Young Dolph is dead at the age of 36 following a shooting in Memphis, Tennessee.
Fox 13 Memphis writes that “three independent law enforcement sources confirmed” Dolph, born Adolph Robert Thornton Jr., was killed on Wednesday and pronounced dead at the scene. Billboard and other publications shared the same news.
Police said the shooting took place at Makeda’s Homemade Butter Cookies, a local bakery. Fox 13 writes that owner Maurice Hill informed them “his employees said Young Dolph walked into the store to buy cookies. Someone then drove up and then shot and killed him.”
TMZ adds that a source says the shooter fired “through a front window,” and notes Dolph leaves behind a daughter and son. It also said Dolph’s “attorney and friend Scott Hall tells us [Young Dolph] was in town for his annual Thanksgiving giveaway—he’d been living in Atlanta most of the time.” The lawyer indicated the rapper’s plan after stopping by Makeda’s was to give out “a truckload of turkeys to folks in his old neighborhood.”
Reporter Jeremy Pierre took to Twitter with news of the shooting. “On the scene of a shooting on Airways,” Pierre wrote. “I’m hearing Memphis rapper Young Dolph may be a victim in the shooting. Shooting happened at Makeda’s Cookies.”
Arkansas rapper Bankroll Freddie, who has collaborated with Dolph, posted on his Instagram Stories just before 2 p.m. ET, “mane they just killed my n***a @youngdolph.”
Twitter user @RapDose pointed out a clip of Dolph at Makeda’s a week ago, saying the artist “was showing love and promoting a local memphis cookie business he frequents and today they killed him right outside.”
That post is on the business’ IG, with a caption reading, “Young Dolph says every time he comes home he has to stop by Makedas Cookies.”
After releasing several mixtapes in the first half of the 2010s, Young Dolph scored his first top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with a feature on O.T. Genasis’ 2015 single “Cut It.” From there, Dolph dropped five studio albums in a five-year span: 2016’s King of Memphis, 2017’s Bulletproof and Thinking Out Loud, 2018’s Role Model, and 2020’s Rich Slave, which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200.
Dolph also collaborated with fellow Memphis rapper Key Glock on a pair of joint projects, 2019’s Dum and Dummer and 2021’s Dum and Dummer 2, which dropped in March and climbed to No. 8 on Billboard’s albums chart. Most recently, Dolph released his Paper Route Empire label’s first-ever compilation mixtape, Paper Route Illuminati, in July.
Back in 2018, Dolph famously showed his generosity after two baristas were fired for playing his music at a Duke University cafe. After flying them out to Rolling Loud in Miami to catch his set, he gifted them a cool $20,000.
Dolph brought them onstage and said “So check this out, this what we gon do. I know for a fact that the VP at that school get money, but he don’t get money like Dolph.” He continued, “So until y’all get a new job, I got $20,000 for y’all right now.”
Shortly after news of Dolph’s passing, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland tweeted, “The tragic shooting death of rap artist Young Dolph serves as another reminder of the pain that violent crime brings with it. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. To honor all victims of violent crime, I ask for calm in our city to allow the Memphis Police Department to do their duty to capture those responsible.”
Memphis Police stated that the “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.”