Dolla: Another Rapper More Famous After Death?

DOLLA

When the rapper known as Dolla was shot and killed outside a Los Angeles mall Monday, the news traveled instantaneously.

On Twitter, where the rapper had just set up an account earlier in the day, the news of his murder and messages of rest in peace spread quickly. On YouTube, his song "Georgia Nights," from his never-released debut album "Dolla and A Dream," has been made into a tribute video, with a picture of him under the title "Dolla 'Georgia Nights' RIP."

Akon, the Grammy-winning producer and hip-hop artist who had signed Dolla to his label Konvict Muzik, released a statement to ABCNews.com Tuesday: "Dolla was part of the Konvict Entertainment family and an incredible artist. This is a senseless crime and the industry has lost a real talent. Our heart goes out to his family, friends, and fans."

Despite the outsize response to Dolla's death, however, many people were just learning about the 20-year-old rapper for the first time. His one hit, "Who the F*** Is That?" recorded with T-Pain in 2007, reached Number 82. His follow-up single "Feelin' Myself" was featured on the "Step Up" soundtrack.

"He wasn't a major figure," Sean Fennessey, the music editor of VIBE, told ABCNews.com. "I just didn't know a whole lot about him and I do this for a living."

Rapper Chuck D, from the influential hip-hop group Public Enemy, also knew little about Dolla, whose real name was Roderick Anthony Burton II and lived in Atlanta.

"I guess he was up and coming," Chuck D told ABCNews.com. "He had yet to release his album, which is kind of unfortunate. I think it's another unfortunate case of a young man not getting a chance."

Dolla was shot and killed after an altercation outside a Los Angeles shopping mall Monday. Los Angeles police, responding to a report of gunshots fired, found the young rapper suffering from multiple gunshots in a parking lot of the Beverly Center.

Police arrested a suspect, 23-year-old Aubrey Louis Berry of Georgia, at Los Angeles International Airport, according to an LAPD spokesperson. He is being held on $1 million bail.

Dolla Compared to Tupac Shakur

Dolla's publicist Sue Vannasing told Rolling Stone that he had been compared to Tupac Shakur.

"He had a very promising career," she said Monday. "He was being hyped as the next Tupac. He chose music to get off the streets."

Like Shakur, Dolla was cut down by a bullet in the prime of his life. But Fennessey doubted that there was much comparison beyond that.

"You hear that about a lot of people, that's a viable sales pitch," he said. "But I never identified him as such.

"He was certainly someone that T-Pain and others identified with a lot of promise and talent. I was pitched him as early as 2007," Fennessey said. "It seemed like he was on the brink of something. It just never entirely came together for him. His project had been on pause for a couple years."

There is a chance that Dolla may get the success in death that he was going for in life.

"When any artist is murdered, he is canonized in a way that he wouldn't be when he's living," Fennessey said. "It's possible that over the course of next week, we could hear more music from Dolla than we would have when he was alive. It's definitely possible he could become more of a major figure in death than in life."

Chuck D doesn't think so.

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