Daily Inspiration: Chris Lighty



Chris Lighty—the Bronx kid turned history-making hip-hop executive who founded his own firm, Violator Management, in 1990 and handled clients including Diddy, 50 Cent, Mariah Carey, A Tribe Called Quest, Missy Elliott and Busta Rhymes—was found dead in his New York apartment this morning, the Daily News reports. Lighty started his career toting crates for DJ Red Alert and working at Rush Management, under Lyor Cohen and Russell Simmons. Later, his pioneering development of unexpected revenue streams for artists—he landed LL Cool J in Gap ads and brokered 50 Cent's major endorsement deal with vitaminwater—was detailed in Dan Charnas' 2010 book The Big Payback. In a statement today, Simmons wrote, "I am deeply saddened by the loss of a hip-hop hero... He is an amazing example of how a passionate kid from the street can go to the most even-keeled, smart, thoughtful manager in the business and a generous philanthropist. He was loved by everyone who knew him, including me. He will be missed greatly by all of us." Simmons' condolences were echoed by Fat Joe, Rihanna, Chuck D and manger Scooter Braun, among those who shared thoughts on Twitter. Below, watch a collection of video highlights from Lighty's expansive career, including tracks from Violator's compilation albums, the LP he engineered for Dru Hill and the Nate Dogg appearance in Warren G's "Regulate" video, which he narrowly avoided a scuffle with Suge Knight for setting up.


Daily Inspiration: Chris Lighty