MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Adolph Robert Thornton, Jr., who was best known by his rapper name Young Dolph, used his music and influence to inspire young people to chase their dreams. Young Dolph's music career began in Memphis and spanned 15 years.
He was shot and killed Wednesday afternoon outside Makeda's Cookies in South Memphis.
His aunt, Mary Trice, said Young Dolph wanted to be a leader for his community and help children stay out of trouble.
"A leader is a person who stands tall and walks tall and stand for righteous," Trice said. "Whatever went on with those young people he could control them, he could tell them to stop."
Trice said Young Dolph grew up impoverished in South Memphis and worked hard for his success.
Young Dolph had an annual tradition of giving free turkeys to people in need before Thanksgiving. His mission was to give back to people in any way he could.
"He meant the world to me," Trice said. "To be out there to help the kids, help the needy, buy kids clothes for Christmas, in the summertime, it didn't matter, block parties, it's all about the children in the community with him."
For people, like Joe Elliott, who grew up in the same neighborhood Young Dolph did, they know kids in the Castalia and Glenview neighborhoods look up to him.
"Everybody knows his music,' Elliott said. "He’s known worldwide so this is a big blow to this community."
Trice said her nephew's death is a heartbreak that will last forever.
"I’m just hurt," Trice said. "Hurt because we’re killing one another, I’m hurt because somebody knows who did this and whoever they are just turn yourself in."