Rapper Young Dolph has died after being shot while buying cookies at a store in his hometown of Memphis. He was 36.
The artist, real name Adolph Robert Thornton, Jr, was reportedly inside Makeda’s Homemade Butter Cookies when someone drove up and opened fire, police chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis told CNN.
Footage posted to social media showed Dolph’s camouflage coloured Lamborghini could be seen parked outside of the shop, of which he was a frequent visitor. He was filmed promoting the bakery just last week.
The Daily Memphian newspaper reported that his cousin, Mareno Myers, said Dolph had been in town visiting an aunt who has cancer, and was also giving out Thanksgiving turkeys.
“This shooting is another example of the senseless gun violence we are experiencing locally and nationwide. Our hearts go out to the Thornton family and all who are affected by this horrific act of violence,” Davis said.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said in a statement: “The tragic shooting death of rap artist Young Dolph serves as another reminder of the pain that violent crime brings with it.”
No information has been made available about the suspect.
Young Dolph has previously been a shooting target. In 2017, the rapper was shot several times outside of a trainer shop in Hollywood which left him needing surgery.
He’d learnt to be self-sufficient from an early age. Born in Chicago before being raised in Memphis by his grandmother, Dolph’s parents were addicted to crack. He had been determined to help give them a better life.
“We were in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades, seeing this living hell,” he told The Guardian in 2018. “I’ve just always wanted the money. I told my grandma a long time ago that I was going to take my mom and dad out the hood. I was a little boy saying that s***.
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“I ain’t never really had no dad, just the street’s ways, and I’m giving [people] game that their dad was supposed to be giving them, on these tapes and lyrics. My whole thing is about giving these folks the real.”
He released his debut studio album King of Memphis in 2016, peaking at No 49 on the Billboard 200 chart. This was followed by Rich Slave, which included the single “RNB”, a collaboration with Megan Thee Stallion, in August 2020.
He also released several mixtapes, starting with 2008′s Paper Route Campaign, and appeared on mixtapes and albums with fellow rappers Key Glock, Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz and more.
Fiercely independent, Dolph considered himself a workaholic and had focused on growing his business in recent years.
“I’m a CEO first, then an artist,” he told the writer Gary Suarez in a 2020 interview for Forbes, saying he’d strategically held off on signing with a major label.
“As long as I keep going up and keep working, my value is going to increase.”
He added: “I know what the streets want to hear, I know what the street’s going through, the lingo, the fashion, everything. It ain’t nothing; it’s my real life.”
“God bless Dolph,” tweeted Chance the Rapper. “Real independent Memphis rapper born in chicago. loved by millions of ppl.”
Dolph is survived by his two children.
Additional reporting by Associated Press
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