Young Dolph dead: who was rapper shot dead in Memphis, age, did he have a wife, and what were his songs?

The rapper had been visiting his hometown to see his aunt with cancer, according to cousin Mareno Myers

US rapper Young Dolph, real name Adolph Robert Thornton Jr, was killed on Wednesday (17 November) after being shot in his hometown of Memphis.

The 36-year-old was best known for his 2020 album Rich Slave, which featured appearances from Megan Thee Stallion, Key Glock and G Herbo.

What happened?

Dolph was shot and killed on Wednesday (17 November) in his hometown of Memphis, three independent law enforcement sources confirmed to Fox13 Memphis.

According to the Memphis news outlet, Dolph had walked into bakery Makeda’s Butter Cookies just before 1pm local time when an unidentified person drove up and shot him.

Police tape setup outside of Makeda’s Cookie bakery after Young Dolph was shot and killed at the age of 36 (Photo: Justin Ford/Getty Images)

Just before 5pm local time on the day, Memphis police released preliminary information identifying Dolph as the victim of the shooting. No information about the shooter has been released.

The Memphis Police Department called the shooting “senseless” and said that their “hearts go out to the Thornton family and all who were affected by this horrific act of violence”.

Speaking to The Daily Memphian, Dolph’s cousin Mareno Myers said that the rapper had been in town because he was visiting an aunt who has cancer. Myers said that he was also giving out Thanksgiving turkeys.

Dolph was well known in Memphis for donating turkeys around Thanksgiving. According to reports, the rapper was scheduled to hand out turkeys on Wednesday and had planned on heading to the event after he had stopped at the bakery.

A week prior to the incident, Dolph had visited the same bakery. In a clip that has been shared on Twitter following the news of his death, Dolph can be seen shouting out the business.

On Twitter, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland wrote: “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. I’d also like to ask that motorists continue to avoid the area of Airways and I-240.”

Has Young Dolph been targeted by shooters before?

In the past, Dolph had had brushes with shooters.

In February 2017, his car was the target of gunfire after he released a diss track against a rapper called Yo Gotti, called “Play Wit Yo’ B**ch”.

Young Dolph performing during the Astroworld Festival 2019 (Photo: SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty Images)

His car reportedly was shot over 100 times, however it had been previously fitted with bulletproof panels. Following the shooting, three men were arrested but ultimately released due to a lack of evidence.

In September of that year Dolph was shot multiple times following an argument with three men. He was hospitalised in critical condition and spent two weeks recovering in the hospital.

Who was Young Dolph - and what were his songs?

Dolph was born on 27 July 1985 in Chicago, and when he was two years old his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee.

Dolph was the eldest of his siblings, his two sisters and two brothers, and was also cousins with the late rapper Juice Wrld.

He was mainly raised by his grandmother as his parents were addicted to crack, and he would only see them occasionally as a child.

The rapper released his first mixtape in 2008, called Paper Route Campaign. Two years later, Dolph established his own music label, called Paper Route Empire.

Young Dolph performing onstage during the STAPLES Center Concert 2017 (Photo: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET)

He was featured on the O.T Genasis double platinum hit single Cut It in 2016 and that same year he released his debut album King of Memphis via his independent label. King of Memphis went on to peak at number 49 on the Billboard 200.

From 2016 to 2021, he released seven albums, the most recent being Dum and Dummer 2. His most successful album was the one he released in 2020, Rich Slave, which peaked at number four on the Billboard 200.

Over the course of his career, Dolph had three albums that broke the top 10 on the Billboard 200.

In 2018, Dolph made headlines after he donated $20,000 to two Duke University baristas who had been fired after playing his song Get Paid. He also flew out the pair to watch his performance at the Rolling Loud music festival.

During the pandemic, Dolph also donated $25,000 to his old high school, Hamilton High School.

Did he have a wife?

Dolph is survived by his two children, Tre Tre and Ari, whom he had with her partner Mia Jaye.

Jaye is an entrepreneur who founded her own fashion brand called MOM.EO, and she also released a book called No Way Tre You Can’t Have Your Way: Food Instead of Junk Food Today.

She also has her own podcast titled Jaye’s Toolbox.

The couple have two children together (Photo: Instagram/@iammiajaye)

Dolph and Jaye had been in a long term relationship, however the two weren’t married.

According to one of her Instagram posts from October 2020, Jaye said that they had started dating in 2012.

While their relationship has never been secret, Jaye believed in keeping their personal lives private.

In an Instagram post from March of this year, Jaye wrote: “In my opinion, if your relationship is important to both people, the intimate dynamics & details should be protected by both of you!”

How have fellow rappers responded to the news?

Rappers, music industry names and fans took to Twitter to pay their tributes to the 36-year-old.

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.”

Megan Thee Stallion also wrote: “I am sooo sick rn I am in disbelief! Praying for his family and friends ! Rest in Peace to my friend, a true legend Dolph.”

Gucci Mane tweeted: “R. I. P. to my friend Dolph this broke my heart.”

“RIP DOLPH,” wrote Rick Ross.

A statement from APA agency, Dolph’s talent agency, said that the company was “shocked and deeply saddened” by the news of his death.

The statement added: “His dedication, drive, hard work and loyalty to all those around him always came first and he will be deeply missed."

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