Rev. Jesse Curney, III, senior pastor of New Mercies Christian Church in Lilburn, Georgia, remembered popular Migos rapper Takeoff as a faithful church member as plans are underway to celebrate the beloved rapper's life with an elaborate public funeral at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta Friday.
Tickets for the event, free for Georgia residents, are expected to will be made available to the general public online at 2 p.m., Tuesday. The arena has a seating capacity of approximately 17,000.
The 28-year-old, whose legal name was Kirshnik Khari Ball, was the youngest member of Migos, completed by his uncle Quavo and his cousin Offset. Migos is well known for hit songs such as "Motorsport," featuring Nicki Minaj and Cardi B, and "Bad and Boujee," featuring Lil Uzi Vert, which has been streamed more than 1.5 billion times in the United States alone.
Curney, who is expected to deliver Takeoff's eulogy on Friday, was not immediately available to answer questions when contacted by The Christian Post on Tuesday. But he told V-103 in an interview Monday that the rapper "loved coming to worship."
"I plan to remember him as the young man I saw grow up in the church who loved being with his family, who loved coming to worship, and in times when he made it to church with his busy schedule, he still came as just a regular worshiper," Curney said. "[He was] one who showed love to his fans while he was in church after church. Everyone allowed him to worship and just be a regular person."
Migos was started by Takeoff with his family members in 2008 in Lawrenceville, Georgia. They became bonafide stars in 2013 after the release of their song "Versace."
New York-based Hip-hop DJ Megan Ryte told ABC News that many new artists in the music industry were "influenced" by the Migos sound.
"They changed the game," Ryte said. "They single-handedly changed hip-hop, their flow, the triplet flow … some people will refer to it as the Migos flow or even sometimes the 'Versace' flow."
The group's reach was so wide former President Barack Obama put the song "Straightenin" from their album "Culture III" on his summer playlist in 2021 next to songs from other artists like Rihanna, Joni Mitchell and Stevie Wonder, The New York Times reported.
Houston Police are still trying to decipher the events that led to Takeoff's death, which started over a dice game.
Unnamed law enforcement sources told TMZ that angry words were exchanged between Quavo and others after he lost in a dice game at a bowling alley. After the argument was taken outside, sources say the argument shifted over who was better at basketball. The argument reportedly led to shots being fired and Takeoff's death.
Curney, who said the rapper and his family had been attending his church since he was 10 years old, called on members of the black community to do better.
"It is a great loss, and it's sad that we, as African Americans continue to do this to ourselves. And so, therefore, I hope that this is a wake-up call for all of us that there really needs to be some serious changes within our community," he said.
"I think that's what's so important for me and most of his family [is] that this was a son, a grandson, a brother, a nephew, a cousin," he added. "And so, therefore [we want] to remember his love that he shared with everyone. He gave to everyone. That's the person I know, and that's the person I can speak of."