Young Dolph isn’t a household name just yet. But the Southern paper chaser is definitely on his way to wrecking havoc in the rap game. The tall, slender, laid back rhymeslinger hopes to do for his city what rappers Three-6-Mafia and Yo Gotti did before him — and that’s keeping Memphis banging like two Techs.
As CEO of Paper Route Empire, Dolph’s knack for hip-hop dates back to his snotty nose and nappy headed days. However, his mic skills came second to him hugging the block, a trait that he inherited from his parents. His personal stories on songs like “I Survived” about his parent’s drug addiction and his get rich or die trying mentality on “Sacrifice” showcase Dolph’s piercing eye for detail.
“Whenever I do something, I do something for real and be good at it,” Dolph said on his visit to VIBE’s offices. “I just knew that if I put out some music, it’s going to either show me that this ain’t what I really want to do or you about to take off. Since day one it’s been easy to me. I was never running into nothing negative.”
After dropping Welcome To Dolph World back in 2011, Dolph came harder with his High Class Street Music series which placed his name in Memphis underground circuit. But he didn’t stop there. Dolph continued to get his weight up by holding his own alongside heavy weights like Future, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz and Project Pat, to name a few.
Rocking an all black Nike hoodie, black jeans and a navy blue fitted staring through blood shot eyes from lack of sleep, Dolph and five of his stoned faced rollies storm into VIBE’s offices smelling of strong Mary Jane to talk his near fatal car accident, his grandmother, and how he got into the rap game.
VIBE: You know I’m from Mississippi, so I’m familiar with Southern culture. One thing about cities like Houston, Atlanta and Memphis — they love their local MCs.
Dolph: Nah, you ain’t from Mississippi [Laughing]. Look at him trying to rep the South. You ain’t from no Mississippi.
Real talk. I’m from Laurel, Mississippi. And I went to college in Hattiesburg—USM.
That’s what up. So you know what it is. You familiar with the movement.
No doubt. That’s how I know about the close-knit hip-hop communities in Houston and Memphis.
Every city rock with their locals, but it’s a different thing when it comes to the people outside of their city. For instance, if you pull up and go into a gas station and somebody ask you, ‘Hey man, buy my CD. Give me four dollars for my CD.’ Nine times out of ten you ain’t going to get it, you’ll be thinking that it’s wack and don’t want to hear it. So my thing was I got to take over. I ain’t even going to give people a chance to shoot me down. So I pressed up 20,000 CDs and I gave all of them away. I wasn’t asking for five dollars or nothing. I was just giving them away and it caught just like that.
Once I seen that the streets got behind it, I was like, ‘Damn, they fuck with it. They fuck with this shit for real. I can go in.’ So I went back and made a real CD.
How much of a role did your car wreck play in you deciding to get into the rap game?
That was a big part of it. I had three of them. The last two of them I flipped over. One of them I was on the way to Chicago, going to court and I fell asleep. It was about three or four in the morning, going about 70 or 80 when I flipped over the rail. We flipped like a muthafucker. Then, we flipped back onto the road and landed upside down. Man, that shit was scary as hell. I don’t want anybody to go through that shit. On everything I love I thought we were gone.
So it was after those accidents that you decided to go full throttle with this rap thing?
It was a couple of my partners around me that was like, ‘Man, you might as well put out a CD.’ I was like, ‘Man, hell no.’ And when I dropped it and when you see something go from 0-100. So, when I dropped that Dolph World it took over the whole city.
The accident was a blessing in disguise?
After that is when I started doing music. Then my grandmother passed. After that some more of my folks passed with lung cancer. I just knew that I was losing a whole lot of time being in the streets. Time that I could’ve been kicking it with my folks. It’s other ways to get money, but the life we come from all we know is the streets.
I know your parents struggled with drug addiction and your grandmother raised you because of that. How’s your relationship with your folks now?
It was a different thing in the ‘70s and ‘80s. The thing was cocaine then. It ain’t like now, you sell weed, you smoke some weed. That ain’t shit. Back then all the singers and everybody was on cocaine. That whole era was fucked up. Just me seeing that and being around that real young it just made me hungry.
But I got a good relationship with my mom and dad. There was a time when I was young that I accepted everything, how we were living and what they were doing. Then there was a time in my life when I got older and realized what was going on where I was like, ‘Forget them.’ That’s when I was with my grandmamma. But as you get older and you get in the streets yourself, you figure things out. Some people jump in the streets and it fuck their whole life up. Probably ten percent of the people that jump in the street can jump out of it, and it don’t fuck them up. They capitalize off it. But it ain’t too many of them like that. It was a different thing in the ‘70s and 80s.
About how old were you realized that hunger?
I was about fourteen years old. That’s when I started wanting money– A lot of money. That’s when I started hustling. My first hustle was cutting hair — cutting hair and selling weed. That’s what I was doing in school.
Back tracking to your grandmother. “Survived” is a deep song about her love.
She’s the one that changed my whole attitude toward my mom and dad. She said you only get one mom and dad. They’re your mom and dad no matter what. For her to say that I couldn’t do nothing but change. They get on my nerves, they do a lot of shit that I don’t, but my grandma’ been dealing with this shit three times as much as I been dealing with it. So if she can deal with the shit, I got to deal with it.
Your story and the obstacles that your mom and dad have overcome is an inspiring one, man.
They’re straight forever. I am not going to even lie. I look out for them before I look out for my own self. I can’t even recall the last time my mom and dad even paid bills. They been living on me, been straight as long as I been out here doing my thing.
Are you looking to sign with a major?
Right now I ain’t focused on that. I got too much going on. I know that game. When the right opportunity comes around then we’ll do it. But until then, I know how to make my own money. I know how to make myself hot. I can drop my own music. I can shoot my own videos. So, it just got to be right. The money got to be there.
What’s the most frustrating about this industry?
Being anxious. You be so anxious for it because you know how hungry you is. But you got to remember that everything is about timing. One of my closest partners been saying this since day one — everybody get their time. That’s with everything. And when it’s your time you just got to take advantage of it.
What do you feel your purpose is?
My family first. My brand is just about Young Dolph. When Young Dolph dead and gone, people still going to be talking about the Paper Route Empire. We got the hottest shit going on. Whether it come from filming, music, or whatever. That’s what it is. In this game it’s about respect. You can ask somebody for something or you can put them in a situation where they got the give you something. It’s a way around everything. You work hard enough everybody going to see it. You ain’t got to run your mouth. All you got to do is let you actions speak.
Stream Dolph’s High Class Street Music 5: The Plug Best Friend below.