Young Dolph & Yo Gotti: Unpacking The Memphis Beef

Young Dolph & Yo Gotti: Unpacking The Memphis Beef

Young Dolph & Yo Gotti: Unpacking The Memphis Beef

Hollywood and Highland. Home of the Chinese Theater, Marilyn Monroe impersonators, thousands of tourists, and a bloody shooting on a quiet Tuesday afternoon which left famed rapper Young Dolph in critical condition wounds and Yo Gotti as a rumored suspect.Young Dolph, birth name Adolph Thornton Jr., born in Chicago but raised in Memphis, was rushed to the hospital on September 26, 2017 after reports claim he and members of his crew found themselves involved in a heated argument outside the Loews Hollywood Hotel with three unidentified suspects (LAPD has arrested and booked Cory McClendon on suspicion of attempted murder this morning). According to Officer Meghan Aguilar, the argument soon escalated into a fight where Dolph was knocked down on the concrete, and that’s when one of the suspects pulled out a handgun and began opening fire on the rapper. “Young Dolph was struck but was able to get up and run into a local business,” Aguilar said.

TMZ’s initial report concerning Yo Gotti as a suspect rocked the rap world and the media ran with the story. Yo Gotti’s entourage were staying at the same hotel, so it only seemed to make sense. For a single day, dreams (or nightmares) concerning a violent feud between a Memphis, Tennessee rap legend (Yo Gotti) and a rising star from the same city (Young Dolph) made headlines across the nation. It’s the east coast/west coast feud from the nineties on a smaller, regional scale. After years of hype, the ongoing battle for “King of Memphis” finally spiraled into a bloody affair.

Yet, thankfully, this morning, the rap world exhaled a sigh of relief after hearing the news that the Los Angeles Police Department denied Yo Gotti as a “person of interest,” in the shooting, clearing his name of all guilt, at least for the time being. But, why did everyone quickly point their blaming fingers at Yo Gotti?

A beef between the two Memphis, Tennessee rappers has been brewing for years. Their feud is a classic tale of the young guard attacking the old, established regime, trying to find their place in history. It’s a rivalry overflowing with passive aggressive tweets, interfering third parties, and diss tracks. It all started back in August 2014 when Yo Gotti tried to sign Young Dolph to his CMG imprint.


Yo Gotti Fails to Sign Young Dolph to CMG (2014)

Yo Gotti is a Memphis rap legend. Alongside Three Six Mafia, he’s helped transform Memphis from a city most well-known for Elvis Presley into a city with a thriving rap scene. So it only makes sense that he would sign up-and-coming local star, Young Dolph, to his record label imprint CMG. Dolph turned down Gotti’s offer. Later that year, he appeared on Sway in the Morning, and justified his decision by saying he didn’t want to latch onto Yo Gotti’s movement, but, instead, he wanted to create his own path. Dolph claims this started the rivalry between the two rappers.

Two years later, on February 11, 2016, Dolph stirred the pot when he took to Twitter and tweeted: Bra went from being my #1 fan and wanting to sign me to bein my BIGGEST HATER #facts. Although he didn’t directly mention Yo Gotti’s name, it was quite clear who he directed his aggression at.


King of Memphis (2016)

At the beginning of February, 2016 Yo Gottifinally announced the release date for his highly-anticipated album The Art of Hustle. The album, which Gotti’s hyped for several years, would finally see the light of day later that month, February 19.

Coincidentally or not, about a week after Gotti made his announcement, and a day before Dolph took to twitter to label Gotti his “biggest hater,” on February 9th, Dolph broke the news that his new album will also be released on February 19. Titled King of Memphis, this was a phrase commonly used by Yo Gotti in reference to himself. Although Gotti declined a response, the rap community assumed this was a direct shot from Dolph to Gotti, as his aspirations now aimed at dethroning Gotti as the Memphis King. Dolph himself also never confirmed this theory, stating in various interviews surrounding the album’s announcement that he either would not speak on any Gotti beef “(I don’t got nothing to do with that”) or that there was no issue in the first place (“Really it ain’t no issue with me, it’s just how I feel about everything, one thing don’t just apply to Yo Gotti, it’s just how I’m feeling”).

Later that same month, during a larger press run including appearances on Hot97’s Ebro in the Morning and The Breakfast Club, Dolph attempted to squash any beef rumors with Gotti by claiming that their rivalry has been “really overstated.” When asked why he called his album King Of Memphis, Dolph denied taking shots at Gotti, instead, he insisted that the album title was inspired by Gotti. “All my partners King, everybody got some paper,” Dolph said. “Everybody move like I move, and they morals and all of that.”


Blac Youngsta Interferes on Yo Gotti’s Behalf (2016)

The feud took an ugly turn the following month, when Blac Youngsta (a talent Yo Gotti would sign to his CMG label in 2015, following the unsuccessful attempt at signing Dolph the year prior) took to Instagram with threats directed at Young Dolph.

On March 2nd, 2016, Blac Youngsta posted a video with him saying “Dolph you a bitch, you a soft ass nigga, if you got a problem, say you got a problem.” He then called out Dolph’s birth certificate and the fact that he was born in Chicago, not Memphis. “You ain’t even from the city, bitch.” He captioned this video with a threat, “When I CE DAT NIGGA @YoungDolph IM SMACK THE SHIT OUT EM, ON MY LIFE.” The post has since been deleted.

The following day, Blac Youngsta posted yet another video aimed at Young Dolph. This video shows Youngsta and several members from his crew, stalking the streets of Castalia, a neighborhood in Memphis where Young Dolph resides, heavily armed, searching for Dolph. Youngsta repeatedly shouts “Where he at?” and then proclaims “I love Castalia but I don’t fuck with Dolph.”

A few days later, during an interview with Tim Westwood, Yo Gotti gave out some advice to his signee Blac Youngsta, stating “You know I don’t move like that. I’m going to always tell, not only him but, any youngin’ don’t handle your business like that.” Funnily enough, a year later Blac would echo those sentiments in our interview with the rapper: “I don’t like how Gotti move. He don’t move like I move.”

On March 16, after weeks of silence, Young Dolph showed up on Instagram, writing: “First thang first everybody kno it’s u HO GOTTI dats sendin your artist out to say da lame shit he been sayin and doin.” He followed this with another post saying: I GUESS U STILL MAD CAUSE I DIDN”T NEVER SIGN WIT YO PUSSY ASS.”

The next day, Blac Youngsta retaliated with a diss track titled “Shake Sum.” He threatens Dolph by rapping “A Dolph don’t wanna play, hoe/I’m on tour with the K, hoe…How the fuck you King of Memphis, you ain’t from the city, nigga you from Chicago/Fuck boy you better lay low, killers move when I say so.”

Later that year, in September 2016, Blac Youngsta declared the beef over, “I’m not beefing with Dolph no more,” he stated. “That’s over with.”


Play Wit Yo Bitch (2017)

It seemed as if the war between the two Memphis rappers ended, until Young Dolph dealt a devastating blow earlier this year when he released “Play Wit Yo Bitch,” in February. In addition to the single’s cover art featuring a screen shot from his supposed iPhone, showing a cool 24 missed calls from somebody named “Ho’ Gotti Baby Momma,” Dolph raps: “Don’t play with me Ho Gotti you a hoe mane/you went from my biggest fan to my biggest hater/Begging me to sign with you but I had too much paper.” It’s a vicious attack which also references a supposed affair with the mother of Yo Gotti’s child. The track appeared after months of apparent peace between the two parties.

The same day, Yo Gotti dropped a series of tweets which saw him shaking off the song. He boasted about his accomplishments by tweeting: “I’m business partners wit LA Reid N Jay Z.” He tweeted a follow-up minutes later simply stating: “Blah blah blah.” A few days later, when interviewed about the diss track, Young Dolph explained his actions on DJ Holiday’s Radio Show by stating, “His last two mixtapes he’s trying to sneak diss Dolph…It’s like you playin. You wanna play? I ain’t gonna play how you wanna play…He don’t know how to respond. ‘Cause there ain’t no response.” 

Yo Gotti responded by releasing a track titled “Don’t Beef Wit Me (Young Dolph diss),” which brought another CMG signee into the mix – Moneybagg Yo. The song was released in a larger mixtape compilation from DJ Eddie Gramz.

Whereas Dolph went the maximalist route by directly referencing Gotti on multiple occasions, Gotti preferred a subtler direction. The song doesn’t mention Dolph, but the lyrics still serve as a warning to the young rapper, or any rapper, who speaks ill-will towards Gotti’s name. Young Dolph’s response came later that month with the drop for the “Play Wit Yo Bitch” official music video. In the clip, Dolph hires a Gotti imposter who wears an outrageous fur coat and drinks lean like water. It’s an obvious caricature representing Yo Gotti.

On February 25, 2017 Young Dolph was driving around Charlotte, North Carolina when somebody unloaded over 100 rounds into his SUV. Thankfully, the rapper’s vehicle was bulletproof and nobody suffered any injuries. In response to the apparent attempt on his life, Dolph seemingly tweeted out: “you loose,” making light of the situation with a cry-laughing emoji.

 Three months later, come May, the police issued Blac Youngsta an arrest warrant after deeming him a suspect. Youngsta turned himself into authorities but maintained his innocence. The same night of the shooting, Young Dolph performed at a local venue in Charlotte and played “Fuck Wit Yo Bitch,” which fans took as a warning to Yo Gotti.

In March, following the drive-by, Young Dolph spoke with HipHopDX and declared the war over. “It’s old news, you know what I’m saying,” Dolph said. “I didn’t have time to play with it first. I found a little time to play with it.”

Since May, the feud between these three has been relatively quiet — we haven’t received any updates concerning Blac’s legal state of affairs, nor has any artist sent obvious shots one way or another.

With Young Dolph in stable condition since the shooting occurred Tuesday, andYo Gotti’s name distanced from the LAPD, it’s unclear whether this beef is truly over like Dolph claimed several months ago, or if it’s just starting to begin, all over again.

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