Chris Lighty, Iconic Hip-Hop Executive, Has Passed Away

    Chris Lighty, the founder and CEO of Violator Entertainment–the company that helped launch the careers of everyone from Busta Rhymes to Diamond D–has passed away. While details continue to emerge, it’s being reported that the Bronx native’s death was an alleged suicide. He was 44.

    Lighty’s influence on the hip-hop community was far-reaching, having worked not only under the Violator banner, but also Def Jam, Brand Asset Group and, more recently, Primary Violator, the management company formed after Violator and Primary Wave merged. Lighty had managed some of rap’s biggest acts including 50 Cent and Diddy, as well as Ja Rule and singer Mariah Carey.

    The news of Lighty’s passing first broke on Twitter, where the condolences continue to pour in. Rapper N.O.R.E. tweeted, “I WILL BE VIOLATOR FOR LIFE 4EVER,” while Public Enemy’s Chuck D wrote:

    R I P Chris Lighty SMH to the mongrels that have made the BLACKmusic industry a depressing game to drag such good cats into a pit of bullsht

    Chris Lighty’s impact on the hip-hop industry is irreplaceable. He will be greatly missed. May he rest in peace.