• Brandon Colvin

Popular Memphis hip-hop artist, Young Dolph, dead at 36

Young Dolph, one of hip-hop's most prolific artists, was gunned down this afternoon in front of a Memphis bakery according to the city's law enforcement officials.

Local news reports indicate that the shooting occurred outside Makeda's Butter Cookies, a popular bakery that the rapper frequented and had recently promoted via his Instagram account. The business' owner, Maurice Hill, told authorities that Dolph, born Adolph Robert Thornton Jr., was exiting the bakery when a vehicle approached and opened fire. The rapper was pronounced dead at the scene.

Born in Chicago but raised on Memphis' south side, Young Dolph has been a hip hop music and culture mainstay in recent years. He was featured on fellow rapper O.T. Genasis' 2015 hit, "Cut It," and has enjoyed mainstream success with his last three albums breaking onto the Billboard 200 charts. Alongside his musical accolades, Dolph was also an enthusiastic philanthropist who hosted frequent giveaways of cash and cars through his social media accounts. Undoubtedly, the "We Major" star was a colorful character and known just as much for his music as we was his creatively designed jewelry including a diamond-encrusted dolphin, camouflage-clad vehicles like his late-model Lamborghini coupe and SUV, and status as a self-made businessman—the rapper was a rare example of a fully independent recording artist and owner of his own record label, Paper Route Empire.

Already, Thornton has received an outpouring of support from the entertainment community and his immediate community in Memphis. His absence in the city will be especially felt this year since he will not be present at his annual Thanksgiving turkey giveaway which supports local families in need. He was also a frequent contributor to Shelby County schools, having donated tens of thousands of dollars to the school system in recent years.

Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell shared his grief via a brief tweet saying, "Damn man RIP young dolph."

Hip-hop superstars Megan Thee Stallion and Gucci Mane, both recent collaborators with Thornton, also expressed their condolences.

Thornton leaves behind a son and daughter, Tre and Ari, and the mother of his children, serial entrepreneur, Mia Jaye.