Just as sad as the news was on this date nine years ago, Hip Hop mourned the loss of longtime Violator Records founder “Baby” Chris Lighty after he was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Chris became the most influential hip hop manager through his management and marketing imprint, Violator, with its impressive roster including Missy Elliot, P. Diddy, 5O Cent, Foxy Brown, Busta Rhymes, A Tribe Called Quest, Mariah Carey, Mobb Deep and more.
Violator was also able to help artists gain some time in the public eye. They got LL Cool J in GAP commercials, Tribe Called Quest linked up with Sprite, And Busta Rhymes and Mountain Dew working together. In 2004, Lighty was able to broker one of the biggest deals in hip-hop; 50 Cent’s Vitamin Water. In 2011, Chris started his own website that would allow up and coming artists to submit their tracks for $10 dollars and top music executives would listen to it and give you feed back, the site is no longer up and running.
A few other interesting facts about Mr. Lighty some of you may not know are as fallows; Lighty got Jay-Z to ghostwrite most of Foxy Brown’s debut album, his pops was an FBI agent, and he launched Violator Management with LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes, Da La Soul, and A Tribe Called Quest.
Let’s celebrate baby Chris and all that he accomplished for Hip Hop culture. Check out the video below for some words of wisdom from the late exec extraordinaire himself.