Tennessee rapper Young Dolph – who survived a hail of gunfire in uptown Charlotte last February and subsequently bragged of being “bulletproof” – was in critical condition Tuesday afternoon after being shot multiple times in Los Angeles.
Investigators are looking into whether Young Dolph (real name: Adolph Thornton Jr.) was targeted as part of a hip-hop rivalry that was stoked by the incident in Charlotte, law enforcement officials said.
The shooting took place outside Loews Hollywood, a landmark Hollywood hotel, police said. Young Dolph, 32, of Memphis, was reportedly confronted by three men outside, leading to a physical fight. One of the men pulled out a gun and shot Young Dolph, who was left critically injured. Authorities said the rapper is expected to survive.
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According to multiple media outlets, detectives are investigating whether the shooting is connected to a rivalry with Yo Gotti, another Memphis hip-hop artist (real name: Mario Mims).
It’s the latest turn of events in a hip-hop rivalry that spilled over into Charlotte earlier this year.
Here’s the official/original account of what happened on Feb. 25, based on police reports: At about 6:30 p.m. – about 30 minutes before the final game of the CIAA tournament at the nearby Spectrum Center – several dozen rounds were fired in the 600 block of North Caldwell Street, and bullets hit multiple homes and vehicles indiscriminately. No one was hurt.
Investigators eventually recovered about 100 spent shell casings from the road, fired from various guns and a rifle. They also found two bullet-ridden SUVs on Parkwood Drive with tires blown out on both; the front and rear windows of one of them were shattered. White tissues stained with what appeared to be blood also were found outside one of the vehicles, according to court documents.
By the next morning, several national hip-hop-related websites were reporting that one of the targets was Young Dolph, who was in town that night for an unofficial CIAA party/concert at Cameo Charlotte nightclub. (At the time, CIAA commissioner Jacqie McWilliams said the shootout was not connected to the tournament.)
Sensational details quickly emerged: There was rampant social-media chatter speculating the shootout stemmed from animosity between Young Dolph and Yo Gotti, 36. Dolph tweeted “U loose” next to a laughing-so-hard-I’m-crying emoji less than 18 hours after the incident. And he would later boast that the black SUV he was traveling in when the shooting took place had been custom-bulletproofed at a cost of $300,000.
Videos also surfaced of rapper Blac Youngsta (one of Yo Gotti’s artists) and others taunting and making threats against Young Dolph while brandishing firearms, apparently made prior to the shootout.
When asked by hip-hop magazine XXL in March who he thought targeted him, Dolph said, “I got no clue. I really don’t even give a damn.”
“I’ve been a target ... to people that I intimidate, know what I’m saying?” he told XXL. “So, only thing that I can do is take this s--- and keep going. ... The more I live, the bigger and greater I’m (going to) get. ... The haters and the negativity, that s--- gonna get bigger too, you know what I mean? But, at the end of the day, man, I’m good.”
Soon after, Dolph released a new album containing a multitude of references to Charlotte, the shooting and both his SUV’s and his own impenetrability. The title: “Bulletproof.”
Then in May, Blac Youngsta (real name: Sammie Benson, also of Memphis) was one of three men who surrendered to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office for their alleged involvement in a chaotic February shootout. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police charged Blac Youngsta, Frederick Black and Antavius Gardner with six counts each of discharging a weapon into occupied property and felony conspiracy.
Blac Youngsta was released on bail soon after. According to The Commerical Appeal of Memphis, it is not known when he will be in court again on the charges, but after he was released on bond, he took to social media proclaiming his innocence and calling out Dolph for pressing charges.
As for Tuesday’s shooting of Young Dolph in L.A., one person had been detained and police were still looking for at least two other suspects Tuesday night, authorities said.
By the way: Young Dolph’s “Bulletproof” peaked at No. 36 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.