The Hip-Hop world went into a frenzy when news spread of the unexpected and untimely passing of industry executive, Chris Lighty. According to various news reports, Lighty was found dead in his apartment Thursday morning from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head following a heated argument with his ex-wife, Veronica. He was only 44.
Lighty played an influential part in the success Hip-Hop artists have received outside of record sales. Although never attended college, he gave rappers, especially New York City artists, master’s degrees in business management. From getting Brooklyn’s own Jay-Z to ghostwrite most of fellow Brooklynite Foxy Brown’s debut album, LL Cool J’s Gap commercial to 50 Cent’s multi-million dollar deal with Glaceau for the Vitamin Water brand, he taught young, hungry kids from the streets how to make money and KEEP their money in the greedy music industry. He gave back the lessons that he learned from his days working under DJ Red Alert, Russell Simmons and his humble beginnings as a record exec at Boogie Down Productions.
Ironically enough, his last tweet was dedicated to the memory of his fellow BDP founder, Scott Sterling, aka DJ Scott “La Rock.” He was shot to death in a still unsolved murder mystery on the streets of their home borough of the Bronx on August 27, 1987.
Rest in peace to my main man The Grand Incredible Dj Scott La Rock. I am still Criminal Minded. 8/27/87
— Chris Lighty (@clighty) August 27, 2012
The circumstances of his death has been a hard pill to swallow, especially since only a few years ago the same music community was mourning the death of Shakir Stewart, the Def Jam record label exec who took his own life as well in 2008. And like Stewart, stories speculating the possible reasons of Lighty’s suicide amid financial and marital woes, have been flooding Twitter timelines over the past 24 hours. In all actuality, we’ll never know the exact reason Lighty took his life, so in light of that tragic reality, I have compiled the best editorials, tweets, features and galleries talking about not the death, but the life of Chris Lighty by those who knew him best.
He stated that he got his “M.B.A. in hell,” in reference to growing up in Bronx River Projects. The same borough he grinded so hard to escape to falling victim to gun violence in the streets like his friend and business partner DJ Scott, is the same borough he still lost his life to gun violence, by his own hands. So deep. I pray for his soul and his family and close friends that will remember him for the great guy I was told he was.