There was a growing number of social media reports linking Wednesday’s shooting death of rapper Young Dolph in Memphis to lingering animosity with a rival local rapper as the city mourned the loss of a talented and popular member of its community.
There were also fears of possible retaliation following a different homicide in Memphis hours after Young Dolph died from the shooting inside a bakery, prompting law enforcement to urge residents to “remain calm” as an investigation into the rapper’s murder begins. People immediately began to gather near Makeda’s Homemade Cookies’ shop immediately after reports of Young Dolph’s shooting began spreading quickly.
While there were no immediate descriptions provided of the suspect(s) involved in Young Dolph’s shooting, it was well known in certain hip-hop circles that he had “beef” with other rappers from Memphis.
That is especially true for Yo Gotti, a rapper with whom Young Dolph exchanged songs disrespecting each other in explicit lyrical confrontations that may have culminated in a series of attempted murders in 2017.
It was early that year when Young Dolph released a scathing song questioning Yo Gotti’s street credibility, which is tantamount to fighting words in hip-hop. Later in the same month when the song was released, Young Dolph was shot in Charlotte by a rapper signed to Yo Gotti’s record label.
Nearly eight months later, Young Dolph was left in critical condition after he was shot in Hollywood. HipHopWired reported at the time that police were “investigating whether the shooting was the result of a rivalry with Dolph and another Hip-Hop artist.” The person ultimately arrested for that shooting was “allegedly a known associate of Yo Gotti.”
As a result, Memphis police reportedly shut down Yo Gotti’s restaurant in a “precautionary” measure to guard against possible retaliation there. Reports that the restaurant had been shot at turned out to be false.
The source of the rappers’ reported ongoing feud was not immediately clear.
Meanwhile, there was an outpouring of condolences in Memphis, where the rapper born Adolph Thornton Johnson Jr. called home for most of his 36 years.
One local resident decried the state’s lenient gun laws and blamed lawmakers for fostering a culture that enabled Young Dolph’s killing. The unidentified woman predicted to local media that Wednesday’s shooting “is gonna cause a slew of retaliation.”
Memphis has already eclipsed the number of murders in the city from last year and could set a record in 2021. According to the Memphis Police Department’s crime tracker analytics tool, there had been 241 murders in the city as of Wednesday.
That was likely among the reasons why the Memphis Police Department was asking residents to stay home.
“Tonight we strongly encourage everyone to stay home if you do not have to be out,” Memphis Police Department chief Cerelyn C.J. Davis, the first Black woman to serve in that role, said in a statement late Wednesday afternoon. “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 this unfortunate incident.”
Davis added: “We are committed to working with the community to stop these senseless murders. We are also committed to bringing those responsible for today’s shooting and others to justice.”