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August 30, 2012

By Jerry Barrow—

Hip-hop executive Chris Lighty (pictured) has died from an apparent suicide. The native of the Bronx died today of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to various sources. Lighty, the powerhouse behind Violater Records and management, guided the careers of hip-hop heavyweights like 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliot.

He began his career working for DJ Red Alert. He became a road manager for Boogie Down Productions and managed groups like The Jungle Brothers and A Tribe Called Quest. He was given the nickname “Baby Chris” for his good looks and to distinguish himself from his older friend Chris Ali.

While no one knows exactly why the hip-hop mogul put an end to his own life, but the New York Daily News reports that Lighty has been dealing with financial issues, including $5 million to the IRS. TMZ is reporting that he and his ex-wife were involved in an argument before he shot himself.

According to Billboard, Violator came to prominence during the late 1990s under Lighty’s management and former co-owner/president Mona Scott-Young. The company top albums include Violator: The Album (1999) and 2001′s Violator: the Album, V2.0., according to Billboard. Those albums lead to hits such as “Vibrant Thang” by Q-Tip and “What It Is” featuring Busta Rhymes and Kelis.

News of Lighty’s death has evoke words of praise and tweets from those who have worked with him as well as talent he was managing.

Russell Simmons had this to say about Lighty’s passing, according to Rolling Stone:

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of a hip-hop hero,” said Russell Simmons in a statement reacting to Lighty’s sudden passing. “Chris Lighty has been a dear friend of mine since he was a kid. Was a brilliant partner in business and I was so proud of all that he had accomplished. He is an amazing example of how a passionate kid from the street can go to the most even-keeled, smart, thoughtful manager in the business and a generous philanthropist.  He was loved by everyone who knew him, including me. He will be missed greatly by all of us.”

Soulja Boy, a popular rapper Lighty managed tweeted his condolences to his more than four million Twitter followers:

R.I.P my manager Chris Lighty, I know you’re in a better place. this shit got me so fucked up big bro we just talked on the phone 2 days ago

In light of the hip-hop manager apparently taking his own life, Fat Joe credited him for saving his own in a tweet after news of his death broke:


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