Rapper Young Dolph Reportedly Killed in Memphis Shooting

Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Update, November 17, at 6:05 p.m.: The Memphis Police Department confirmed on Twitter that “preliminary information indicates” that rapper Young Dolph, born Adolph Robert Thornton Jr., was killed in a November 17 shooting. “This shooting is another example of the senseless gun violence we are experiencing locally and nationwide,” chief CJ Davis said in the police statement. “Our hearts go out to the Thornton family and all who are affected by this horrific act of violence.” Memphis mayor Jim Strickland added on Twitter that Dolph’s death “serves as another reminder of the pain that violent crime brings with it.”

Original story follows.

Young Dolph, an icon of Memphis hip-hop, was killed in a shooting, multiple local outlets reported. Per Fox13 and local CBS news affiliate WREG, a gunman shot Dolph inside Makeda’s Butter Cookies in Memphis on November 17. Police confirmed to Vulture and on Twitter that a male victim had been pronounced dead in a shooting at Makeda’s, but would not be identified until police notified next of kin. Authorities responded to the shooting at 12:24 p.m. Along with confirming via police sources, Fox13 also noted that a car thought to be Dolph’s was parked outside the store as police investigated the shooting. They also reported that the owner of the store told the outlet that Young Dolph had been shot. The rapper was 36 years old.

Dolph came onto the Memphis scene as a prolific rapper, releasing over a dozen mixtapes since 2008. He released his debut album, King of Memphis, in 2016. By 2019, Dum and Dummer, his collaboration with fellow Memphis rapper and mentee Key Glock, hit the top ten of the Billboard 200, peaking at No. 8. Dolph’s 2020 solo album Rich Slave went on to peak at No. 4, while March 2021’s Dum and Dummer 2, also with Key Glock, peaked at No. 8 as well. Dolph worked with a number of popular rappers, especially in the South, including Megan Thee Stallion, Young Thug, 2 Chainz, Juicy J, Gucci Mane, and Lil Baby. He was also known as a community figure in Memphis for actions like giving out turkeys around Thanksgiving. Days before his shooting, he appeared in an Instagram video for Makeda’s Butter Cookies supporting the business. Dolph was also known for uplifting his fans, once giving $20,000 to two coffee-shop workers who were fired for playing his song and giving out a Lamborghini in a contest last year.

Multiple hip-hop musicians paid tribute to Dolph after the news. “R.I.P. to my friend Dolph this broke my heart,” Gucci Mane tweeted. “God bless Dolph,” Chance the Rapper tweeted, noting that he had been born in Chicago. “Always showed love everytime I seen him this is tragic God bless his family man.” Producer Kenny Beats tweeted, “Only person to ever pull up to the cave with a fleet of cars and made sure to shake every single persons hand he met. Legendary artist and person.”

This breaking news story will be updated as information becomes available.

Rapper Young Dolph Killed in Memphis Shooting