Chris Lighty Dead at 44, Hip Hop Music Executive

    August 31, 2012

If you know the hip-hop artists of: Nas, Ja Rule, Mobb Deep, Missy Elliott, L.L. Cool J, and 50 Cent, the person responsible for their success is Chris Lighty, founder and manager of Violator Entertainment. Unfortunately, this leader in the hip-hop music world died on August 30th, 2012, at the age of 44.

Lighty, a Bronx, New York native, started his career in the music niche by founding the Violator music company in the 90’s, named after a gang he used to be involved with.

2004 was a major year for Lighty and Violator. Lighty was involved with the largest brand endorsement deal in hip-hop history, branding 50 Cent’s “Vitamin Water” product. The Coca-Cola company then bought this product from Violator, paying $4.1 million dollars. According to Forbes, 50 Cent received $100 million dollars from this deal.

Another great product that Lighty recently developed under Violator was the website of (still in beta), allowing new artists to submit their music online and have top music executives listen to the demo track(s) they submit to the site.

On Thursday, August 30th, 2012, Chris Lighty was found dead in his Bronx apartment with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Lighty was 44 years old. Various fans of Lighty’s musical direction have left their respects via Twitter.