, Snowman and So So Def – reportedly flying at half mast for most of 2022. Tragedy after tragedy has hit Atlanta over the past six months. Following the slew of controversial arrests and the relentless loss of precious lives, Atlanta’s once sensational hip-hop scene slowly began to decline.
This week, rap fans around the world are mourning the passing of Takeoff, an exceptionally gifted rapper who fused the flashy styles of Quavo and Offset to create one of the most iconic hip-hop trios of all time. Although he was never the loudest or most flashy member of Migos, he was by far the most consistent. On every Migos project, his contributions have never gone unnoticed, from his game-changing cadence and uplifting adlibs to the distinct timbre of his voice and his ever-clever metering. Outside of music, Takeoff was surprisingly quite a captivating person despite his reserved nature, as evidenced by DJ Takeoff’s video that went viral after the release of Quavo. Quavo Huncho solo album, his hilarious “Cap” moment during Migos 2018 breakfast club interview, and his unforgettable “Do I Look Like I’m Left Out ‘Bad and Boujee?” exchange with DJ Akademiks at the 2017 BET Awards.
Born Kirshnik Khari Ball in 1994, Takeoff was just 28 when he was fatally shot in Houston, Texas in the early hours of Tuesday, November 1. rap scene, or simply enjoyed the trio’s long list of hits, Takeoff’s passing really hits hard. He was a rapper who abstained from the scum that plagues the entertainment industry and regularly gave back to his community.
Decades from now, the Hip-Hop community was meant to have the chance to honor Takeoff and his fellow Migos members with well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Awards. Together, the middle-aged trio would remind the world that they changed rap forever during their stint in the 2010s, and perform classic throwbacks like “Versace”, “Hannah Montana”, “Pipe It Up”, “Bad and Boujee”, “Slippery”, “Walk It Talk It”, “Motorsport” and “Straightenin”, among countless other hits. It would have been a nostalgic, entertaining and undoubtedly viral show, but unfortunately, we will never have the opportunity to see this come to fruition.
Due to Takeoff’s passing, fans, friends, and most importantly, his family, have all been robbed of the chance to watch the young superstar grow old. It’s a horrible reality that we all have to come to terms with now. Sadly, this isn’t the first time Atlanta’s hip-hop community has had to deal with such grim circumstances. Atlanta felt pain like this in 2016 when the city lost beloved newcomer Bankroll Fresh and D4L legend Shawty Lo within months. But considering everything that’s happened since spring, no year in recent memory has been more traumatic for the city’s hip-hop scene than 2022.
In April, news broke that Archie Eversole – the artist best known for his timeless Atlanta anthem “We Ready” – had been shot and killed at the age of 37.
About a month after Eversole was pronounced dead, things got even worse. In May, Young Thug, Gunna and several other YSL Records artists – including YSL Duke, Yak Gotti and Thug’s brother, Unfoonk – were named in a sweeping RICO indictment that rocked Atlanta and the entire hip-hop community to their core. . With countless felony charges leveled against the slime tongue crew, many people have already written off the Atlanta label, predicting that they will all likely spend a lot of time behind bars. While it cannot be stressed enough that the prison sentence is incomparable to the finality of death, having one’s life claimed by the criminal justice system usually results in lasting and potentially lifelong repercussions. So, for all intents and purposes, Atlanta stands to lose Young Stoner Life Records and a slew of his signed acts.
Unfortunately, the town’s fear of losing Young Thug and Gunna to the system was quickly subdued by the devastating news of Lil Keed’s passing.
One of the most beloved up-and-coming bands on YSL Records, Lil Keed, born Raqhid Jevon Render, had managed to avoid being named in Fulton County’s RICO indictment in May. However, days after several of his label mates went behind bars, the eccentric artist – known for mixtapes like long live mexico, and his uncanny resemblance to his mentor, Young Thug — was pronounced dead at age 24. While the violence didn’t lead to Keed’s death, news of the up-and-coming, offbeat entertainer’s death nonetheless stung. Even with impressive songs, projects and performances in 2021 Slime Tongue 2, Lil Keed was still a rising artist who was starting to blossom. The fact that his life was also cut short can be described as nothing less than devastating.
At that time, Atlanta was truly hurting — for a life lost to violence, for lives lost to the system, and for a life that seemed to end so prematurely. Alas, the city’s suffering has continued and intensified many times since then.
Over the summer, another local legend met his end. This time, avoidable and inexplicable violence was, once again, the cause of the artist’s death. On Sunday, June 5, 2022, Atlanta rapper Trouble, née Mariel Semonte Orr, was at the center of shocking and horrifying news.
According to several media outlets, the Edgewood The entertainer was murdered during a home invasion in Rockdale County that was sparked by a toxic and deadly domestic dispute that didn’t even involve him. Nonetheless, Trouble was shot and killed, leaving another family without a loved one, Atlanta without prominent community figures, and the local scene without another fan favorite.
Enduring all of this tragedy and loss in a year has undoubtedly been hard on the A’s, so waking up to the news of Takeoff’s murder must have crushed the souls of countless fans, artists and music industry professionals alike. Atlanta on Tuesday. A city that has spent the last decade winning over everyone – from the most hardcore hip-hop purists to fans around the world who never even thought of listening to rap until the 2010s – has spent the last ten months in an unrelenting state of pain.
Consequently, Atlanta is slowly losing its grip on the culture. Where many rap movements usually die out due to factors like unfavorable releases and the aging of the region’s major players, the current capital of rap – if it can still hold that title firmly – is shrinking for all the bad. reasons. Virtually all of the artists Atlanta has lost this year are major players in the music industry. a majority of them played invaluable roles throughout the 2010s that helped shape the sound of contemporary hip-hop. A whole generation of game-changing artists is disappearing before our eyes, and it cannot be emphasized how important a role violence plays in this erasure.
If this trend continues, who will be left standing? Which surviving artists will be there to congratulate the historic hip-hop race that Atlanta has led over the past decade? It’s hard to even mention the Atlanta rappers who are always around for fear of being the next artist to have their life snatched away. This constant cycle of death, incarceration and loss is overwhelming and it desperately needs to end.
As we all mourn the loss of Takeoff and all of the artists mentioned throughout this article, please pray for Atlanta as it surely needs it.