Remembering 'Baby' Chris Lighty, a pioneering executive in hip-hop
From Ebony.com: [Yesterday] morning “Baby” Chris Lighty was found dead outside his Riverdale, Bronx apartment from an apparent self-inflicted gun wound. The news comes as a tremendous shock to those in what’s left of the post-hip-hop urban record industry that Lighty helped to build.
He began his career back in the 80’s rolling with Kool DJ Red Alert, carrying his crates of vinyl to club parties and acting as enforcer for the DJ and their crew, the ‘Violators,’ when the parties turned violent. When he performed as a DJ himself, it was as ‘Baby Chris’ because despite being tall, his cherub-y, handsome face always seemed like it to belonged to a teenager. Lighty later managed many of the Native Tongues acts, including A Tribe Called Quest.
Like a lot of young hip hop executives, Lighty learned the record industry fundamentals at Def Jam Records under the leadership of Russell Simons and Lyor Cohen, but real success and influence came as a result of his entrepreneurship; he and Mona Scott’s Violator Management, and then Violator Records, worked with innovators like Missy Elliot and Busta Rhymes and later brokered multi-million dollar endorsement deals for 50 Cent.
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