MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Rapper Young Dolph, widely admired in the hip-hop community for his authenticity and fierce independence, was shot and killed Wednesday at a cookie shop in his hometown of Memphis, authorities said.
Police tweeted that they had no information to release about a possible suspect in the shooting, which took place at Makeda's Cookies near Memphis International Airport.
“The tragic shooting death of rap artist Young Dolph serves as another reminder of the pain that violent crime brings with it,” Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said in a statement.
The Daily Memphian newspaper reported that Young Dolph's cousin Mareno Myers said the 36-year-old rapper had been in town since Monday visiting an aunt who has cancer and was also giving out Thanksgiving turkeys.
“He was inside (Makeda's), and somebody just rolled up on him and took his life,” Myers said.
Just last week, the cookie shop posted a video on Instagram of the rapper promoting the store's cookies, saying he returns to the store whenever he is in Memphis.
Like the Los Angeles rapper Nipsey Hussle, who was killed in 2019, Young Dolph, born Adolph Thornton Jr., pursued an independent approach to the music business. His Paper Route Empire label retained control over his music.
“God bless Dolph,” tweeted Chance the Rapper. “Real independent Memphis rapper born in chicago. loved by millions of ppl.”
He released numerous mixtapes, starting with 2008's “Paper Route Campaign,” and multiple studio albums, including his 2016 debut “King of Memphis.” He also collaborated on other mixtapes and albums with fellow rappers Megan Thee Stallion, T.I., Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz and others.
Young Dolph had three albums reach the top 10 on the Billboard 200, with 2020's “Rich Slave” peaking at No. 4.
In his music, Young Dolph rapped about being a drug dealer and life on the streets in Memphis.
“I know what the streets want to hear,” he told writer Gary Suarez in a 2020 interview for Forbes. “I know what the street's going through, the lingo, the fashion, everything. It ain't nothing; it's my real life.”