Los Angeles, CA -- On Monday, May 18th, the Atlanta hip-hop scene lost one of its most promising up-and-comers, and the DJBooth lost one of its most supportive artists;
The Gang Ent/Konvict Muzik
was gunned down in a group altercation outside Los Angeles' Beverly Center Mall.
Born on November 25th, 1987, Roderick Anthony Vella Burton II faced adversity from an early age—at the age of five, he witnessed his own father's suicide, and by age 10 he had taken to drug dealing to support his family. After experiencing various other setbacks, including his sister's incarceration, Dolla decided to end his hustling days and pursue a career in rap.
After a moderate amount of success as a member of local rap group Da Razcals Cru, Dolla landed a gig as a model for Sean "Diddy" Combs' Sean John clothing line. In 2006, Dolla's Julian Bunetta-produced single "Feelin' Myself" appeared on the soundtrack to the blockbuster hit
. The next year, Dolla announced that he had signed a distribution deal for his label
The Gang Entertainment
. That July, his DJ Montay-produced single "
," featuring T-Pain and Akon, premiered on the Booth, peaking at #7 on our Rap Charts. The single version was a chart hit, peaking at #82 on the
In a March '08
with our own
, Dolla described his commitment to getting his piece of the American Dream: "Every day, I’m movin’ forward towards my dream, and conquerin’ little pieces of my dream, and it’s all comin’ together like a puzzle."
Less than a week before the rapper passed away, unreleased record "
" was featured at DJBooth.net. Over a sample of blues standard "Rainy Night in Georgia," Dolla contemplated the string of tragedies in his family, acknowledging the inevitability of death and predicting that he would fall victim to gunfire before his time. Though these dark forecasts carry tragic weight in the wake of his shooting death, equal attention should be paid to the bittersweet words of hope he delivers on the record's second verse, which begins, "
Have a party at my funeral, celebratin' the life/ When I died a baby was born the very same night...