In the immediate aftermath of Migos rapper Takeoff being shot and killed at a bowling alley in Houston in November, tributes poured in from all across the music industry. This week, on January 4, Takeoff's band member and uncle, Quavo, posted his own musical memorial to his nephew via an emotional song called "Without You." It finds Quavo celebrating Takeoff's life as much as he's processing his own grief about his passing.
"Tears rolling down my eyes / Can't tell you how many times I've cried," he recites at the beginning of the song. The accompanying black-and-white lyric video shows Quavo sitting in a chair with eyes closed, holding a lit blunt and listening to the song in a pensive mood, at times visibly moved. "Days ain't the same without you."
Quavo shares his fond memories of Takeoff, like "the days we smoked big blunts together" and "them days we rocked out Coachella," right alongside his lamentations about Takeoff's absence being felt especially on birthdays and at Christmastime.
One of the most heart-rending lines nods to their familial bonds: "I miss just how you smile at me / Unc and 'Phew until infinity."
Throughout the song, Quavo falls back on a repeated refrain of "see you in Heaven." And at the end, Quavo sounding his nephew's name in an extended, Auto-Tuned exhale before apologizing: "Take, I'm sorry."
After Takeoff's death, Quavo posted a lengthy remembrance on Instagram, emphasizing how they grew up together and their early ambitions of wanting to be WWE tag-team wrestlers. "It was HIS dream to become a rapper cuz I didn't kno what I wanted to do," Quavo wrote. "Growing up he knew every song off the Hot Boyz album, every lyric word for word and he was cursing up a storm. Mama heard him rapping, took the CD and said that music was too grown for us..until we won the Boys and Girls Club talent show together performing "Get [Your] Roll On" by Big [Tymers], it was all good then."
Quavo and Takeoff released their non-Migos collaborative album, Only Built for Infinity Links, in October, less than a month before Takeoff's murder. Listen to "Without You" above.