The family and friends of the slain rapper Young Dolph remembered him on Wednesday as a loving father, skilled businessman and generous philanthropist in a ceremony that gave him the name of a street in the same Memphis neighborhood where he grew up and was also shot last month.
The rapper’s 7-year-old son stood on a ladder and pulled a string to remove the cover from the brown and gold road sign, not far from Young Dolph’s childhood home and the bakery where he was. killed on November 17 while picking up cookies in broad daylight. A stretch of road near Memphis International Airport, Dunn Avenue, now has a sign bearing the real name of rap artist, Adolph Thornton Jr.
Known for his depictions of difficult street life and his independent approach to the world of music, Young Dolph was admired for his charities in Memphis. He organized Thanksgiving turkey giveaways, donated thousands of dollars to high schools, paid rent, and covered funeral expenses for residents of the Castalia Heights neighborhood where he grew up.
Among those present at the ceremony were his parents, life partner Mia Jaye, their children Adolph III and Aria, 4, other parents, fans, friends, city officials and members of his music label “Paper Route Empire”.
“Having this street named after him will leave something visible, will leave something tangible,” said DJ Rock Steddy, who was the DJ for Young Dolph. “When you see this sign, it’s not just a sign for Young Dolph, it’s a sign for the future of this community and this city. You all see that anything is possible.”
No arrests were made in the murder, which stunned Memphis and shocked the entertainment world. Police said two men got out of a white Mercedes-Benz and fired shots at Makeda’s homemade cookies on November 17. Police released photos taken from surveillance footage that captured the shooting, and authorities later located the abandoned car.
City officials and community activists have also called the murder a symbol of the scourge of gun violence in Memphis, where more than 250 homicides have been reported this year.
“We shouldn’t be here to celebrate young Dolph when he passed away,” said JB Smiley Jr., a Memphis city council member running as Democrat for governor of Tennessee. “We should be here to celebrate as he lived today.”
A private funeral was held for Young Dolph on November 30. He will be honored Thursday in a public celebration at FedExForum, home of the NBA Memphis Grizzles and the University of Memphis men’s basketball team.
When he was killed, Young Dolph was in Memphis participating in Thanksgiving turkey giveaways and visiting a cancer center. Friends and associates handed out turkeys, a mix of stuffing and cranberry sauce at a church two days after the shooting, an event the 36-year-old rapper helped organize and was scheduled to attend.
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He was also hosting Christmas events at another church and senior citizen center, which went on without him, his aunt, Rita Myers said. Meanwhile, his plans to create a music academy in a community center are expected to continue.
Myers said his nephew was a “fearless man” who walked the streets of his neighborhood alone, even after reaching fame.
“He mingled with the kids in the community and other people in the community because he loved to share, connect with people,” Myers said.
Young Dolph was born in Chicago and moved to Memphis with his parents when he was 2 years old. He has released numerous mixtapes, starting with 2008’s “Paper Route Campaign” and several studio albums, including his first “King of Memphis” in 2016. He has also collaborated on other mixtapes and albums with other Key rappers. Glock, Megan Thee Stallion, TI, Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz and others.
He had three albums reaching the top 10 on the Billboard 200, with “Rich Slave” in 2020 peaking at No. 4.