Roderick Anthony Burton II better known as “Dolla” was not just a model for Diddy's Sean John clothing line but one of the promising young rappers of tomorrow. His mixtape Another Day Another Dolla, was given great hype as well as airplay all over the U.S. After signing with Akon's label “Konvict Muizk,” Dolla released his first big single with “Who the Fawk Is That,” which received great praises, as well as reaching the Billboard top 100.
Following with another hit single “Make A Toast,” it seemed like Dolla was on the right path to be one of Hip-Hop new promising artist. While working on his debut A Dolla And A Dream, however, the violence and ignorance that surrounds Hip-Hop had different plans for the Atlanta rapper.
On May 18th, 2009, the young rapper was shot in the back in Los Angeles, California in the valet parking lot of the Beverly Center. Dolla, who was waiting in the V.I.P parking lot with fellow rapper DJ Shabbazz was helplessly and brutally shot in the head by Aubrey Louis Berry.
The murder trial of Aubrey Louis Berry is scheduled to commence January 25th in Department 102 in Los Angeles Superior Court. We have been told by a court official that Berry's defense team has requested a speedy trial and although the prosecution could have sort the death penalty for this heinous crime, they are seeking life in prison without the possibility of parole. The case is being prosecuted by veteran attorney Bobby Grace & David Walgren. Judge David Wesley is presiding over the trial.
While no details about the murder and the trial could be discussed because of litigation procedures, Hip-Hop Wired spoke exclusively with Dolla's mother, Dawnee Robinson, as she discussed his upcoming debut which will still be released next year on Akon's label as well as celebrating what would have been his 22nd birthday today. Speaking of his birthday celebration, Mrs. Robinson stated,
“Today is his birthday and we're going to eat brunch at his favorite restaurant, Thumbs Up, in Atlanta. He loved Thumbs Up and it's a tradition that we go every Sunday and we're gonna go there and celebrate him. Then we're going to go bowling because he loved to bowl and at midnight, we're going to release 22 platinum balloons into the sky.”
Dolla's debut A Dolla And A Dream was scheduled to be released this year before the tragic incident but is being finalized for release next year. Giving some insight on the project, she added,
“I've never been allowed to hear his music until a few days before release, so with that being said, from the critics around me they say it's awesome. It's gonna set him aside, it's totally different than anything he's done in the past. So we're working with Konvict and Bu (Akon's brother) and out of respect for me they've pretty much allowed me to give them the thumbs up on when they can go ahead with the project. They're always supportative. We've known Akon, Omar and Bu for many years and the sky's the limit with those guys. They're always looking out.
Dolla was like a sponge, he watched television, he read the paper, he read every book he could get his hands on and he was aware of his surroundings. So his lyrics were the testimony of the people…just hardships, the struggles that really hit his heart and he wanted to make a difference and he wanted some awareness. He was just being real about what's going on out here.”
Mrs. Robinson also wants to keep some of Dolla's dreams outside the music industry alive and will use some of the earnings form A Dolla And A Dream to help with those causes. Letting us take a further look at her fallen angel, she revealed,
“His music spoke volumes and at the same time, my son was entering theology school in June which unfortunately he wasn't able to do. He was very interested in opening charter schools and centers in the community because just coming from a single family household…he just wanted kids and adults to have an opportunity of hope and that's part of his legacy and that's what I'm working hard to live on to make those things happen.
We just started and founded a foundation. It's called the “I Speak Life Foundation.” He spoke on what he saw and absorbed as far as the community… the struggles, the hardships and the opportunities so with that being said, we're now looking for a school, the churches and just have a community outreach resource. We [plan] to offer tutoring, nutrition programs, lunch programs, barber shops, everything to give people opportunity. You know a haircut will make a man feel like he can change the world, go out there and get that job so he can take care of his family. Just try to build the things that he wanted to do, I'm gonna do it.”
Much success to Mrs. Robinson with the foundation and Hip-Hop Wired Wishes Dolla A Happy Born Day Too Dolla and R.I.P.
Also check out a few tracks and videos from the fallen MC.
Ghetto Prayer/ Dolla feat. J. Valentine
Gonna Be Alright/ Dolla