Chris Lighty, the founder of Violator Entertainment* and a major force in New York hip-hop as well as the industry overall, was found dead this morning outside of his apartment according to the NY Daily News. There is speculation concerning how Lighty’s finacial situation and recent divorce may have factored in his death, but the real circumstances are unknown and should probably be left to his friends, family, and investigators to contemplate.
What the rest of us should do is express our condolences and show respect for the impact he and Violator has had on hip-hop and R&B music, as well as the related urban youth culture. If you were unfamiliar with Lighty or Violator’s legacy as a talent management company and record label before today’s sad news, then the following candid 2011 interview footage originally produced for AlLindstrom.com should help tell Lighty’s and Violator’s story. In addition to the video, take a look below at Violator’s current and former roster lists (which may be out-of-date, but still provide good context) taken from Wikipedia** and see how many names you recognize and maybe even respect.
Three 6 Mafia
Big Pun (deceased)
LL Cool J
Three 6 Mafia
* Violator Entertainment merged with Primary Wave Music in 2011 to form Primary Violator, though the two entities still seem to be flying their independent flags.
**Surreal Soundscapes can’t guarantee the accuracy of this list or any other information sourced from Wikipedia.
*** With the exception of Missy and Three 6, who are both producers and vocalists, it is difficult to say whether or not these artist are currently on Violator.