Over the past two decades, the South has made major waves, with artists from cities like Atlanta, Houston, Miami and New Orleans all producing rap legends. But one town that has had as much of an influence as any of those other locales is Memphis, Tenn., which has surely become a hotbed for top-tier rap talent. Three 6 Mafia, 8Ball & MJG and Project Pat, among other standout acts, helped lay the foundation of hip-hop in Bluff City.
In recent years, Memphis' brightest rap star has been Yo Gotti, who has emerged as a popular figure in the rap game, with singles like "I Know" and his smash hit "Down in the DM" both upping the formerly independent hustler's profile nationally. In addition to building his popularity, Yo Gotti has also built a small empire for himself with his CMG imprint, which houses fellow Memphis spitters like Snootie Wild and Blac Youngsta, among others.
However, while Yo Gotti may be the most established Memphis artist to emerge this decade, he has found a bit of competition in the form of Young Dolph, a Chicago-born, Memphis-raised rapper who has also been making major noise of his own. Launching Paper Route Empire in 2008, Young Dolph began making waves with his High Class Street Music mixtape series, leading to collaborative projects with Gucci Mane and Peewee Longway. Enjoying a breakout year in 2015, by the end of the year, Dolph, whom Yo Gotti had once attempted to sign to his CMG imprint, was beginning to rival his city's elder statesmen in terms of buzz and fanfare, which would ultimately create a rift between the two.
With the beef coming to a head in 2016, the two would feud throughout the year, with Young Dolph being a bit of an aggressor, speaking more openly than Gotti on record. The two would continue sending shots at each other well into 2017.
Here's a timeline of the beef between Young Dolph and Yo Gotti, from how it began, to where the two sides currently stand.
Young Dolph Declines Record Deal From Yo GottiAugust 2014
In 2014, following the release of his mixtape, High Class Street Music 4: American Gangster, Young Dolph would make an appearance on Sway in the Morning to discuss the project. During the interview, Dolph would touch on his decision not to sign a record deal with Yo Gotti, explaining that he would rather see his own investment in himself through than latch onto another artist's movement. Dolph would later point to Yo Gotti taking offense to Dolph's decision as the root of their beef, although Gotti has never confirmed that notion.
Young Dolph Disses Yo Gotti on TwitterFeb. 11, 2016
The friction between Young Dolph and Yo Gotti became apparent On Feb. 11, 2016, when Dolph sent a subliminal shot at his Memphis counterpart. Using Twitter to let his feelings be known, Dolph alleged that Yo Gotti wasn't fond of his growing success, tweeting, "Bra went from bein my #1 fan and wanting to sign me to bein my BIGGEST HATER" in reference to Gotti's failed attempt to ink Dolph to his CMG label. Despite Dolph not mentioning Gotti by name, it was clear who Dolph's words were aimed at and would set off a chain of events that would result in the beef escalating quickly.
Young Dolph Titles His New Album King of MemphisFeb. 18, 2016
Young Dolph raised a few eyebrows in February of 2016, when it was announced that he would be naming his debut album, King of Memphis. Fellow Memphis rapper Yo Gotti had repeatedly referred to himself as the "King of Memphis," so Dolph's album title seemed like a shot directed at Gotti. Although Gotti would make no public comment on Dolph's decision, those in the Memphis rap scene, as well as the rap community as a whole, considered the title a slight towards Gotti, and Dolph's attempt at overtaking the throne.
Young Dolph Downplays Beef With Yo GottiFebruary 2016
During an appearance on Hot 97's Ebro in the Morning show in February 2016, Young Dolph downplayed his beef with Yo Gotti, going as far as to acknowledge the rapper as being one of his earliest supporters. "It's really overstated," Dolph responded when asked about the rumored tension between the two Memphis reps.
Young Dolph also cleared the air about the title of his LP, King of Memphis, stating that it wasn't meant to be a diss of any kind and that it was more inspired by him and his crew's mentality. “All my partners King, everybody got some paper, everybody move like I move, and they morals and all of that,” Dolph explained, quieting concerns of a brewing war for the crown of Memphis rap.
Blac Youngsta Says He'll Slap Young DolphMarch 2, 2016
The Young Dolph and Yo Gotti beef began to take a turn for the worse on March 2, 2017, when Gotti's CMG artist Black Youngsta posted a clip on his own Instagram account disparaging Dolph and calling into question his claim of being "King of Memphis."
“Dolph you a bitch, you a soft ass nigga, if you got a problem, say you got a problem,” says Youngsta in the video, which has since been removed from his Instagram account. He then went on to further diss Dolph, calling him a “Bitch ass nigga," before adding "You ain’t even no King of Memphis, he ain’t from the city, bitch.”
He would also threaten Young Dolph in the post's caption, writing, “WHEN I C DAT NIGGA @YOUNGDOLPH IMA SMACK THE SHIT OUT EM, ON MY LIFE," leaving no question as to the drama between Young Dolph and Yo Gotti being as real as the rumors had suggested.
Black Youngsta Shows Up in Young Dolph's NeighborhoodMarch 2, 2016
After first levying threats against Young Dolph on behalf of Yo Gotti, Blac Youngsta upped the ante by showing up in Young Dolph's stomping grounds in Memphis with a few of his goons. Capturing the scene on video, Blac Youngsta and his crew took a stroll through South Memphis' Castalia neighborhood on the hunt for Young Dolph while armed with heavy artillery. Although Blac Youngsta and company would not run into Dolph, the clip was enough to know that this particular beef is deeper than rap.
Yo Gotti Speaks on Blac Youngsta's Beef With Young DolphMarch 12, 2016
When Blac Youngsta began dissing Young Dolph, many blieved that Yo Gotti was responsible for his artist's decision to take the beef into his own hands, but the CMG boss would state otherwise. During an interview with Tim Westwood, Yo Gotti wouldn't address a beef with Young Dolph, but would comment on Blac Youngsta's recent antics and threats against Gotti's rival.
“Lil’ homie on the team so I’m going to always give him the proper advice that I believe I should give him from like a big brother standpoint or just being the homie standpoint," Gotti states in the clip. "My advice you know I don’t move like that. I’m going to always tell, not only him but, any youngin’ don’t handle your business like this.”
Young Dolph Disses Yo Gotti and Blac YoungstaMarch 16, 2016
After taking the high road for the most part in regards to his beef with Yo Gotti and Blac Youngsta, on March 16, 2016, Young Dolph responded with a few words of his own, via his Instagram account. Posting a series of clips, Dolph would spare no words, accusing Gotti of hating on Memphis rap legends like Three 6 Mafia, 8Ball & MJG and others, as well as sending Blac Youngsta to fight his battle and calling the cops on him.
"First thang first everybody kno it's u HO GOTTI, dats sendin your artist out to say da lame shit he been sayin and doin," Dolph wrote in his Instagram caption, adding, "I GUESS U STILL MAD CAUSE I DIDN'T NEVER SIGN WIT YO PUSSY ASS.. Or is u still in your feelings cause u fail out wit Gucci Mane and u was mad at me cause I kept rockin wit Gucci."
He would later post a picture of a slew of the Memphis rap acts who paved the way for him, all the while continuing to chastise and belittle Yo Gotti, officially throwing down the gauntlet and putting the "Down in the DM" rapper on notice.
Blac Youngsta Releases Song Dissing Young DolphMarch 17, 2016
In response to Young Dolph's comments about him and Yo Gotti, Black Youngsta would waste little time and returning the favor in the form of a diss track, "Shake Sum."
Released on March 17, 2016, a day after Dolph's comment, "Shake Sum" saw Blac Youngsta discrediting Young Dolph's ties to Memphis and his claim to being a king in the city. “A Dolph don’t wanna play, hoe/I’m on tour with the K, hoe/Mac 11’s, Smith-N-Wessons, extended clip, 100 rounds on the Drago/How the fuck you the King of Memphis, you ain’t from the city, nigga you from Chicago/Fuck boy you better lay low, killers move when I say so,” the CMG artist spits, as he reiterates his feelings about his mentor's friend-turned-foe.
Blac Youngsta Squashes Beef With Young DolphSept. 9, 2016
On Sept. 9, 2016, months after exchanging words with Young Dolph, Blac Youngsta declared the beef as squashed during an interview. Sharing that Yo Gotti actually liked Young Dolph despite their tension, Youngsta laid the beef to rest on his end, but Dolph would not acknowledge that the war of words were over, leaving the door open for further turmoil.
Young Dolph Drops "Play With Yo' Bitch"Feb. 1, 2017
Young Dolph dropped a bomb in the form of "Play Wit Yo' Bitch," a diss track levied against Yo Gotti that saw the rising star taking the gloves off and throwing jabs below the belt. In addition to vicious broadsides like “I don’t know no gangstas that beef with dykes” and alluding to having relations with the mother of Gotti's child, Dolph also paints his nemesis as a hater, rapping, "You came up rapping dissing Three 6 Mafia."
Released in promotion of Dolph's Gelato mixtape, "Play With Yo' Bitch" continues the beef between him and Yo Gotti, proving that all love between the two was certainly lost.
Yo Gotti Responds to Dolph's Diss TrackFeb. 1, 2017
With Yo Gotti taking the high road and staying mum on his beef with Young Dolph, many were curious as to what his response would be to Dolph's scathing diss track, "Play With Yo' Bitch," but fans didn't have to wait long to have that question answered. Hopping on social media shortly after the song was released, Yo Gotti would subliminally allude to being unbothered and unconcerned with his counterparts words, boasting of his partnership with heavyweights like Jay Z and L.A. Reid, and posting a photo of himself, with the caption "Never Distracted." However, this would be Gotti's only acknowledgment of the diss song, as he would not unleash one of his own.
Young Dolph Accuses Yo Gotti of Sneak-Dissing Him on SongsFeb. 9, 2017
Due to Blac Youngsta publicly deading the beef between himself, Yo Gotti and Young Dolph, many were taken aback by Dolph's decision to drop a diss song and reignite the beef. However, Young Dolph would expand on his course of action and what inspired it on Feb. 9, 2017, during an appearance on DJ Holiday's radio show.
“His last two mixtapes, he’s trying to sneak diss Dolph,” Dolph said, referring to Yo Gotti. “It’s like, you playin. You wanna play? I ain’t going play how you wanna play. We going play how I wanna play. I’m going to expose you. Facts on top of facts. He don’t know how to respond. 'Cause there ain’t no response.”
The 'mixtapes' Dolph was referring to was Cocaine Muzik 9: White Friday and Gotti's studio album The Art of Hustle, the latter of which outsold Dolph's King of Memphis album, which was released on the same day.
Yo Gotti Drops Diss Track Aimed at Young DolphFeb. 11, 2017
Keeping silent and refusing to entertain beef between himself and Young Dolph, Yo Gotti appeared to have had enough, unleashing a diss track of his own, titled "Don't Beef With Me," on Feb. 11, 2017. Opting not to call out Young Dolph by name, Gotti would instead play the subliminal game, resulting in the record, which featured CMG artist MoneyBagg Yo and Blac Youngsta, amounting to more of a warning shot than an all-out attack.
Young Dolph Releases "Play With Yo' Bitch" VideoFeb. 24, 2017
Building on the momentum of his "Play With Yo' Bitch" diss track, Young Dolph doubled down on his attack on Yo Gotti, unveiling an accompanying music video to further poke fun at the CMG boss. Casting a Yo Gotti look-alike in the visual, Dolph would make a mockery of his enemy, without an ounce of remorse.
Young Dolph's Vehicle Gets Shot UpFeb. 25, 2017
The rap community took a deep breath when it was reported that Young Dolph was the target of a shooting in Charlotte, N.C., in which over 100 rounds were fired at his vehicle. Fortunately, Dolph was unscathed, due to the SUV he was riding in being bulletproof, but the incident did little to phase the Memphis rapper. He hit the stage at a local venue later that night, where he performed his Yo Gotti diss track "Play With Yo' Bitch," a sign that what many deemed as a message in relation to his beef with Yo Gotti, was not a deterrent in any fashion.
Young Dolph Refers to Yo Gotti Beef as "Old News"March 7, 2017
Spending much of February 2017 waging war against Yo Gotti, Young Dolph now appears to be over the situation and focused on the future instead of the past. “That’s old news, you know what I’m sayin? It’s old,” Dolph said during an interview on March 7, 2017, when asked about his beef with Yo Gotti.
Young Dolph would also keep it scarce in regards to his comments about the Charlotte shooting that had occurred weeks earlier. Whether that means the beef between the two Memphis reps has died down for good is yet to be seen, but for now, it appears the battle has been put to rest for the time being.
Young Dolph Shot In HollywoodSeptember 26, 2017
Months after declaring his beef with Yo Gotti as "old news," news broke that Young Dolph was the victim of a shooting in Hollywood and rushed to the hospital. While details were scarce, it was reported that Dolph was outside of Shoe Palace, near the intersection of Hollywood and Highland, at the time of the shooting.
Yo Gotti Named Person of Interest in Young Dolph ShootingSeptember 26, 2017
Hours after reports of rapper Young Dolph being shot in Hollywood, news broke that Yo Gotti was named as a person of interest by the LAPD. Sources said that Yo Gotti and Young Dolph were both staying at the Loews Hotel at the time of the shooting and members of both entourages got into an argument that escalated into a fistfight, which ended in gunfire, leaving Dolph wounded.
LAPD Says Yo Gotti Not a Person of Interest in Young Dolph ShootingSeptember 27, 2017
Following reports of Young Dolph being shot in Hollywood, TMZ reported that the LAPD had named Yo Gotti as a person of interest in connection to the shooting. However, it was later clarified that those reports were unfounded when XXL reached out to the LAPD.
Yo Gotti Associate Charged With Attempted Murder In Young Dolph ShootingSeptember 27, 2017
A day after news broke of Young Dolph's being shot in Hollywood, LAPD announced that an associate of Yo Gotti was charged with attempted murder in connection to the incident. According to Det. Meghan Aguilar, a spokeswoman for the LAPD, Corey McClendon, a member of Yo Gotti's entourage, was arrested the day after the shooting and held on $1 million bail. At the time of McClendon's arrest, LAPD were still looking for two other men believed to have been involved in the fight with Young Dolph that could possibly be connected to the shooting.
Yo Gotti Associate Released Without ChargesSeptember 28, 2017
After being arrested on suspicion of attempted murder the day prior in connection to the attempt on Young Dolph's life, Yo Gotti associate Corey McClendon was released without charges. Law enforcement have yet to make any other arrests in connection to their investigation.