The Dolphland traveling pop-up museum gives fans an opportunity to celebrate the life and career of Young Dolph after his murder in November 2021 shocked the world.
Presented by the Memphis rapper’s label, Paper Route Empire, and The Trap Music Museum, the gallery invites all to explore the past and posthumous music he recorded and the legacy left by the man behind it.
Setting up shop in Los Angeles for GRAMMY weekend, the ticket price of $40 automatically enters purchasers into a $100k giveaway mirroring Young Dolph’s penchant for giving away cash. In Hollywood from Feb. 3-5, 2023, guests were invited to preview the exhibit.
“The professional and personal goal is to give us fans the opportunity to fellowship with his brand and show how strong his brand was and how much they loved him,” explained Young Dolph’s manager Allen Parks to VIBE. “So when we dropped the album [Paper Route Frank], we just wanted to drop the music and have something physical in the space for them to interact with.”
“We just wanted to have an opportunity to tell the story our way, and also give people the opportunity to see how much creativity went into this moment, how well thought out the process was,” added Krystal Garner, Director of Brand Strategy and Partnerships at Trap Music Museum.
“Also, of course, let people know about the new music that’s out to support, as well as the IdaMae Family Foundation, to support that as well.”
Dolph’s biggest records and hardest-hitting deep cuts blazed through speakers as guests explored multiple displays. Each room honored a different aspect of the legacy of a rapper gone too soon. Entering the venue, guests are welcomed with a biography and introduction to Young Dolph. Stepping into the gallery, the first room is a replica of what would be a grocery and convenience store on Castilia Corner where the “Old Ways” rapper used to hustle.
Throughout the venue, onlookers gazed at paintings, plaques, posters, and more, representing Young Dolph’s lasting position in Hip-Hop and trap music.
“The initial idea came from Street Execs and Paper Route. They reached out to me to take the general vision and then expand upon it and then make it into a reality with my team,” explained Skye Williams, curator and the creative director of Dolphland, to VIBE.
She continued, “I really wanted this to feel as authentic as possible to his fans. In the research for this, there was one thing that was prevalent and it was that a lot of people did not get the chance to accurately show their respects the way that they would’ve liked to. And so the biggest goal for the team and I, was to make sure that we were including every single piece of him as a man, as a father, as a family man, as a rapper, as an entrepreneur, as a philanthropic person in this experience, so that the legacy itself and his family are proud.”
The demand for the pop-up has exceeded the planned tour and now, organizers plan to extend the nationwide trek. Before Los Angeles, Dolphland was presented in New York City, Denver, and Dallas. Williams shared that the team has an 18-wheeler truck filled with Young Dolph items and art. The pop-up also sources local art in each city, creating a unique experience where no stop is the same.
“We started at 10, we have 12, we may push for 20,” shared Parks. “[fans are] screaming loud. They’re like, ‘come to our city.'” He hopes the biggest takeaway is that “Dolph an icon.”
Garner added, “We put a post up asking where we should go next, and there were so many cities that were listed. Now we have to really cycle through and see how we’re going to continue to push this through.”
For now, Dolphland has planned stops in Houston on Feb. 17-19, and Washington D.C. on March 10-12. Cities with soon-to-be-announced dates include San Antonio, Atlanta, Chicago, and Memphis, Tenn., and more. Visit the official website for details.