Adolph Robert Thornton became an influential rapper under the stage name Young Dolph. Two gunmen tragically murdered him in November 2021.
Young Dolph released his debut album ‘King of Memphis’ in 2016 and became an important figure in the rap and hip-hop scene with his self-styled rap flow that separated him from his fellow Memphis contemporaries.
We bring you some of Young Dolph best songs that highlight his talents. Although his music career ended, his influence carried on. He collaborated with rap legend O.T. Genasis on “Cut it.” Dolph also used his star power to record with his cousin Key Glock on the song “Major,” which charted at 47 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs
Young Dolph Best Songs
Young Dolph knew all about 100 Shots, though, at the time of the release of this epic hit, which reached #10 on the US Bubbling Under 100 Hot Singles, that shooting incident lay in his future.
The song’s theme discusses finding your focus and staying the course regardless of the obstacles. Dolph certainly understood the dynamics of his lyrics and the power they imparted to listeners. One could say this hit contains the best lyrics from Young Dolph’s old songs.
Poetic and to the point, “100 Shots” allows outsiders to glimpse a world that resonates or causes astonishment. It’s another great hit with a number in the title.
“Major” is the successful collaboration with his cousin-in-law Key Glock featured on the album ‘Role Model’, released in 2018. The tune charted at #47 on RIAA and made platinum.
Young Dolph had a gift of storytelling through his music. Using his skill, “Major” tells the story of how a young man navigates on the journey of success. The song’s popularity is evident, with over 114 million YouTube views. Major is a hit from Young Dolph’s Best Album.
The song’s catchy vibe and intense video make this a must-have tune.
“Play Wit Yo Bitch”
Young Dolph had a knack for showcasing his sultry voice above his unfiltered rap beat. Pay Wit Yo Bitch is another example of how Young Dolph is the boss of his empire.
Digging deeper into the lyrics, listeners may discover that the tune rehashes his feelings about rapper Yo Gotti who tried to sign him to his record label. While the song doesn’t insinuate anything, it states the obvious that Dolph felt no respect toward Gotti.
Dolph’s strong vocals dominate this track and deliver another insight into the artist’s thought process. Anyone new to the rap realm of Young Dolph and wondering about the PRE bling swinging from his neck: it’s promoting his record label Paper Route Empire.
While Dolph was a talented musician, he also had a knack for inventing successful business empires. The song has a sad undertone, and if you translate the lyrics, you might discover that the singer had strong emotions and connections to his family. Not sure the line about Ike Turner appeals to everyone’s sensibilities.
Young Dolph had a powerful impact on his audience, and “Preach” speaks to a common ground he shared openly. The song was hugely successful upon release, becoming another classic that portrays Dolph’s strong character and survival instinct.
One of his earlier hit songs, “Preach,” looks at giving control of your life away to others. Young Dolph and his family faced many struggles that he convincingly shared through his music and cemented his courage to stand on his own. It’s definitely a top 5 Young Dolph song.
“I Pray For My Enemies”
Young Dolph certainly experienced many influences in his life but remained true to himself even when success knocked. With fame also came an entourage of haters who wanted nothing more than to tear him down.
Dolph understood hardships and the courage it takes to climb above. The powerful lyrics detail how despite everything, he wouldn’t succumb to the hate that others try to entrap him with. Dolph stuck to his music and family and watched his success thrive despite the angst.
“Water on Water on Water”
This spunky tune is another collab with Key Glock and reached over 42 million YouTube views. It’s a track on the ‘Dum and Dummer’ album, spoofing the movie Dumb and Dummer.
The video is entertaining and has a solid sound beat that makes a listener instantly like the song. Dolph and Key Glock encapsulate the treacherous route of the rap game with the insinuations hidden beneath the lyrics. The video is worth watching and listening to with a set of mini-speakers.
If anyone understood the challenges of real life, Young Dolph certainly had a solid grasp. Released on his ‘King of Memphis’ album, the song is another version of how his life struggles turned him into the man he became.
Money, and the lack of it, motivated Dolph to take chances. When money came, it changed and influenced his thinking. Watching the video, viewers see a rawness that almost makes him vulnerable.
Dolph fans adore this song because it resonates with their own dreams.
Who doesn’t love licking a gelato cone, but this song has an edge that is authentic spitter rap. The song is another rendition of his life and what it took to scale the challenges. It’s also a diss on Yo Gotti and the power of turning down a deal that isn’t right.
Gelato signifies wealth and how he’s still dealing with the fallout. The background keyboard is spooky but suits the track. Young Dolph has seen his share of violence. In 2017, he took several bullets that nearly killed him. In November of the same year, he was fatally shot by two gunmen at a local store. The murder suspects were later arrested.
This song contains Young Dolph’s best lyrics. There is a real maturity in the music about his feelings and experiences during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Young Dolph reached not only his fans with this song’s message. The lyrics emphasize how the pandemic connects us while separating us simultaneously. It’s also one of the hardest Young Dolph songs to listen to because a year later, he died.
“Hall Of Fame”
“Gotta put me up there with the greatest, man,” declares Dolph. “Hall Of Fame” sees the rapper describing how his life has changed and all the riches and opportunities that his music has brought him. He offers advice to younger artists and tells them that they can reach the same heights as him if they’re just willing to put in the same work – he’s a “hustler” and built his own career from nothing.
“Hall Of Fame” was the first single released posthumously by Paper Route EMPIRE, to celebrate what would have been the rapper’s 37th birthday. The rapper’s death puts the song in a new context – “Hall Of Fame” celebrates Dolph’s legacy and the lasting impact of his work.
“To Be Honest”
“To Be Honest” lives up to its name – Young Dolph doesn’t hold back from saying exactly what he thinks. He’s upfront with his girlfriend about the way he operates, he candidly tells the listener that he spent “350 on a neckpiece”, and he’s open about his humble beginnings and how far he’s come. “To be honest, I don’t care ‘bout your opinion, where the check?” he raps.
The track features production from Juicy J. Dolph references this at the beginning of the track, as he attempts an impression of Juicy. “What Juicy say?” he asks. “He be like, ‘Shut the f*** up’”.
Young Dolph explores personal relationships and disagreements in “Believe Me” as he details how he told his friends: “We don’t compete, we shine together.” He explains how whilst his career has made him a lot of money, it’s also lost him plenty of once-loyal friends. He now has a one-track mind – “Ain’t nothing more important than getting this money, believe me.”
After being shot at in California, Dolph was rushed to the hospital. About a month after the incident, he dropped “Believe Me”, the lead single from his album Thinking Out Loud. In the music video, Dolph is shown rapping in the hospital, leading people to believe that he finished shooting the video whilst still in recovery from his injuries.
“Penguins” ft Key Glock
Young Dolph and Key Glock rap about being ‘iced up’ in this hustlers anthem. Over a slightly spooky beat, the two explain the unlikely thing they have in common with a certain black and white bird – they’re “froze”. Dolph talks about how he’s always had a hustlers mindset since he was a kid, so it’s no surprise that he’s ended up where he has.
Dolph feels dissatisfied with his life in “Get Away”. Feeling that rapping comes too easy to him and music isn’t as fulfilling as he thought it might be, he fantasises about throwing it all away. “F*** some fame, f*** a Grammy,” he raps.
“Wish I could go be with my granny.” No one knows who he really is and he can’t be sure if girls actually love him for him or for his money and fame. The only thing that really provides him an escape is drugs, which he’s starting to find himself leaning too heavily on.
“Hold Up Hold Up Hold Up”
“We was down for so long, didn’t have no choice but to go up,” raps Dolph. He speaks about how there’s “no such thing as luck”, and instead success is what you make it. Having such a disadvantaged start made him all the more determined to make something of himself, and that’s exactly what he ended up doing. Even though it isn’t easy and he’s had to make sacrifices and cut off jealous friends, it’s worth it to go from a life where his mum and dad didn’t even have a car to driving donuts in his Bentley.
“Meech” comes from Dolph’s 2017 album, Gelato. It sees the rapper speak about outdoing his rivals, particularly when it comes to two areas: making money and getting girls. He’s “counting while you sleep” and wearing “Roberto Cavalli every day”. His lifestyle makes him feel like he’s always on top, and “Meech” sees him enjoying that feeling and playing up everything that makes his life great.
“I just walked in Barneys, spent a 40 by mistake,” raps Dolph in “By Mistake”. He’s making so much money that he can afford to make expensive mistakes, take a girl out on a “million dollar date” and spent “half of million just on furniture”. But Dolph can also afford to make other mistakes as well.
He confesses that he received a DUI and can’t be behind the wheel of a car anymore – but when you’re making the money that he is, you don’t worry so much about stopping at a red light, because you’re always on the go. It doesn’t seem as if receiving a DUI has held him back too much.
Dolph makes it clear in “Large Amounts” that he’s in the position he’s in because he’s willing to work hard. “Sold my soul to the trap, got my money and took it back,” he raps. He wants to keep people close to him who he’s known all his life and feels he can really trust, because he’s not messing around with music.
He calls himself the hardest worker in the industry and he’s making sure he’s always getting large amounts. But he also knows that there’s a dark side to the industry, and sometimes he feels like he’s dancing with the devil.
“No Sense” ft Key Glock
Dolph teams up with Key Glock again for an exploration of the crazy world they’ve found themselves in. He’s gone from living in “the slums” to taking his girl to browse racks of Prada, and he feels his life is now like a movie. “This sh*t don’t make no sense,” he raps. ‘No Sense’ comes from Dolph’s 2020 album, Rich Slave.
“1 Scale” ft G Herbo
Dolph brings G Herbo in on “1 Scale”, a high-energy track that sees the two rappers talk about their histories and life stories. They’re both big names in their neighbourhoods, young boys who worked their way up and now find themselves with more money than they ever thought they’d make. But they’re also not unaware that they have arch-rivals and that many people around them don’t have their best interests at heart.
Many fans are left to mourn in silence over the untimely and senseless death of a talented musician and philanthropist. Young Dolph never forgot his roots or his people.
Listing the best Young Dolph Songs doesn’t do justice to his immense talent. Hip Hop and Rap aren’t on everyone’s playlist, but Young Dolph deserves respect and a listen. If circumstances were different, we’d all listen to many of Young Dolph’s number-one hits.
Photo: Young Dolph performing at Rolling Loud in Miami (Photo by Dan Garcia)
Caitlin Devlin is a music, entertainment and lifestyle writer based in London. When she’s not creating playlists for Repeat Replay, she’s reviewing gigs and interviewing artists for Ticketmaster UK and thinking about what her Spotify Wrapped will look like this year.