Chris Lighty, the hip-hop impresario and manager of the likes of Busta Rhymes, 50 Cent, and Diddy, has died. He was 44 years old.
According to a report in the New York Daily News, Lighty took his own life in his Bronx apartment this morning following an argument with his ex-wife. Though details remain scarce, authorities do know that he and his wife divorced last year, and that he may have owed as much as $5 million to the IRS in unpaid taxes.
At the turn of the century, being managed by Lighty and his Violator Entertainment shingle was a prestigious get — some of the biggest names in the music industry came under his guidance, including Mariah Carey, Missy Elliott, LL Cool J, Nas, and Ja Rule.
He began his career under the tutelage of Lyor Cohen and Russell Simmons as Rush Management in the late ’80s, later setting up Violator as one of the early multi-pronged management companies. They produced two compilations (Violator: The Album, and Violator: The Album, V2.0), which featured the likes of Q-Tip (performing his breakout solo single “Vivrant Thing”), Fat Joe, Mobb Deep, Cam’Ron, Cee-Lo, and Mase.
There was rarely a rap star from that era who didn’t come in contact with Lighty, who was known as a fair and savvy navigator of the ever-tumultuous waters of the hip-hop world, and he will undoubtedly be missed.