Hugely influential hiphop mogul/marketer/manager Chris Lighty was found dead—in an apparent suicide—in his Bronx residence. Lighty, a Bronx original, was good friends with Boogie Down Productions' DJ Scott La Rock, and started out working for DJ Red Alert, the DJ who would break their "South Bronx" and "The Bridge Is Over." With his no-nonsense crew the Violators, Lighty held down Red Alert and the Native Tongues crew that Red introduced to the world. He worked at Rush Artist Management and Def Jam, with just about everybody that mattered at the time, but Lighty really made his name through his own Violator Management and record label, where he oversaw the careers of LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Fat Joe, and The Beatnuts. Eventually he'd be managing/masterminding the career of 50 Cent, not to mention Mobb Deep, Mariah Carey and Diddy himself.
His imprint on some of hiphop's biggest successes cannot be overstated. Lighty was an integral part of the business of hiphop during some of it's most creative and trailblazing chapters, and was an inspiration to many—helping bridging the sensibilities of the streets, where hiphop was born, to the boardrooms, where fortunes, and empires, could be made. May he rest in peace.