Young Dolph, the rapper behind albums like “Rich Slave,” died in a fatal shooting in Memphis, Tennessee, on Wednesday at the age of 36, according to Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis.
The rapper, whose real name is Adolph Robert Thornton, Jr., was reportedly buying cookies at Makeda’s Homemade Butter Cookies in Memphis when someone drove up and shot him.
“This shooting is another example of the senseless gun violence we are experiencing locally and nationwide. Our hearts go out to the Thornton family and all who are affected by this horrific act of violence,” Davis said.
No suspect information is available at this time, according to Davis. She added it was too early to know what the motivation was for the killing.
Memphis leaders call for city-wide curfew
As the investigation continues, police have encouraged Memphis citizens to stay calm.
“Tonight we strongly encourage everyone to stay home if you do not have to be out,” Davis said at a press conference Wednesday. “We also strongly encourage everyone to remain calm as we actively perform our investigation.”
The Memphis Police Department is providing an increased presence in areas of the city that might be directly impacted by the shooting, the chief said. This includes any location that might be affiliated with Young Dolph and anyone that has a connection or police think could potentially have a connection to him, according to Davis.
Davis said investigators are still speaking with witnesses and are checking surveillance and security cameras in the area.
“We are committed to working with the community to stop the senseless murders,” Davis said. “We’re also dedicated to bringing those responsible for today’s shooting and others to justice.”
Several local leaders have called for a city-wide curfew in case of acts of retribution, and Davis said police are communicating with city officials and will evaluate the situation.
“It doesn’t mean that we won’t have a curfew at some point in time. But right now, we think that the deployment of our officers in the specific areas that are impacted the most will be enough presence for tonight,” she said.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland tweeted Young Dolph’s death “serves as another reminder of the pain that violent crime brings with it. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”
Celebrities react to Young Dolph’s death
“All of us at APA are shocked and deeply saddened by the sudden and tragic loss of our dear friend and client, Young Dolph,” a representative of the management company said in a statement to Variety. “The world has lost an icon, a great man and beloved artist who has been taken too soon. His dedication, drive, hard work and loyalty to all those around him always came first and he will be deeply missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family at this most difficult time. “
CNN has reached out to APA representatives for comment.
A native of Chicago who grew up in Memphis, Young Dolph released his debut album, “King of Memphis” in 2016. He went on to have several hits, including “Blue Diamonds,” and “RNB” featuring Megan Thee Stallion. His fifth studio album, 2020’s “Rich Slave,” rose to No. 5 on the Billboard 200 chart.
In 2017, he was nearly killed in a shooting incident in Hollywood. He spent weeks hospitalized after sustaining three gunshot wounds.
“I’ve been targeted since I was 17, 18, 19,” Young Dolph told The Guardian about the incident in a 2018 interview. “I just knew that I was good.”
He added that he wasn’t “a person that lives in fear.”
Following the news of his death, fellow artists and fans paid tributes to Young Dolph.
“God bless Dolph 🕊 independent Memphis rapper born in chicago. loved by millions of ppl,” Chance the Rapper tweeted. “Always showed love everytime I seen him this is tragic God bless his family man.”
“R.I.P. to my friend Dolph. this broke my heart,” wrote Gucci Mane.
Young Dolph is survived by two children.