Atlanta-based 21 year old rapper Dolla was shot and killed yesterday (May 18th) at the Beverly Center mall parking garage in L.A. by a suspect who fled in a silver Mercedes. One suspect was arrested at the scene. 23 year-old Aubrey Berry the suspected shooter who fled was later detained as he approached the ticketing area at Los Angeles International Airport with a gun found on him.
The shooting happened around 3:10p.m. in the valet area of the Westside mall, near the Chipotle restaurant. Dolla, whose birth name is Roderick Anthony Burton II, arrived at LAX from Atlanta earlier yesterday morning. Reported to UrbanBridgez.com, Dolla was in L.A. to record some more tracks for his debut album “Dolla & A Dream” which was due out late summer via Gang Entertainment/Konvict Muzik/Jive. No word yet from Dolla’s label if the album will still be released.
A reported dispute of some kind was said to have taken place at LAX after Dolla and two friends touched down. Dolla’s publicist Sue Vannasing released a statement saying “They followed him to the mall because they knew he was coming.” Right after the shooting, Dolla was rushed a few blocks away to Cedar’s Medical Center, where he passed away.
In 2006 Dolla made his solo debut, when his single “Feelin’ Myself,” appeared on the soundtrack to the movie “Step Up.” Early last year Dolla released his first official single “Who The Fu** Is That” (featuring T-Pain & Tay Dizm),” which gained a lot of buzz and a lot of spins at radio. His debut album was set to be released last fall, however the album was pushed back til later this year while he recorded more material. “Make A Toast” was released late last year and gained more spins than the first single. This year Dolla made a cameo appearance in label-mate Ciara’s “Never Ever” video (below).
Roderick Anthony Burton II was born in Chicago in 1987 and moved with his family to Los Angeles and later to Atlanta. Dolla witnessed his father commit suicide at age 5. He began rapping at age 12 and joined the group Da Razkalz Cru, they released the single “So Fly” (video below) in 2003 through Elektra Records. Their full album was shelved by the label. Dolla went on to do some modeling for Sean John and signed a solo deal with recording artist/producer Akon’s Konvict label. “I want people to see how I look, act, talk, dress, sound, everything! So they know who I am and remember me!” Dolla said to UrbanBridgez.com last year in an interview.
Reports are flying left and right about what really happened and who/what may be behind it all, however until more details are released UrbanBridgez.com will only focus on the very talented artist, who’s life was taken way too soon, Roderick “Dolla” Burton (November 25, 1987 – May 18, 2009).
Below is the archived interview we conducted with Dolla last March.
Aries (UBG): You’re young, but you’ve been in this industry for awhile, tell me about how you got your start?
Dolla: Man I started doing local shows like at High School’s and talent shows and things like that. Then I joined this group and we started traveling and doing the same type of shows just in different states. Then we got a deal, flew to New York and started working on an album. Akon actually worked on the album and after awhile, it got shelved. Me and Akon just stayed in contact every since then.
Aries (UBG): Tell me about your debut album A Dolla & A Dream?
Dolla: Well it’s my debut album, it’s my life through my eyes. It’s a classic to me and the people that I have let hear some of it have agreed. To me a classic is an album that consist of everything, you know. Like a story. I have the club joints, the party joints, the struggling songs, the up-lifting songs, I’m black, so the black pride songs. Just everything that has been apart of my life. I don’t have any features on this album, because it’s my first album. I want people to get to know me first.
Aries (UBG): The single “Who The Fuck is That” is blowing up, what made you go with it for the lead single? Were you a little nervous about getting it played with the title?
Dolla: It just to me was the single to go with. Yeah I have to admit, I was a little nervous about it. I knew also with it being my first single as an artist, some was going to give me hell regardless. So that made it a little bit more uneasy. But it’s been excepted and it’s getting mad love. We went in and recorded the edited version for radio, but you know honestly I have never even heard that version on the radio. I always hear the original version just with the crash sound over fuck. I enjoyed working on that song. T-Pain came up with the concept, Tay the production & I did the lyrics. You know what else? The night we finished the song we took it to Magic City (Strip Club in ATL) and they played it & they loved it.
Aries (UBG): How is it working with Akon?
Dolla: Akon is Big Bro to me man. I’ve known him since I was 12 and I’m 20 now. I’m always excited when I know I’m about to go into the studio with him. Like now, I’m about to go in with him again, I’m finishing the album now and he is going to do about 3-4 more songs, so I’m looking forward to getting back in with him. It’s always a pleasure to work with him, he’s very talented.
Aries (UBG): What if anything do you want to bring to Hip-Hop that you feel has been missing recently?
Dolla: You know what I feel Hip-Hop is missing right now? Substance. I mean don’t get me wrong, I love where Hip-Hop is right now, so I don’t wanna come off like I’m bashing it. I know I was doing an interview the other day and the person said yeah well Hip-Hip is dead and I was like no the fuck it isn’t! Hip-Hop is doing good. I mean if anything I feel it’s missing the story & social awareness songs on albums. Like with a lot of the new artists, I can listen to their albums and then soon after that I forgot it and them. When people listen to my album, they’re going to remember me and remember the music, because I touch on so many things it’s not all about the same thing.
Aries (UBG): ATL is defiantly the hot spot for talent, what separates you from some of the other Hip-Hop artists that have emerged from there like T.I., Outkast, etc.?
Dolla: Oh Shit, let me first say I think T.I. & Outkast are incredible. As for me, on my album the songs are about me. Really, I should of just named the album, Me! The songs are about everything I’ve dealt with and went through. From growing up till now. If there is a song on my album, it’s something I went through or saw with my eyes. I’m talking about when I party, the life I have lead and the things I have seen, dawg I even talk about me having sex on my album. It’s just all me and my life.
Aries (UBG): Who were some MC’s that inspired you coming up while you were creating your own style and format?
Dolla: Man it’s so many, I have to say Andre3000 is my favorite MC. T.I., Jay Z, Pac, Scarface, 8 Ball & MJG, just really all the greats. I have to say I listened to Cassidy’s latest album and he’s hot too.
Aries (UBG): You took a trip to the Playboy Mansion I see on your MySpace, how was that experience?
Dolla: Man that was the shit! As you seen in the pics, man I took my brother, my cousin and a bunch of niggas from the hood. I tried to get as many extra tickets as I could get. And I mean real niggas from the hood, just so they could experience that with me. It was wild, we had a good time.
Aries (UBG): When can your fans expect to see you on the road?
Dolla: I’m actually on the road now. Like four days a week and 5 shows a week. You know how a bunch of rappers be saying like I ain’t dong no promo tour, ain’t no money in that. I’m like fuck that! I am doing all the promotion I can do, in every market I can. I want people to see how I look, act, talk, dress, sound, everything! So they know who I am and remember me!
Aries (UBG): Any last words for your fans?
Dolla: Hit up my MySpace page (myspace.com/dolla), it’s really me that responds to your messages. Check me out on Rap City, I filmed it today. I hosted one day and I’m the guest on another episode. I did the Black Carpet as well for BET. One Rap City airs Saturday and the other March 4th. Me on Black Carpet airs March 6th. I want to thank my fans because if it wasn’t for them and their support, I wouldn’t of been able to do those shows. I also wanna big up all the people at Jive and Konvict for their support and hard work. Oh yeah and I’m #2 on 106 and Park, that’s a good look, thanks to the fans for that! Oh yeah, I got a new mixtape about to drop also! I want my fans to know that this rappin shit is my life, it’s for real. It’s not no pretend shit like with some of these dudes. I do this shit for real!
New Leaked Dolla Single “Georgia Nights” (Produced by Ear Hustla) (kind of eerie when you listen to the lyrics)
Da Razkalz Cru – So Fly (video)
Dolla – Make A Toast (video)
Dolla – Who The Fu** Is That (video)
Ciara – Never Ever (video)