RIP Chris Lighty (May 5, 1968 – August 30, 2012)


It was one year ago today that legendary hip-hop executive, Chris Lighty, died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Lighty was one of the most important businessmen and music executives in hip-hop history. He founded Violator, an artist management company, that represented hip-hop artists such as 50 Cent, Nas, LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliot and Mobb Deep.

In his early years, he was the tour manager of such seminal hip-hop acts as A Tribe Called Quest and The Jungle Brothers, as well, as working under Russell Simmons at Rush Management. Later in his career, Lighty would go on to broker some of the most lucrative deals in hip-hop history including endorsement deals for LL Cool J with the Gap, A Tribe Called Quest and Busta Rhymes with Sprite and perhaps most notably, Vitamin Water’s $4.1 billion dollar deal that reportedly netted 50 Cent in the range of $100 million dollars.

XXL wishes to give our condolences to the Lighty family and wish the best to all the friends and family that were touched by Chris Lighty in life.


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  • A fan from afar

    Chris you are sorely missed.
    The Hip Hop community owes you a debt of gratitude.
    You worked so hard and accomplished so much and made so many people’ lives better.
    May your spirit be at peace.