MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Two days before he was gunned down while buying cookies at his favorite bakery in Memphis, Tennessee, rapper Young Dolph visited a cancer center where a relative had received treatment.
He was 36 years old and a native of Memphis, where he visited the city to distribute turkeys at various locations. According to the statement, he visited West Cancer Center in Memphis’ suburb of Germantown Monday and spent time there thanking staff for their compassionate care.
This was his third return trip like that. He died Wednesday. shot multiple times inside Makeda’s Cookies,Popular bakery run by Blacks, known for delicious banana pudding and butter cookies. The gritty southern city where Young Dolph grew up helped him forge the material that fueled his influential career in the hip-hop world — and was ultimately where his life was taken from him.
“Our associates were deeply touched by his sincerity and effort to extend such gratitude,” the cancer center’s statement said. “During his visit, Dolph explained that he would soon venture to donate turkeys to the Memphis community at a variety of community centers across the city before Thanksgiving — which is yet another testament to his gracious heart.”
The killing shook Memphis, and stunned the entertainment industry as yet another act of gun violence against an African American male. Police continue to seek suspects. On Thursday, police released surveillance footage that showed two men exiting a Mercedes-Benz in white and shooting Young Dolph.
Social media is flooded with tributes to the musician, who was murdered in 2015. His music featured street crime, drug trafficking, and the deaths of his parents. He also shared lessons learned from his struggle for strength and perseverance despite difficult situations. In hip-hop, his legacy was a strong independent businessman and artist.
In Memphis, which is known for its poverty and gun violence, as well as the high rate of incarceration of Black men, his acts of charity helped to build his name. Young Dolph gave $25,000 to Hamilton High School in 2020 for the purchase of new equipment.
He had visited St. James Missionary Baptist Church children the day before Easter earlier in the year. Rodney Herron met him there and asked him to come back to St. James Missionary Baptist Church to distribute turkeys before Thanksgiving.
He was happy to accept and planned to distribute the food Friday. Herron stated that the event would continue despite his passing.
“This is a nice young man, he was down to earth,” Herron said. “I am distraught, because I knew what the young man was doing for the community, how far he was going to go in the community. … He came back to where his heart was, and he always gave.”
Herron claimed Young Dolph discussed the purchase of a local community centre. Herron stated that he would like to see the center renamed after Young Dolph.
Tameka Greer of Memphis Artists for Change, stated that rapper Jay-Z was due to attend the December holiday party for children of imprisoned parents.
“His generosity knew no bounds,” she said in a statement. “Young Dolph didn’t deserve to die, and neither do the children, youth, and adults who lose their lives to gun violence every day.”
Young Dolph was born Adolph Thornton Jr. and began his professional career selling CDs on the streets. He later released numerous mixtapes, starting with 2008′s “Paper Route Campaign,” and multiple studio albums. Key Glock and Megan Thee Stallion were his collaborators, along with T.I. Gucci Mane 2 Chainz and T.I.
“The streets know me, everyone already knows who I am,” he said in a 2014 interview with VICE. “Real respects real, so if you can get Memphis to love you, you have to have something real there. Memphis doesn’t just support anybody.”
Just like the Los Angeles rapper Nipsey Hussle, who was killed in 2019,Young Dolph took an independent route to music business. The Paper Route Empire label that he founded retained full control over his music.
Fans have descended on the cookie shop, where a memorial of balloons and stuffed animals steadily grew in front of the store’s boarded up windows. Makeda’s Cookies issued a statement saying its owners are heartbroken by the death of Young Dolph, who recently appeared in an Instagram post promoting the store.
Marquize brand, a 31 year-old Memphis native who smoked outside of the store, stated that he once visited the cookie shop when a young boy and it still is today. Brand said he was disgusted by the rapper’s killing.
“It’s really sour for the worst to happen, and you’re trying to do the best you can, with the best heart,” Brand said. “I heard stories about how good Dolph was to people. Why get rid of good people?”
This report was contributed by Ryan Pearson, Los Angeles, and Joshua Housing, Munster, Indiana.