Quavo releases 'Rocket Power,' his first solo album since Migos bandmate Takeoff's death

FILE - Quavo of the band Migos performs during the 2021 Global Citizen Live event in Los Angeles on Sept. 25, 2021. Quavo will release “Rocket Power,” his first album since fellow Migos member Takeoff was shot and killed outside a bowling alley in November 2022 (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Migos rapper Quavo has released his second solo album, “Rocket Power,” a lively and powerful tribute to his late bandmate and nephew Takeoff.

It is Quavo's first full-length release since Takeoff was fatally shot outside a private party at a downtown Houston bowling alley in 2022. The pair join forces on the tracks “Patty Cake” and “Back Where It Begins,” released Friday. The latter also features Future.

Young Thug, Babydrill, Hunxho are also featured on “Rocket Power.”

Many of the tracks serve as homages to Takeoff. On “Patty Cake,” Quavo raps, “Me and Take pop up like a date / ‘Cause we go together anyway / Unc’ and ‘phew stickin’ like glue / It’s some dogs runnin’ on the loose.”

In 2022, Quavo and Takeoff released a collaborative album under the moniker Unc & Phew, a reflection of their close familial bond, without the third Migos member Offset. It was titled “Only Built for Infinity Links.”

“I call him twin ’cause that be my brother," Takeoff rapped about his uncle Quavo on the track “Hotel Lobby.”

That closeness is felt throughout “Rocket Power," and the second half of the title track might be the most affecting moment of all. In the final verse, the trap production drops, making way for simple balladic moment. “Mama, I can’t sleep / I lost my bro, aw, this just a dream / Eternal nightmares / I don’t know ’bout how we got here / I wan’ go far, but I don’t know where,” Quavo sings. "But when I go, I ain’t got no fear / I bet my nephew gon’ be right there / I see my niece and nephew cry tears / I told ‘em, “Wipe your eyes ‘cause unc’ here.”

It's a potent meditation on grief — steps of depression, denial, and acceptance rolled into a few seconds. For listeners, it is an emotionality amplified by the fact that this is the sound of Quavo in the studio for the first time since losing both a family member and his closest collaborator.

But would it be a Quavo release if it didn't end on an empowering note? The closer “Greatness” is a horn-led celebration. “This how legends was born / Greatness / I couldn’t do it without the greatest group in the world / Hmm, greatness / I couldn’t do it without the greatest nephew in the world,” he raps.

“Rocket Power,” was scheduled to be released two weeks ago, but was delayed to “run some more tests before the rocket is ready to launch,” Quavo wrote on Instagram.

Little was known about the album prior to its release. In late May, Quavo teased “Rocket Power” on Instagram, writing, “This album is for the Rocket our true fans and also this is my therapy. This is album is a true reflection of how I feel right now. Sometimes I’m Good, sometimes I’m Down, sometimes I’m Disappointed, sometimes I fall apart but then I ALWAYS find my strength again.”

Takeoff's sole solo album prior to his death, released in 2018, was titled “The Last Rocket.”

“Rocket Power” follows Quavo's solo debut album, 2018's “Quavo Huncho,”

In June, Quavo and Migos' Offset made their first major public appearance following Takeoff's death at the 2023 BET Awards. Performing their biggest hit, “Bad and Boujee,” the duo shouted “BET, do it for Take,” near the beginning of their set, as their backdrop switched from the image of a space shuttle to one of Takeoff pointing in the air.