Young Dolph | 1985-2021

We’re mourning the loss of the self-proclaimed “King of Memphis” Young Dolph. A creative, an executive, an artist, an entrepreneur, but most of all – a Memphian who had so much love for his city and showed it every day.

We’re listening to his last album, Paper Route Illumnati, on repeat.

More from The Commercial Appeal:

Memphis rapper Young Dolph was shot and killed in Memphis on Wednesday, according to Memphis police.

The hip-hop artist, Paper Route Empire label head and self-proclaimed “King of Memphis” was shot inside the Makeda’s Cookies on Airways Boulevard.

Dolph — whose real name is Adolph Robert Thornton Jr. — was 36.

Earlier this week, Dolph and his Paper Route Empire record label and IdaMae Family Foundation had launched a holiday campaign to give away food and clothes to needy families in the Memphis area.

On Monday, Dolph made an appearance at West Cancer Center in Germantown along with fellow rapper Key Glock. The charity stops had been scheduled to take place throughout the city this week with various artists on Dolph’s label, including a planned event at the Charles E. Powell Westwood Community Center on Wednesday afternoon.

The news of Dolph’s death quickly swept across social media on Wednesday.

Hip-hop journalist Jeff Weiss memorialized Dolph on Twitter, hailing him as the “Memphis people’s champ–the answer to what if the Delta Blues was rap and funny,” wrote Weiss. “An antihero whose hysterical punchlines and flashiness often overshadowed a deep conscience, introspection, generosity and dedication to building an independent empire. A legend.”

Dolph’s friend, football legend Deion Sanders, also took to Twitter. Calling Dolph “my brother and a man dear to my sons.” Sanders lamented the rapper’s violent end. “Lord help us as a people stop the hate, the violence and the hopelessness,” he wrote. “When we realize we matter others will as well. Lord help us right now.”

Rapper Gucci Mane — who had collaborated with Young Dolph — simply wrote “R. I. P. to my friend Dolph this broke my heart.”

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