Coming on the scene with stern club bangers and cold punch lines, Memphis-based rapper Young Dolph became a local hero via a series of mixtapes before breaking nationwide around 2014. Born Adolph Thornton, Jr. in Chicago, Dolph debuted in 2008 with the mixtape Paper Route Campaign. Subsequent releases like The Weed Album and South Memphis Kingpin brought him to 2012, when he dropped the first in a successful series of mixtapes dubbed High Class Street Music. By the time High Class Street Music 4 and the "Preach" single dropped in 2014, Dolph was working with major-label producers including Drumma Boy and Zaytoven. Both provided tracks for his 2016 debut LP, King of Memphis, which featured no guest artists and debuted at number 49 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. A trio of mixtapes followed, ending with Rich Crack Baby. The album entered the Billboard 200 upon release and included guest appearances by Boosie Badazz, 2 Chainz, Wale, T.I., Gucci Mane, and 21 Savage. Another mixtape, Gelato, followed in early 2017, containing the Yo Gotti diss track "Play wit Yo' Bitch," as well as tracks featuring Migos, Wiz Khalifa, and Lil Yachty. Dolph's second studio album, Bulletproof, was released in April of 2017 and reached the Top 40 of the Billboard 200. Mere months later, he issued Thinking Out Loud, which featured guest spots by DRAM, Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz, and Ty Dolla $ign. The album was another success, hitting number 16 on the Billboard 200.
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