Shooting of rapper in Hollywood could be tied to hip-hop feud

A Memphis man with ties to a rival hip-hop artist has been arrested in the shooting of rapper Young Dolph in the heart of Hollywood’s tourist district, police said.

Corey McClendon, 43, was arrested near Highland Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard shortly after the Tuesday afternoon attack and was booked on suspicion of attempted murder early Wednesday morning, according to Det. Megan Aguilar, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Police Department.

It was not clear whether McClendon fired the gun or was simply involved in the brawl that preceded the shooting near one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations, Aguilar said.

McClendon has close ties to Memphis rapper Yo Gotti, who has been involved in a bitter feud with with Young Dolph for the last year, according to Capt. Chris Harris of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office in Memphis, Tenn. The rivalry, which exploded in recent months, may have played a role in several recent drive-by shootings in Memphis, Harris said.

Young Dolph, a 32-year-old Memphis-area rapper whose real name is Adolph Thornton Jr., was shot multiple times after he got into an argument with three men outside the Loews Hollywood Hotel, police said Tuesday.

The rapper fell to the ground during the fight, and one of the men shot him several times, police said. Young Dolph managed to stand up and run into Shoe Palace, near the famous TCL Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.

Two of the men ran off, while the third jumped into a gold Cadillac Escalade and drove to a gas station next door. He then hopped out and ran, leaving the SUV behind.

The rapper remained in critical condition Wednesday morning, Aguilar said. McClendon is being held in lieu of $1-million bail, according to jail records.

It was not immediately clear what led to the dispute. TMZ reported Tuesday that Yo Gotti had been named as a “person of interest” in the shooting, but Aguilar said Wednesday morning that the report was inaccurate.

Yo Gotti’s entourage was staying at the Loews Hollywood Hotel, Aguilar said, but the detective added it was unclear if any members of the rapper’s entourage were involved in the melee.

However, Tennessee court records show that McClendon has been linked to past violence, including a Memphis incident that also involved Yo Gotti, whose real name is Mario Mims.

In November 2010, Mims was embroiled in an argument with Lance Taylor, another Memphis rapper known by the handle OG Boo Dirty, when McClendon “got involved in the altercation,” according to an arrest affidavit filed in that case.

Taylor punched McClendon, and a brawl erupted that involved at least eight other people, court records show. Taylor, McClendon and four others were wounded when “unidentified persons from within this brawl” opened fire, according to the affidavit.

Mims was charged with aggravated riot, but the charges were later dropped, records show. It was not immediately clear if McClendon was ever criminally charged.

At that time, Taylor was the “arch-nemesis” of Mims, Harris said. Young Dolph, Mims and McClendon were all friendly at that time, but a recent dispute led to a rivalry between the two rappers, he said.

In recent months, Mims tried to sign Young Dolph to a record deal, but Young Dolph refused and struck out on his own, Harris said. Young Dolph went on to release several songs insulting Mims, according to Harris.

“That’s where the beef started,” he said. “It’s been going on ever since.”

McClendon has been arrested several times in Tennessee for offenses including drug possession, theft and driving with a suspended license, according to court records, and he was represented by attorney Arthur Horne nearly every time. Horne also served as a defense attorney for Mims in connection with the November 2010 brawl.

Horne was not immediately available for comment Wednesday afternoon. An email to a representative for Mims was not returned.

The shooting is being investigated by the LAPD’s elite Robbery-Homicide Division, according to LAPD spokesman Josh Rubenstein, who said detectives are “looking at every angle of this.” He declined to say whether the rivalry between Young Dolph and Mims was a part of the investigation.

Young Dolph was scheduled to perform at the Marke in South Los Angeles on Thursday before traveling to Georgia to open for hip-hop star 2 Chainz next week. A representative for Young Dolph declined to comment Wednesday morning.

Tuesday was not the first time the rapper has been linked to violence. Earlier this year, Young Dolph told TMZ his SUV was shot at nearly 100 times in Charlotte, N.C., though Charlotte police officials have not confirmed the details of the incident, according to local media reports.

Calls and emails to the Charlotte Police Department seeking comment Wednesday were not immediately returned. Aguilar did not say whether there was any link between the two incidents.

Young Dolph went on to reference the Charlotte incident in his most recent album, “Bulletproof.” Its lead track is titled “100 Shots.”

“It takes more than 100 bullets to faze Young Dolph,” read an April press release promoting the album. “Last month, after unknown assailants crashed into and fired 100 gunshots at Dolph’s SUV in Charlotte, N.C., the rapper emerged unscathed and took the stage mere hours later.”

Harris said he would not be surprised to hear that a grudge that led to gunfire in Memphis spilled over into Hollywood.

“The rivalry doesn’t stop just because they’re in California,” he said.

Times staff writer Alene Tchekmedyian contributed to this report.

james.queally@latimes.com

Follow @JamesQueallyLAT for crime and police news in California.

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UPDATES:

3:30 p.m.: This article was updated with additional information about McClendon, his connections to rapper Yo Gotti and the history of the rivalry between Yo Gotti and Young Dolph.

12:05 p.m.: This article was updated with additional background information on McClendon and Young Dolph.

This article was originally published at 9:55 a.m.

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