Law enforcement continues to investigate the death of rapper Young Dolph, who was gunned down in a local Memphis bakery on November 17.
Dolph, born Adolphus Robert Thornton Jr., was perhaps best known for his seventh studio album Rich Slave, which debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 chart upon its release in 2020 as well as for his hits, “Cut It”, “Get Paid’, and “On the River”.
According to Maurice Hill, the owner of Makeda’s Homemade Butter Cookies, Thornton walked into the store in order to purchase cookies for his mother when two individuals drove up in a white Mercedes-Benz and shot into the store, killing Thornton.
Much of the aftermath was captured on social media by passers-by, some of whom identified a camouflage painted Corvette as belonging to the Memphis rap icon. Hundreds of people began crowding the area and police soon set up barricades to prevent people from entering the crime scene. Video of the stars custom Corvette being towed soon went viral. The day after the shooting, memorials to Thornton began to appear at Makeda’s, including flowers, candles, and a dolphin sign.
Gun violence has played a prominent role in Dolph’s life. In 2017, the rapper’s $300,000 SUV was riddled by gunfire. His life was only spared, he claimed, by the bulletproof panels in the vehicle. Memphis rapper Blac Youngsta was charged with the crime but later released. Youngsta is a member of Memphis label owner Yo Gotti’s stable of artists. Gotti has had frequent beef with Dolph, and the two exchanged a series of diss tracks following the release of Dolph’s 2016 album, King of Memphis. Thornton was also shot several times outside of a retail shop in Hollywood, in September of 2017 and spent two weeks in the hospital recovering from his wounds. Gotti was brought in as a person of interest and his friend, Corey McLendon was arrested for the crime but both men were eventually released without charges filed.
Two days ago, police began to share surveillance photos of two individuals involved in the shooting. The images show two males, both hooded and masked, one of whom appears to be carrying some sort of assault rifle. The other individual carries a pistol. So far, the suspects have yet to be identified.
On Saturday, people began posting a video of a white Mercedes being towed to social media. Many speculated that it may be the vehicle involved in the Makeda’s Cookies shooting. Police, however, have yet to confirm this to be true. Since the release of the surveillance photos of the shooters, several tips have been received by the Crimestoppers hotline. Memphis police department has not confirmed whether any of these tips or any other tips circulating on social media are true they are purportedly looking into many of them.
The shooting has galvanized many in the Memphis community to call out for a stop to the violence. Memphis Mayor, Jim Strickland has stated that, though the city is trying, “Our problem, our challenge is, state law is weak,” Strickland said. “We have weak state laws that allow easy and widespread access to guns while at the same time not punishing the wrongful use of those guns.”
Police, including specialized gang units, are said to be on high alert in concern of retaliation, and some officials, including Memphis city council member J.B. Smiley, have called for a curfew to prevent civil unrest in the area. Despite these concerns, however, so far there have been no retaliatory shootings.
Dolph was considered a Memphis icon and was highly regarded by many for his philanthropy. The rapper was reportedly on his way to pass out free Thanksgiving turkeys when he stopped at the bakery. Thornton had previously given away two hundred turkeys at the West Cancer Center just days before his death. Many celebrities and friends have expressed their shock and heartbreak regarding Thornton’s passing, including Megan Thee Stallion, Quavo, and Gucci Mane who said the incident “broke my heart.”
Dolph leaves behind his long-term partner and two young children, a boy, and a girl, as well as his cousin by marriage, Memphis rapper Key Glock.