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The Impact of Chris Lighty on the hip hop culture


The Impact of Chris Lighty on the hip hop culture

By Hardcore Critic
Hip Hop Vibe Staff Writer

Hours ago, the world discovered one of hip hop’s greatest moguls, Chris Lighty, died. Later, it was revealed he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Chris Lighty would point the gun at himself following an argument with his ex-wife. There have been hundreds, if not thousands, of stories have been published about Chris Lighty since his untimely death.

Chris Lighty is among the people who define the American dream. Born in The Bronx in New York City, the future mogul grew up meager. However, Chris Lighty’s love for music would drive him from The Bronx streets into the corporate offices in Manhattan. In the late 1980s, Chris Lighty would establish his Violator company.

The launch of Violator came after Chris Lighty began his career carrying crates for DJ Red Alert and working for Russell Simmons’ Rush Management. Upon launching Violator, Chris Lighty paid homage to the gang he was a member of earlier in his life. Through Violator, Chris Lighty displayed his business acumen and made history.

While Chris Lighty never attended a day of college, he did say “I earned my M.B.A. in hell,” a reference to his life growing up on the streets. Chris Lighty was responsible for LL Cool J appearing in a 1997 Gap commercial, A Tribe Called Quest’s endorsement deal with Sprite, and Busta Rhymes’ deal with Mountain Dew. In the 1990s, Chris Lighty enjoyed much success, also managing Missy Elliott and, then-sensation, Ja Rule.

One of the biggest hits of 1999, Q-Tip’s “Vivrant Thing,” which still plays in clubs, was orchestrated by Chris Lighty. The song was used as the first single off his album, Violator. In promotion of his management company, Violator, Chris Lighty had an album of the same name released. After ending his business affiliation with Steve Stoute, Nas even joined Chris Lighty at Violator and enjoyed much success, working with Missy Elliott on her “Hot Boy” single.

Chris Lighty was able to find success by walking the narrow path between the streets, where hip hop music thrives, and the corporate offices he would soon dominate. Perhaps the biggest moment in Chris Lighty’s career came when he brokered the $4.1 million deal between 50 Cent and Coca-Cola, which netted the G-Unit CEO $100 million. While Lighty’s portion was never revealed, it surely had a major impact on his lifestyle.

While the business relationship with 50 Cent came at the expense of the relationship with Ja Rule, Chris Lighty went on to make big things happen for the Interscope artist. Also managing Mobb Deep, Chris Lighty made their transition from Sony over to 50 Cent’s label, G-Unit Records, a simple feat. Throughout his career, 50 Cent always had Chris Lighty to turn to. During his time working with the business mogul, 50 Cent, himself, turned into a business powerhouse.

Over the years, Chris Lighty ended up managing the likes of Diddy, Diggy Simmons, JoJo Pellegrino, Mya, Mariah Carey, Cormega, and Fantasia. In most cases, Chris Lighty helped turn everyone he worked with into successful people, both financially and in the music industry. Even those who never directly worked with Chris Lighty were stunned by his death and sent their condolences to the mogul’s loved ones.

In the wake of his death, many of hip hop’s biggest figures have offered up their respects to the legendary mogul via Twitter and Facebook.

Read the statements below:

Fat Joe via Twitter – “I Would Be Nothing Without YOU!!! My Kids Appreciate YOU God Bless Chris Lighty”

Bang ‘Em Smurf via Facebook – “R.I.P. Chris Lighty all luv…..tell ice I said blessing Gday!!”

Bun B via Twitter – “Just woke up to the worst news. Damn homie. Im so confused about this. RIP Chris Lighty.”

Big Sean via Twitter – “RIP Chris Lighty. my condolences to the family and loved ones.”

Havoc via Twitter – “RIP to my ol music mentor Chris Lighty. U will be deeply missed.”

Childish Gambino via Twitter – “rest in peace Chris Lighty. thank you for everything”

Lecrae via Twitter – “God bless the loved ones of Chris Lighty. May God’s grace be clear and evident to them all.”

Rihanna via Twitter – “Rest peacefully Chris Lighty, my prayers go out to family and loved ones! Dear God please have mercy”

Terrence J via Twitter – “RIP to Chris Lighty. Dude gave me life changing advice & wisdom. A tragic loss, he will be deeply missed. Prayers to the family.”

Rev Run via Twitter – “R I P to the kindest guy Chris Lighty. Thank you for being a manager to Diggy & a part of our family.. You are loved & will be missed”

Magic Johnson via Twitter – “So sad to hear the news about hip-hop mogul Chris Lighty passing. My prayers go out to his family.”

Rah Digga via Twitter – “Chris Lighty was everything to me in my Flipmode years. So busy rescuing others sorry we couldn’t rescue you. You will be missed brother…”

Talib Kweli via Twitter – “Rest in peace Chris Lighty. Your words and your vision are constant inspiration to me. Forever.”


Diddy via Twitter – “R.I.P. Chris Lighty…Miss You Bro ”

L.A. Reid via Twitter – “R I P Chris Lighty. My prayers for your immediate and extended family. We have lost a true hip hop pioneer and legend.”

Tony Yayo via Twitter – “Rip Chris lighty a hip hop legend condolences to his family and his Violator family”

Mac Miller via Twitter – “damn. RIP Chris Lighty”

Kim Kardashian via Twitter – “Such sad news about Chris Lighty. He was an amazing partner in my fragrance LightHouse Beauty & friend. You will be missed!”

Sway Calloway via Twitter – “RIP Chris Lighty”

Jennifer Williams (of VH1’s “Basketball Wives) via Twitter – “Very sad news about Chris Lighty… You never know someone’s inner struggles… #RIP

Yo Gotti via Twitter – “R.I.P. 2 My Manager Chris Lighty”

Pam Grier via Twitter – “Chris Lighty, you will be so very missed. Prayers for your family and all you touched. Peace be still.”

Joe Budden via Twitter – “Damn… Chris Lighty….. SMH. #RIP”

Chuck D via Twitter – “R I P Chris Lighty SMH to the mongrels that have made the BLACKmusic industry a depressing game to drag such good cats into a pit of bullsht”

Pusha T via Twitter – “Rest in Peace @clighty this is terrible news!!”

DJ Drama via Twitter – “wow. no words. RIP Chris Lighty.”

Visuals inspired by Chris Lighty

LL Cool J Gap commercial 

A Tribe Called Quest Sprite commercial


Busta Rhymes Mountain Dew commercial

50 Cent Vitamin Water commercial

See photos of Chris Lighty networking with hip hop’s finest below:




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