This Month in Music: RIP Takeoff, Rihanna Returns, and Blink-182 Reunited


Rhett Uleman

RIP Takeoff

Takeoff, AKA Kirshnik Khari Ball, the iconic rapper and third member of the immensely influential Atlanta rap group “Migos,” was shot in a Houston bowling alley during the very early hours on Nov. 1. Allegedly, the weapon was used during an altercation related to a dice game where his uncle and fellow Migos bandmember Quavo was also present. The Houston Police Department is currently facing incredible pressure to locate Takeoff’s killer. During his life, Takeoff contributed to two Grammy-nominated albums in the “Culture” series of projects, and was featured on numerous Billboard hits. Several artists across all genres, including Rick Ross, Wiz Khalifa, DJ Premier and Questlove, have shared their condolences on social media.

Rihanna Returns

Rihanna is back! After six years, she has returned with her first single as a lead artist as the hype for her return continues. In October, it was announced that Rihanna would be the star of the NFL’s 2023 SuperBowl Halftime Show. Now, with this new track, it seems that her comeback is swinging into full force. “Lift Me Up” was written for Disney’s 2022 film “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” The director of that film, Ryan Coogler, actually co-wrote the song as a bittersweet tribute to the late star, Chadwick Boseman. The track features lush instrumentation to create a dreamy atmosphere for a slow ballad. The light strings and plucky ukuleles in the background give the optimal amount of room for Rihanna’s soaring vocal performance. The vibe of the track is very cinematic, and Rihanna’s voice is versatile enough to sound right at home in a film score setting. It will be interesting to see what direction Rihanna chooses to go in. She became a superstar off of her infectious dance music and notorious hooks, but “Lift Me Up” might indicate a new Adele-type approach with a more grand, cinematic feel. Her lyrics read like poetry and deliver a warmth to the track that instantly reminds you why she has been a powerhouse in popular culture for so long by this point.

Blink-182 Reunited

As the Pop-Punk nostalgia revival continues on, Mark Hoppus, Tom Delonge and Travis Barker have reunited to reform the original Blink-182 lineup for the first time in ten years. The three guys have been working on their own individual endeavors, with Barker and Delonge making music with other artists and Hoppus recovering from cancer, but the group has finally found the time to come back together. Despite the long years that the individual members have been apart, the cultural relevance of Blink-182 has remained strong as their sound has become trendy for imitation. Along with an announcement of a reunion tour across North America, the band has released a new single titled “Edging,” which mixes the classic Blink lyrical silliness with the polished production style of Barker. Travis Barker in particular has been active during the group’s separation, becoming an experienced session drummer and producer for artists such as Machine Gun Kelly, Avril Lavigne and Trippie Redd. Rather than revisiting old sounds, the band chooses to bring their style into the age of 2022 with an updated approach to Pop-Punk. The power trio revealed in a press release that an entire new album with the core lineup is on the way, scheduled for release in 2023.