In the grand scheme of what is big in considered big in trap music, It seems like most of the rappers from Memphis have always been overlooked. This has always seemed weird to me, because so many trap artists over the years have talked about rappers from Memphis when asked who their inspirations are. The world has always seemed to catch on to how good the hip hop artists from this area are way after they stop trying to make mainstream music. One great example of this is Three 6 Mafia. If you would ask your favorite rapper today who their favorite rapper was growing up, I guarantee a lot of them would say Three 6 Mafia. I mean, just listen to how many Juicy J references Megan Thee Stallion makes on her latest record. One current Memphis rapper who I think is getting similar treatment to Three 6 is Young Dolph. Dolph has continued to put out so much heat throughout the 2010s, and for some reason he has not been able to burst out of the underground. I mean even fellow Memphis rapper Yo Gotti has ended up with a couple of top 20 hits. The most success Dolph has gotten was his verse on the viral OT Genasis hit, ‘Cut it.’ Don’t get me wrong, I think Yo Gotti is good, but Dolph has always been so much better. He has some of the best flows in all of rap music, and he continues to rap on the hardest and scariest trap beats he can find. This man’s metaphors are hilarious and awesome, and deep and heavy voice makes his music so infectious to me. I seriously do think that Dolph will be thought of as every rapper’s favorite rapper in about ten years, but I really hope he starts getting the recognition he deserves before then.
If you want to get into a true rags to riches story, start looking into Young Dolph. Dolph is a true blue gutter crack baby, having been born from a crack addicted mom and raised by crack addicted parents. He talked about how he had to raise his siblings, since his parents were not capable of doing so. He talks about being a crack baby on his song ‘In My System.’ A lot of people have interpreted this track as him celebrating the use of crack cocaine, but Dolph was saying he was really born with that shit in his system. It is amazing he has made it this far, because most crack babies end up homeless or dead at an early age. Dolph was ushered into the trap life. He has talked about how he saw someone get shot at just nine years old. I can imagine that seeing this would really affect your perspective on life. Because he was always so heavily focused on is gang activity, Dolph did not actually start rapping until 2008. He got into music because he had friends that were making it, and he thought it looked fun. He has stated that he has always loved music, and he did not start making it for the money. From 2008-2013, Dolph was very popular among the Memphis hip hop scene, but could not seem to break through nationally. It was not until 2014, when he released his legendary mixtape High Class Street Music 4, that Young Dolph started to get the national attention he should have already been getting.
Keep it real with your dawg no matter what.(Preach.) Same bitch that claim she love you, she’ll set you up(Preach)…
Up until 2014, Young Dolph was only being recognized on a local level. This started to change when he released his mixtape High Class Street Music 4. The lead single of the mixtape, ‘Preach,’ became an underground hit seemingly over night. All of a sudden, clubs around the country were playing this banger. Most people appreciated this track for how blunt and in your face Dolph is; he really does not sugar coat anything at all, always telling you how he feels. The success of this track ended up getting Dolph in contact with a lot of major trap producers, who all wanted to make music with him because his flows are so cold. Because of this, Dolph was able to get a ton of high-quality production for his debut album, even though he released it with no label. This album, King of Memphis, was dropped in 2016 and contained no features, which is pretty rare for a trap rapper these days. My favorite track from this record in ‘Get Paid.’ I love the ringing bells and super heavy bass of the beat, and Young Dolph has such impeccable flow on this track it will definitely get you dancing. Dolph did not want the success afforded from this album to go in vain, and immediately dropped his biggest mixtape to date in 2017, Gelato. The biggest song off of this tape was his diss of Yo Gotti, ‘Play With Yo Bitch.’ This diss may not have been the best idea Dolph has ever had, because it almost immediately had consequences.
Hundred shots! Hundred shots! How the fuck you miss a whole hundred shots?
If you thought the beef that you hear about between certain rappers was fake or for publicity, just know that when someone is talking about Yo Gotti and Young Dolph, that beef is so real. On two separate occasions, once in late 2016 and once in 2017, members of Yo Gotti’s entourage shot at Young Dolph, causing a non-life threatening injury in 2017. Yo Gotti talks about this on multiple occasions on what is probably his most popular project to date, 2017’s Bulletproof. The quote that you see above is from the iconic track, ‘100 Shots.’ At this point, Young Dolph must think he is invincible. Another one of my favorite tracks from this record is ‘That’s how I Feel,’ which features Gucci Mane. The instrumental for this track is so big and triumphant, and Dolph is as cocky as ever on this one. Because Dolph never seems to stop working, in 2018 we got another great album from the Memphis trap star. Role Model was released near the end of 2018, and is definitely one of the biggest sleeper albums from last year. My favorite track from this record is definitely ‘Major’ featuring Key Glock. This song is pretty much your basic super hard hitting Memphis style trap banger, and the chemistry between these two rappers is just awesome. I highly suggest checking this song out. Another great song from this record is ‘Think I Can Fly’ featuring Snoop Dogg. Snoop’s influence on this track is super heavy, as the instrumental is like a west coast version of a trap track; it is very funky and smooth sounding. Dolph actually has not released any solo projects in 2019; the only thing he has released this year is a collaborative mixtape with fellow Memphis rapper Key Glock. Don’t sleep on this record. Trust me on that one. Just listen to the song ‘Water on Water on Water.’ You will be hooked.
I bet that casual rap fans would be surprised to hear that Young Dolph has been a top 15 most streamed rapper for the last few years. He does not seem to get the national media hype and attention that a lot of other rappers seem to get, though. I do not know if it is because his music is not pop enough or what else it could be, because I do hear his music in clubs and it definitely is party music. It is great that real rap fans know who Young Dolph is and how important his music is, but it is really time for the rap game as a whole to show him the support he deserves.
Although Young Dolph has been a very popular rapper in the underground since the early 2010s, I have always felt he is severely underrated in the eyes of the hip hop game as a whole. He has such a great command of the microphone and his sound is so hard hitting and unique, and rap music pundits just seem to ignore the fact that he is actually really popular. His lack of support from the industry reminds me of fellow Memphis rappers Three 6 Mafia; although they are considered legends today for their influence on how rap music sounds, they did not get nearly enough of the hype and respect and radio play that they deserved when they were actually making all of their hits. If you want to find out why I think Young Dolph is so great for yourself, check him out on Spotify below!