Today in Hip-Hop: Gunman Opens Fire at Violator Records Office
On this day, Jan. 16, in hip-hop history...
2003: Chris Lighty was on top of the world in 2003. His label, Violator Records, and management group was home to the biggest stars in rap, including Busta Rhymes, 50 Cent and Missy Elliott. With everything going right, someone had to be unhappy. On the night of Jan. 16, 2003, a gunman fired off rounds aimed at the record label.
No one was injured at the time of shooting, and Lighty nor his artists were present at the time the gunman opened fire. The employees who were in the office couldn't identify the shooter nor could they tell if he acted alone or with partners. The office's security team tried to chase the culprit and catch them, but that was to no avail.
This shooting incident happened a few months after the murder of hip-hop legend Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC in October 2002, whose murder remains unsolved. Jay had a young 50 Cent under his wing at the time; Fif was arrested for riding in a car with multiple guns in December of the same year. Adding in the Violator Records shooting, and it began to feel like trouble was following the budding star wherever he went.
The Violator Records team survived the shooting and went on to continued success. Unfortunately, years later, Chris Lighty was found dead outside of his New York home in 2012, with a gunshot wound to his head in an apparent suicide. His legacy lives on.
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