A rapper who apparently was the target of a hail of gunfire in Charlotte during the CIAA tournament last month is now trying to cash in on the incident – or turning it into art, depending on your point of view.
Young Dolph (nee Adolph Thornton Jr.), 31, over the weekend announced an upcoming album titled “Bulletproof”; the rising Memphis hip-hop star has boasted that the black SUV he was traveling in when the shooting took place had been reinforced to make it impervious to bullets.
But wait, let’s rewind for a second.
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Here’s the official account of what happened on Feb. 25 in the 600 block of North Caldwell Street, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police: Several dozen rounds were fired at about 6:30 p.m., at least two vehicles and several weapons (including at least one that was high-powered) were involved, and bullets hit multiple apartments and vehicles indiscriminately. The shootout occurred about 30 minutes before the final game of the CIAA tournament at the nearby Spectrum Center.
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. They glommed on to reports that as many as 100 rounds were fired in the attacks.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police would not immediately confirm or deny Young Dolph’s involvement. However, three days later, CMPD tweeted out that it was “exploring possibility groups related to entertainment industry were involved. (There’d been rampant chatter speculating the shootout stemmed from a beef Dolph had/has with rival rapper Yo Gotti.)
For his part, Young Dolph tweeted “U loose” next to a laughing-so-hard-I’m-crying emoji less than 18 hours after the incident, but has otherwise stayed pretty tight-lipped about the whole thing.
In a recent interview with TMZ’s Raq Rants, he spent several minutes dodging questions about the shooting before offering this: “I wanna talk about it, but I don’t wanna talk about it. But I wanna talk about it. But I can’t talk about it.” (He did tell TMZ that it costs $300,000 for a bulletproof vehicle.)
Meanwhile, Dolph certainly isn’t being bashful in promoting his forthcoming album.
A minute-long teaser for “Bulletproof” opens with shell casings clattering to the asphalt, joining a blanket of spent bullets numbering in the hundreds. A newscaster can be heard saying, “100 shots fired in Charlotte...” while Dolph, in voice-over, also says: “100 shots. In Charlotte.” Then: “But I’m bulletproof. So f--- ’em.”
He’s seen smoking a cigarette and talking on his cellphone in the back seat of a black GMC Yukon XL (the same type of SUV reportedly sprayed with gunfire in the Feb. 25 shootout), then he emerges, kicks the shell casings, and dusts himself off.
“That’s how I feel,” he says, still in voice-over. “I’m so real. I pray for my enemies. I’m everything you wanna be. So that’s why you envy me. Shakin’ my head.”
Turns out, each of those things he says are essentially song titles on the album – which means, yes, there’s a track called “100 Shots” and another called “In Charlotte.”
On “That’s How I Feel,” Dolph raps: “For 100 shots, I heard you paid 100 stacks / Hope you got your receipt, go and get your hundred back / For that new coupe, I paid 400 flat / Smashed your baby mama, then I sent her back.”
CMPD has not made any arrest in the case and has named no suspects.
Young Dolph’s “Bulletproof” album drops on April 1. No foolin’.
According to a press release about Young Dolph’s latest project, “The new album Bulletproof celebrates his armor plating, while firing back at his haters with high-caliber bars. Everything about the album is a middle finger to his opponents, down to the tracklist itself.”