Dolla Biography

The rapper Dolla, born Roderick Anthony Burton II in Chicago in 1988, endured a nightmarish childhood that included a twin sister who died at birth, and a father who committed suicide in front of him when he was five years old. Following his father's death, the family moved to Atlanta where the 12-year-old Dolla formed Da Razkalz Cru with two cousins. The trio signed with Elektra Records in 2000, but was dropped three years later after their single, "So Fly," tanked. The disappointing experience did afford Dolla a valuable opportunity to work with Akon, a rising hip-hop star and producer who would figure prominently in the young MC's future. The Elektra exposure also brought Dolla to the attention of the multi-faceted Sean "Diddy" Combs. Diddy featured the rapper as a model for his Sean Jean clothing line in a huge billboard above the Hyatt Hotel in Los Angeles. Returning to music as a solo performer, Dolla's song, "Feelin' Myself," appeared on the soundtrack of the 2006 movie, Step Up. Akon signed Dolla to his label, Konvict Muzik, and in early 2007 the single, "Who the Fuck Is That," was released. The 21-year-old rapper's future looked bright as he arrived in Los Angeles on May 18, 2009 to put the finishing touches on his debut album, Another Day, Another Dolla. He would die that same day, a victim of a tragic coincidental meeting that had its roots in a bar brawl nearly two weeks earlier in another state. On May 6, 2009, Dolla and Aubrey Louis Berry, a 23-year-old events promoter, were involved in an altercation at the Platinum 21 Adult Entertainment strip club in Atlanta. The fight spilled out into the parking lot where both men threatened each other and shouted out their gang affiliations. As fate would have it, 12 days later Dolla was in the restroom of P.F. Chang's China Bistro in the Beverly Center Mall in West Hollywood when he ran into Berry. According to the events promoter, Dolla threatened him and, with two others, followed him out of the eatery to the mall's valet area where his rented Mercedes-Benz SUV was parked. Dolla and his "crew" continued shouting abuse at Berry who believed that the rapper was reaching to his waistband to pull a weapon. The concert pro - moter pulled his own 9mm semiautomatic and shot the 21-year-old rising hip-hop star in the head in a hail of gunfire. Dolla was pronounced dead at nearby Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. As mall shoppers and Dolla's friend and fellow-rapper, D.J. Shabbazz, dove for safety, Berry sped off, but not before his vehicle's license plate was recorded. Police arrested the promoter without incident three hours later at 6:15 P.M., the 9mm tucked in his waistband, in the waiting area of Terminal 1 at Los Angeles International Airport. Hundreds of mourners dressed in white clothing with white scarves draped around their heads honored Dolla at a funeral service at the World Faith Love Center in East Point, Georgia. Following the ceremony, the up and coming rapper was buried in Atlanta's Westview Cemetery. Berry, charged with two counts of assault and Dolla's murder, pleaded not guilty and insisted the shooting was in self-defense. At the time of this book's publication the case had not come to trial.