Young Dolph was shot and killed today in Memphis. He was 36 years old.
The rapper (real name Adolph Robert Thornton Jr.) was at Makeda’s Butter Cookies, reportedly purchasing cookies for his mother on Wednesday, when someone shot through the window after driving up.
Dolph was one of Memphis’ biggest artists. Born in Chicago, Dolph relocated to Memphis with his family at two years old and grew up a fan of music, eventually deciding to pursue it after the death of his grandmother in 2008. That year, he released his first project, Paper Route Campaign, and was on his way to becoming a local phenomenon in the rap scene.
Over the next eight years, he’d release 16 separate projects, outworking many of his peers with his sheer work ethic. In 2016, after building up his fanbase to near mainstream levels, he released his debut album, King of Memphis, which peaked on the Billboard 200. From there, he was off to becoming one of the industry’s biggest lyricists.
Aside from his 2018 song “Major” peaking at No. 47 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chat, Dolph managed to snag his first top 10 album with the release of 2019’s Dum and Dummer alongside protege rapper Key Glock.
And then in 2020, when most artists were scared to release music in the middle of the COVID pandemic, Dolph dropped his seventh studio album, Rich Slave, which would peak at No. 4 on the Billboard 200.
Speaking to PAPER last year about Rich Slave, Dolph revealed that the inspiration behind the album came from “the reality of being Black in this country.”
Stream all Young Dolph music, he owned all his masters.
— Young Papi (@Young Papi)
He said, “You can have money, and you can be a benefactor and a leader in your community, but all people see is Black skin. All the bullshit I heard about as a kid, we still face in today’s time. Over the years, they have given us a little bit of freedom, but it’s only a temporary pacifier.”
Dolph has become an inspirational figure for rappers everywhere, specifically in Memphis where his success undoubtedly inspired the likes of Pooh Shiesty, BlocBoy JB and other lyricists to come in his wake. His music will continue to inspire and entertain everywhere.
Rest in peace, Young Dolph.
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