25 November 1987
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, United States
18 May 2009 (aged 21)
Roderick Anthony Burton II (November 25, 1987 – May 18, 2009), better known by his stage name Dolla, was an American rapper.
Originally part of a group group called Da Razkals Cru with friends Scrappy and Sas, a 12 year-old Dolla rapped in showcases around his Atlanta, Georgia hometown. Eventually, the group caught the attention of both Missy Elliott and P. Diddy. However those two weren't the only executives interested. By 2001, the trio signed to Elektra Records where Dolla met then unknown singer, Akon, who was producing for the label.
"I've known Akon and his brother, Bu, since I was 12 and we've stayed cool," says Dolla.
Living back and forth between Los Angeles and Atlanta, the MC modeled for Diddy's clothing line, Sean John, and his image garnered a towering billboard. Unfortunately, Elektra came to an end several years later and Da Razkals Cru was released from their contract in 2003. Dissolving the group and going their separate ways, Dolla returned to Atlanta and focused on a solo career."I was disappointed but all that made me do was work harder," says Dolla. "It was a stepping stone."
Continuing to pen lyrics, the teen shopped his ghostwriting skills to signed and unsigned artists alike. While making the rounds, Dolla ran into former Elektra acquaintance, Akon. The Senegalese singer was now a multi-platinum artist looking to expand his own Konvict Muzik roster. Meanwhile, Dolla linked with his current manager to form their own production company, The Gang Entertainment and before long signed a joint venture with Akon's production company, Konvict Muzik. Soon after, once the joint venture was official, Dolla was finally signed as a Jive artist. After a year of working on the album, Akon was instrumental in pulling together Dolla's newest hit, "Who The Heck Is That?" featuring chart champion, T-Pain and newcomer, Tay Dizm. Now as "Who The Heck Is That?" climbs the charts, Dolla can look back on his struggle with a bit of vindication.
Born in Chicago, Illinois as a twin, Dolla's sibling died at birth. Still, as the only boy amongst two sisters, the light-eyed MC admits to being spoiled. "We'd clean the house every Sunday but my only job was to take out the trash," says Dolla.
In 1991, the Burton family moved to Los Angeles, California for greener pastures. Instead, they suffered mounting struggles. As a five year-old Dolla sat on his parent's bed with his elder sister, Divinity, their father took his own life.
Moving the family to Atlanta, GA his mother tried her best to regroup. But again, financial burdens began to take a toll on the family and Dolla found himself at ten years of age trying to help support his family, even if it meant breaking the law.
"It was a part of me growing up in a single parent home and supporting my momma," says Dolla. "She told me I was the man of the house but it's not something that I glorify."
Still, Dolla's dream wasn't deferred. The pre-teen began writing raps during his elementary school classes to break the monotony. Drawing on his mother's love of classic soul singers like Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, Dolla followed his heart and chased a career in music.
As he matured, life delivered yet another hardship. His sister was sentenced to several years in prison for an altercation with the police in 2006. Drawing on his strong sense of family, Dolla along with his mother, took over the responsibilities of caring for his niece and nephew.
With all of these hardships under his belt, Dolla is wrapping up his debut solo album Dolla & A Dream via The Gang/Konvict Muzik/Jive Records. The LP is a collection of both jubilant and heart-wrenching music. "Who The Heck Is That?" the lead single is a DJ Montay production that comically details Southern nightlife. On "Loudmouth," Dolla chastises cowards for gossiping over a sinister organ that's reminiscent of a ride through the trap. "I'm Fucked Up" shows Dolla's sensual drunken side while the beat's horns bop and the MC whispers his lyrics. Another song, "Be Alright," chronicles a young girl growing up in the ghetto and dating older men to her detriment. "Ghetto Prayer" describes the young MC's difficult struggle through life over pianos and a strong wailing chorus. With both sobering messages and light-hearted lyrics in his pocket, Dolla is ready to spark a little change.
"My music is universal," says the 20 year-old. "I can do street music or pop music. But whatever I do, I attempt to make meaningful songs with substance.”
On May 18 2009, Dolla was shot and killed near the La Cienega Boulevard entrance of the Beverly Center in Los Angeles, after a fight between a group of individuals broke out. Witnesses reported that a woman was seen firing a handgun. Another source said a male suspect was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport as he attempted to board a flight
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