Rapper Slain Young Dolph left a lasting legacy in Memphis

MEMPHIS, TENN. – Two days before he was shot to death while buying cookies at his favorite bakery in Memphis, Tennessee, rapper Young Dolph visited a cancer center where a loved one was being treated.

The 36-year-old grew up on the streets of Memphis in town delivering turkeys at a church and other locations before Thanksgiving. He stopped by the Western Cancer Center in the Memphis suburb of Germantown on Monday, spent time with medical staff and thanked them for the compassionate care given to a loved one, the center said in a statement. An announcement.

Return trips like this one have become a regular part of his life, ending Wednesday when he was shot multiple times inside Makeda’s Cookies, a popular bakery owned by a Black family and famous for its delicious butter cookies and banana cake. The gritty southern city where Young Dolph grew up helped him forge the material that fueled his influential career in the hip-hop world – and ultimately the place that took his life.

“Our associates were deeply moved by his sincerity and effort to extend such gratitude,” the cancer center said in a statement. “During his visit, Dolph explained that he will soon be venturing to donate turkeys to the Memphis community at multiple community centers across the city before Thanksgiving – another testament to his humanity. his posterity.”

Police continue to hunt for suspects in the murders that shook Memphis and shocked the entertainment world with another senseless act of gun violence against an African-American man. Police on Thursday released stills from surveillance video showing two men getting out of a white Mercedes-Benz and shooting Young Dolph before fleeing.

Since his murder, social media has been flooded with messages of respect and love for the rapper, whose music discusses the drug trade, street crime and addicted parents. along with lessons in strength and perseverance through difficult circumstances. His legacy as a fiercely independent artist and entrepreneur has been cemented in the hip-hop universe.

His charitable actions enhanced his reputation in Memphis, a city dealing with poverty, gun violence and disproportionately high rates of Black incarceration. In 2020, Young Dolph donated $25,000 to Hamilton High School for new athletic equipment at his alma mater.

Earlier this year, he visited with children the day before Easter at St. James Missionary Baptist Church. There, he met Pastor Rodney Herron, who asked him to return to the humble church to deliver turkeys to families before Thanksgiving.

The rapper happily agrees and plans to hand out food on Friday. Despite his death, Herron said, events will continue.

Herron said: “This is a nice guy, he came to earth. “I feel sorry, because I know what that young man has done for the community, how far he will go in the community. … I have returned to where my heart always gives.”

Herron said Young Dolph discussed buying a local community center. Herron said he wants to push for a name change of the center after the hip-hop artist.

Tameka Greer, chief executive officer of Memphis Artists for Change, said the rapper was also scheduled to attend a holiday event for children of incarcerated parents at a church in December.

“His generosity knows no bounds,” she said in a statement. “Young Dolph doesn’t deserve to die, and neither do children, young adults, and adults who lose their lives to gun violence every day.”

Young Dolph, whose real name is Adolph Thornton Jr., started his career by distributing CDs on the street. He has since released many mixtapes, starting with 2008’s “Paper Road Campaign” and numerous studio albums. He has collaborated with fellow rappers Key Glock, Megan Thee Stallion, TI, Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz, and others.

“The street knows me, people already know who I am,” he said in a 2014 interview with VICE. “Real respects the truth, so if you can make Memphis love you, you have to have something real there. Memphis doesn’t just support anyone. “

Like Los Angeles rapper Nipsey Hussle, who was killed in 2019, Young Dolph pursues an independent approach to the music business. His label Paper Route Empire retains control of his music.

Fans have flocked to the cookie store, where a memorial to balloons and stuffed animals steadily grows in front of the store’s up windows. Makeda Cookies has released a statement saying its owners are heartbroken over the death of Young Dolph, who recently appeared in an Instagram post promoting the store.

Smoking a cigarette outside the store, Marquize Brand, 31, a native of Memphis, said he used to visit the cookie shop as a boy with his grandmother and to this day. Brand said he was disgusted by the rapper’s murderous act.

“The worst that happens is really poignant and you’re trying to do the best you can, with the best of your heart,” Brand said. “I have heard stories about how good Dolph is to people. Why get rid of good people? ”

Associated Press reporters Ryan Pearson in Los Angeles and Joshua Housing in Munster, Indiana, contributed to this report.


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