Young Dolph, the Memphis rapper whose robust baritone voice anchored seven albums, countless mixtapes, and tracks with Megan Thee Stallion, Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz, Lil Durk, and more, was shot and killed in his hometown today (November 17), according to a local news report from Fox 13. He was 36.
Police confirmed to the news outlet that the rapper entered the Makeda’s Homemade Butter Cookies shop this afternoon and was hit by gunfire from a car that pulled up outside the store. Video from the scene shows his car parked outside the shop.
The rapper was born Adolph Robert Thornton, Jr. in Chicago but relocated to Memphis with his family at 2 years old. His rise is tied to the city. He began releasing mixtapes in the late 2000s and put out his celebrated debut album, King of Memphis, in 2016. He also collaborated regularly with Gucci Mane, and Dolph told MTV News in 2014 that the biggest lesson he learned from his fellow MC was to “just go hard, make songs every day.”
Dolph followed his example. He released his second LP, Bulletproof, in 2017, naturally featuring a song with Gucci Mane. The pair also collaborated on “Go Get Sum Mo,” a song from Dolph’s second 2017 album, Thinking Out Loud. 2018’s Rich Slave featured a feature with Megan Thee Stallion, as well as tracks with G Herbo and Key Glock, a young up-and-coming Memphis rapper who became Young Dolph’s protege. Their joint albums, Dum and Dummer and Dum and Dummer 2, dropped in 2019 and 2021, respectively.
He found Top 40 Billboard Hot 100 success in 2015 on a song with O.T. Genasis called “Cut It.” Dolph’s 2020 album Rich Slave debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
Dolph’s most recent album, Paper Route Illuminati, was released in July and showcased artists from the indie label that he launched over a decade ago, Paper Route Empire.
In 2017, Young Dolph was shot multiple times outside of a Hollywood hotel, though he suffered non life-threatening injuries. Fox 13 in Memphis reports that Dolph was known for handing out turkeys around town during Thanksgiving time and for donating money to his high school.
Friends and collaborators including Chance the Rapper, Megan Thee Stallion, and Offset have taken to social media to offer their thoughts and remembrances of Young Dolph.