A Memphis-based rapper who goes by the stage name of Blac Youngsta was one of three men who surrendered to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday for their alleged involvement in a chaotic February shootout in uptown.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police charged Youngsta (nee Sammie Benson), 27; Frederick Black, 23; and Antavius Gardner, 20, with six counts each of discharging a weapon into occupied property and felony conspiracy.
It’s the latest turn of events in a saga that, according to hip-hop media outlets, stems from a rivalry between out-of-town rappers.
First, though, here’s the official/original account of what happened on Feb. 25, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police: 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 – another Memphis-based hip-hop artist – 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 Dolph (nee Adolph Thornton Jr.), 31, and rival rapper Yo Gotti (nee Mario Mims), 35. 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 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.”
Then on April 1, 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.”