The name Chris Lighty might not mean much to the general public at large, but the death of the hip hop mogul should be considered a sad one given that he's been a man behind many of the greatest careers in the business over the past couple of decades. As has been widely reported, Lighty was found dead yesterday (August 30th) after what would appear to be a suspected suicide.
Those who might not have known who Lighty was, will surely do over the forthcoming days. The 44 year-old founded a management company in the early 90s called Violator, named after a gang the entrepreneur was in when he was growing up in the Bronx. Lighty managed to get LL Cool J a Gap commercial slot in 1997 and also had success in getting endorsements for A Tribe Called Quest with Sprite, and Busta Rhymes with Mountain Dew. Lighty also managed 50 Cent, and in 2004 managed to broker the largest branding deal in hip-hop to date, Curtis' Vitamin Water deal. Coca-Cola bought the company three years later and Fiddy made a cool $100 million from it.
As well as Violator, Lighty has also worked for other high profile hip-hop-linked companies including Def Jam Records, Jive and Loud. However, according to The Guardian, he allegedly owed taxes of around $5 million at the time of his death.