Atlanta Rapper Dolla Shot Dead Outside Los Angeles Mall

May 19, 2009 9:10 AM ET

Up-and-coming Atlanta rapper Dolla was shot and killed in an altercation outside a shopping mall in Los Angeles on Monday, May 18th. He was 21 years old. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Dolla was gunned down while he waited at the Beverly Center's mall valet with rappers DJ Shabbazz and Scrapp DeLeon. Dolla's publicist said that before the shooting, a man and woman were trailing the rapper. Police have "two persons of interest" in custody; cops picked up one man at the ticketing area of the Los Angeles International Airport with a gun in his possession. As of this morning, the man in custody, Aubrey Berry, has been charged with murder, TMZ reports.

Dolla was in Los Angeles to continue work on his debut album, A Dolla & A Dream. Born Roderick Anthony Burton II in Chicago, the rapper's family relocated to Atlanta from L.A. when he was five after his father's suicide. First a member of the Elektra-signed Da Razkalz Kru, Dolla made his way up the Atlanta hip-hop scene and was eventually recruited by Diddy to be a model for his Sean John fashion line. Around the same time, Dolla hooked up with Akon, who signed Dolla to his Konvict Music Records in 2007, and Dolla recorded the hit "Who the Fuck Is That?" with T-Pain, which reached Number 82. His follow-up single "Feelin' Myself" was featured on the Step Up soundtrack. "He had a very promising career," Dolla's publicist Sue Vannasing said yesterday. "He was being hyped as the next Tupac [Shakur]. He chose music to get off the streets."

(Take a look back at other artists who lost their lives at an early age.)

According to TMZ, authorities picked up Aubery Berry at the airport. "As the officers approached the suspect, they asked him 'Do you know why we're here?' " airport police spokesman Sgt. Jim Holcomb told the AP. "He put his [hands] up in the air and said, 'Yes, I've got a gun in my waistband. Don't shoot me.' " Police recovered a loaded 9mm semiautomatic handgun from Berry, who is reportedly being held on $1 million bail.

"My music is universal," Dolla wrote on his MySpace page. "I can do street music or pop music. But whatever I do, I attempt to make meaningful songs with substance."

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