Young Dolph was honored at a public memorial at the FedExForum arena in Memphis, Tennessee, on Thursday afternoon as fans and community members gathered to pay tribute to the slain rapper one month after his death.
The rapper, whose given name is Adolph Robert Thornton Jr., was shot and killed in Memphis on Nov. 17 while visiting Makeda's Homemade Butter Cookies, a bakery in South Memphis that the rapper was known to frequent. He was 36.
The rapper was remembered by friends, family, community leaders and aspiring artists, who recognized him as a family man, a trailblazing creative and a philanthropist who had a devotion to service and a deep connection with his community.
In a powerful moment, Dolph's longtime partner, Mia Jaye, shared an emotional tribute where she was joined on stage by their two children, 7-year-old Tre and 4-year-old Ari.
"I have two blessings. They both, they both embody his spirit," Jaye said. "It's definitely painful to not have him in our lives, but one thing I know for sure, for certain, is that he is in our hearts. He's guiding us. He's our angel. He's our guiding star."
Jaye reflected on Dolph's "selflessness" and his devotion to his children and said that she fell in love with him for his "heart of gold" and his "benevolent spirit."
Tre spoke at the memorial and said his dad raised him and "trained me to be a good man when I grow up."
"Since he had (died), I'm gonna make it up to the whole world," Tre said, "and I'm gonna be the greatest person you'll ever know."
Meanwhile, Ari remembered how much she loved playing with her father and said he is "still in my heart," and she will"keep thinking of him for forever and ever."
The memorial also included a series of tributes from hip-hop stars who collaborated with the rapper, including Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz and T.I., as well as a message from jailed rapper C-Murder and a tribute from Grammy-winning singer Monica.
'Black Men Deserve To Grow Old'
Danielle Reid, a spokeswoman for Jaye, told ABC News ahead of the memorial that addressing the problem of gun violence and how it impacts Black men is an issue that is close to Jaye's heart and one that she has worked to bring attention to prior to Dolph's killing.
Asked how Jaye is doing, Reid said, "She has children that are depending on her, and she's remaining strong."
After Jaye's brother, Jeremy Jerdine, was shot and killed in 2020, the businesswoman launched a social justice campaign called Black Men Deserve to Grow Old through her brand, Momeo.
"[Gun violence] has hit home again for her," Reid said, adding that they hope to expand the campaign but they are still in the planning stages.
Since Dolph's killing, Jaye's campaign has gained national attention and Van Turner, the leader of the Memphis chapter of the NAACP, told ABC News that the NAACP and other local organizations are in talks with Jaye to expand the campaign nationally.
"The best thing that we can do to honor the legacy of Young Dolph is to try to stop the violence in the community and make a better way for our young people," he said.
'He was all about giving back'
Makeda's, where Dolph was killed, is a local Black-owned business and has since renamed its chocolate chip cookie after him.
When he was killed, Dolph was in Memphis to participate in a Thanksgiving charity event.
"He was all about giving back to the community," Turner said.
The city of Memphis dedicated a street in his name Wednesday, and Nov. 17, the day he died, will be recognized as a Day of Service in the city.
As Memphis grapples with Dolph's killing, Turner said that the local NAACP chapter and other organizations that work with youth in underserved communities have come together to come up with a joint strategy to "remediate the gun violence in our community."
"One thing that we all agree on is that we have to give our young people options," Turner said. "There has to be an alternative to hustling, carrying weapons and doing all this gang beefing."
Over the past decade, Young Dolph rose to prominence in the indie hip-hop scene by releasing a series of mixtapes and founded his independent record label Paper Route Empire in 2010.
He had 11 songs that charted on the Billboard Hot 100, and over the past couple of years, he had become a star in the mainstream hip-hop scene through hits like "RNB," featuring Megan Thee Stallion.
Dolph was born in Chicago but grew up in Memphis and, according to Turner, he was known for mentoring and giving opportunities to young aspiring hip-hop artists in the city.
"For the new artists in the city who wanted a shot, wanted a chance, he would hear them out and hire them and give them a shot, give him a chance to work with his label," Turner said.
On Nov. 18, Memphis Police released photos on Twitter of the suspects and the suspected vehicle connected to the rapper's killing, and urged anyone with information to contact police.
A spokesman for the Memphis Police Department told ABC News on Thursday afternoon that no arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing.