Span of Memphis Street renamed in honor of slain rapper Young Dolph

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – The family and friends of slain rapper Young Dolph remembered him Wednesday as a loving father, skilled businessman and generous philanthropist at a ceremony renaming a street for him 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 brown and gold road sign cover, not far from Young Dolph’s childhood home and bakery where he was killed 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 rapper’s real name, Adolph Thornton Jr.

A street sign is unveiled to honor slain rapper Young Dolph, whose real name is Adolph Thornton Jr., Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021, in Memphis, Tennessee. Police say Young Dolph was killed on November 17 while buying cookies at his favorite bakery. No arrests were made. (AP Photo/Adrian Sainz).(Adrien Sainz | AP)

Known for his portrayals of tough street life and his independent approach to the music industry, Young Dolph was admired for his charitable work in Memphis. He organized turkey gifts for Thanksgiving, 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, his life partner Mia Jaye, their children Adolph III and Aria, 4, other relatives, fans, friends, city officials and members of his record label. of music, “Paper Route Empire”.

“Having this street named after him will leave something visible, will leave something tangible,” said DJ Rock Steddy, who was Young Dolph’s DJ. “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 say two men got out of a white Mercedes-Benz and shot Makeda’s Homemade Cookies on November 17.

City officials and community activists also pointed to the killing as 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 the passing of Young Dolph,” said JB Smiley Jr., a Memphis City Councilman who is running for governor of Tennessee as a Democrat. “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 at a public celebration at FedExForum, home of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies and the University of Memphis men’s basketball team.

When he was killed, Young Dolph was in Memphis partaking in Thanksgiving turkey giveaways and visiting a cancer center. Friends and associates handed out turkeys, stuffing mix and cranberry sauce at a church two days after the shooting, an event the 36-year-old rapper helped organize and was supposed to attend.

He was also hosting Christmas events at another church and a senior center, which went ahead without him, his aunt, Rita Myers, said. Meanwhile, his plan to create a music academy in a community center is expected to continue.

Myers said his nephew was a “fearless man” who walked the streets of his neighborhood alone, even after achieving stardom.

“He mingled with the kids in the community and other people in the community because he loved sharing, connecting 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 many mixtapes, starting with “Paper Route Campaign” in 2008 and several studio albums, including his debut album “King of Memphis” in 2016. He has also collaborated on other mixtapes and albums with other rappers Key Glock, Megan Thee Stallion, TI, Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz and more.

He had three albums reaching the top 10 on the Billboard 200, with 2020’s “Rich Slave” peaking at No. 4.

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