"The record industry is so different now," he said. "It's hard to move artists when they are living. The industry needs the artist more than ever to be present and living. Tupac and Biggie's [Smalls] thing [their deaths] was more than 10 or 12 years ago, and they had a certain volume of work already. Dolla hadn't even got off the blocks."
The biography on Dolla's MySpace page, however, said he had been rapping with friends Scrappy and Sas in a group called Da Razkals Cru in showcases around Atlanta since the age of 12. In 2001, the group was signed to Elektra Records, but they were dropped before they could release a record. In 2007, Dolla signed with Akon's label and Jive Records.
He also survived a troubled childhood. According to his MySpace biography, his twin sibling died at birth. Then, at age 5, he sat on his parents' bed with his older sister Divinity as their father took his own life.
After the family moved to Atlanta, then 10-year-old Dolla struggled to help support his single mom, even breaking the law sometimes, according to his biography.
"My music is universal," the rapper wrote on MySpace. "I can do street music or pop music. But whatever I do, I attempt to make meaningful songs with substance."