The music world is still reeling from the shocking death ofViolator Management founder Chris Lighty. The pioneering Hip-Hop staple is not only responsible for cultivating the careers of the biggest names in the game, but was a well-respected and revered figure in the industry.
50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, N.O.R.E., Q-Tip, Mariah Carey, and Diddy were among some of the many artists Lighty managed throughout his more than 20-year career. His cause of death is said to be suicide occurring after an argument with his ex-wife Thursday (Aug. 30) morning.
The 44-year-old apparently shot himself in the head, and may have been suffering from stress brought on by financial issues.
At this time, Hip-Hop Wired is not privy to all of the details surrounding his passing, but in honor of a life that was filled with accomplishments, we’d like to honor Lighty by highlighting his feats.
Lighty was the eldest of six and raised by a single mother in the Bronx River Projects, where he learned to be determined at an early age.
He was also a tour manager for the Jungle Brothers, dabbled as a rapper, and was a member of the Native Tongue Crew.
“When you’re growing up in the Reagan era, you really learn the value of a food stamp—and you never want to go back there.” -Chris Lighty
In 1989 Lighty founded Violator Management, further making his mark on the success of Hip-Hop as we know it. 10 years later the company released their first of two compilations, Violator: The Album. The project spawned hits like “Vivrant Thing” by Q-Tip, N.O.R.E.’s “Grimey,” and made it to No. 8 on the Billboard 200 charts. The album was certified gold in the same year.
As of 2001 Violator Management had another record under their belt by way of Violator: The Album, V2.0.
Long before putting rappers with big name brands was the thing to do, Lighty spearheaded the movement. In 1997 he paired LL Cool J with Gap, and clocked notable collaborations for Busta Rhymes with Mountain Dew, and A Tribe Called Quest with Sprite.
“There’s nothing better than a song to help move a brand,”-Chris Lighty
By 2004, he took things to another level with the business union between 50 Cent and Glacéau. The move gave the G-Unit rapper a stake in the company and propelled him to a $100 million payday after the Coca-Cola bought the company.
Last fall, Violator merged with Primary Wave to form Primary Violator, under the pretense of offering artists an array of cross-promotional services. Lighty was named CEO of the company. “There’s nothing better than a song to help move a brand,” he said in an interview
Career accomplishments aside, it’s important to remember that Lighty was a brother, husband, friend, and father. He will be greatly missed.