Rapper Young Dolph was fatally shot in Memphis on Wednesday. He was 36-years-old. According to Memphis Police Department, was shot outside of a local business called Makeda’s Butter where he was reportedly buying cookies when someone drove up and shot him. He was reportedly pronounced dead at the scene.
“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,” said Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis. At this time, there is no suspect in the shooting or motive. An investigation is underway.
Young Dolph previously recovered from two shootings in 2017.
News of Young Dolph’s death has sent shockwaves of grief and tributes from both his fans and celebrities in the industry.
Megan Thee Stallion, who was featured in his single “RNB”, wrote on her Instagram, “Everybody that know me knows I play this man music EVERY DAY ! He was so genuine so real so kind to me and tfarris always !!! Rest In Peace to a real legend.”
Gucci took to Twitter to mourn his loss tweeting, “my friend Dolph this broke my heart.”
Chance The Rapper tweeted, “God bless Dolph. Real independent Memphis rapper born in chicago. loved by millions of ppl. Always showed love everytime I seen him this is tragic God bless his family man.
Young Dolph, whose real name was Adolph Robert Thornton, Jr., is best remembered for his music and hits such as “Don’t Play With Me,” “Cut It” and “100 Shots.” His debut album, King of Memphis, was released in 2016. His fifth studio album, 2020’s Rich Slave, rose to No. 5 on the Billboard 200 chart. Dum and Dummer 2 was his most recent project and a collaboration with his cousin Key Glock.
He was also starting his own independent label, Paper Route Empire.
“This has always been my plan and my vision, to build a strong team and build artists like Glock,” Dolph told Billboard in March. “I always knew I could do it with artists, because I saw what I did for myself as an artist. I got the green light, and it’s the beginning of what we are doing. Everyone is going to see this journey we’re going on.”
But one of his greatest legacies will be as a family man and philanthropist. Dolph shared two children, Tre Tre and Aria Ella, with his partner Mia Jaye two children. The mompreneur would post the rapper frequently on her Instagram in dad mode with their children. In one IG video, Dolph is combing his daughter’s hair. Keke Palmer recalled meeting Jaye and the kids, while the family was en route to visit him.
“When I found out her husband was Dolph I fanned tf out,” she wrote in an emotional IG post and shared a picture of the family. “The grace she exudes told me a lot about him. 🙏🏾 We were cool ever since… to hear this news breaks my heart. The way folks moving these days seems unreal. Instead of being inspired or uplifted by someone’s success there is nothing but jealousy and envy and this hurts me esp for our community.”
Young Dolph was the founder of IdaMae Family Foundation, a nonprofit named after his grandmother and whose focus was to ” address the needs of the community.” He was known for handing out turkeys around Thanksgiving in Memphis through the Memphis Athletic Ministries charity, speaking to children, and donating money to his former high school Hamilton High School, according to Fox 13 Memphis. At the time of his death, the rapper was in Memphis for his annual turkey giveaways, according to his lawyer via The Today Show.
In a 2020 interview with GQ, Young Dolph spoke on how the pandemic made him appreciate aspects in life that could be easily taken for granted.
“Your money don’t mean shit,” he told GQ. “I don’t give a damn if you got a hundred billion, a hundred million, or a hundred dollars, ain’t nobody no better than nobody right now. Like, it been like that, but everybody really seeing that shit right now. Man, that money ain’t shit. It’s all about your happiness.”