The death of Atlanta rapper Takeoff felt almost like losing a family member, fans said. On Friday, many of those mourning the Migos member lined up early to pay their respects and condemn the gun violence that took his life.

Braving the rain, those who were able to score free tickets arrived well ahead of the noon celebration of life service at State Farm Arena. Meanwhile, the investigation into the deadly shooting continued in Houston, where Takeoff was gunned down Nov. 1 outside a bowling alley. He was 28.

The roughly three-hour ceremony on Friday unfolded before a three-quarters full State Farm Arena. The surviving members of Migos gave heartfelt tributes to their cousin and nephew. Family dominated the podium, with Takeoff’s mother and two siblings also expressing their love and loss with personal stories of a son and brother who was always generous and loving. Famous friends also paid tribute.

Drake began the ceremony recalling how he and the Migos were tour mates and established a close friendship over 52 shows. Musically, the ceremony featured performances by pop stars Justin Bieber and Chloe Bailey and gospel artists Yolanda Adams and Byron Cage.

Mayor Andre Dickens also spoke during the service and gave Takeoff the Phoenix Award, the city’s highest honor.

Free tickets to the service were available for Georgia residents only and were quickly all claimed earlier this week. No media was allowed inside the venue and although phones, cameras and recording devices were banned, some attendees evidently were able to sneak them in as images and video clips began appearing on social media following the service.

Qiana Gordon’s three kids grew up listening to the Migos, adding that the artists inspired them. Born Kirsnick Khari Ball, Takeoff was remembered for his kindness and humble approach to fans.

”It’s just tragic, it’s really really tragic,” Gordon said, “It looks like it’s only about the rappers, but in general we gotta stop all the violence. The loss of his life was unnecessary.”

Her 16-year-old daughter, Lyana Morrison, said she spoke to Takeoff a few times after running into him at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. She described him as quiet and kind.

”They just need to stop all the killing because life is really getting too short to keep losing people,” Morrison said.

Elizabeth Salter said she was at a loss for words after hearing of Takeoff’s death and is tired of the gun violence.

”I was in shock at first,” the 31-year-old said. “You know how you see things and you don’t believe it at first.”

David Dunbar, who grew up listening to Takeoff and the Migos, said he found out the news from Salter.

”Through the music, I got to know (the Migos). I don’t personally know them, but I got to know them,” Dunbar said. “They are like family.”

Standing in line with her umbrella in the rain waiting to rush into the State Farm Arena, Jamaiya Minor came to the funeral by herself to show her support. The 18-year-old still remembers when the Migos rose to fame when she was just a middle schooler.

”He was a quiet dude, very humble,” she said.

James Hill, who attends Morris Brown College, pensively stared at the line outside the arena before eventually joining it. He said he became a Migos fan once he moved to Atlanta for school. The New York native said he’s frustrated that senseless violence continues to plague hip-hop culture.

”At first I was surprised. I really didn’t believe it” Hill, 20 said. “Then when I found out why (he passed), I was like really. This is 2022 and we’re still doing this. We really need to do better.”

‘The thinker of the group’

Takeoff’s career emerged after he convinced his uncle Quavo to rap, which resulted in the pair performing under the moniker Polo Club. They were later joined by Quavo’s cousin Offset to form a trio, changing their group name to Migos. The Gwinnett County natives released their debut mixtape “Juug Season” in 2011. They were later signed to Atlanta-based label Quality Control Music. Since then, Migos dropped a collection of mixtapes that introduced listeners to their fresh triplet flow, piercing adlibs and melodic chants that redefined 2010s rap.

Fans wait outside of State Farm Arena to attend the memorial service for Migos rapper Takeoff on Friday, November 11, 2022. (Natrice Miller/

Credit: Natrice Miller /

icon to expand image

Credit: Natrice Miller /

The act’s infectious sound garnered mainstream appeal in 2013 with the release of “Versace,” which was boosted by a Drake-assisted remix. Migos propelled into superstardom after the release of their 2016 hit “Bad and Boujee.” The single, from their Grammy-nominated album “Culture,” is the group’s sole No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.

While Quavo eased into the role of the group’s charismatic spokesman and Offset’s relationship with Cardi B dominated headlines, Takeoff was Migos’ most muted member. But he was widely considered as the best rapper in the group, as his lyrical proficiency anchored their sound. He released a solo album, “The Last Rocket,” in 2018.

Takeoff was the “mysterious one,” said Atlanta producer Drumma Boy, who worked with Migos on their 2015 single “Look at My Dab.” “He was quiet, off on his own and peaceful, but you knew he was always thinking about something. He was the thinker of the group.”

In lieu of gifts, Takeoff’s family is requesting that people make donations to The Rocket Foundation, which aims to help programs develop solutions to gun violence.