Top hip-hop manager Chris Lighty has died. He was 40.
Early press reports said Lighty died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his Bronx apartment.
A staffer at the Los Angeles office of Primary Wave, which merged with Lighty’s Violator Management in 2011, confirmed his death, but could provide no further details. A publicist for the firm did not immediately return calls from Daily Variety.
Lighty’s company represented Mariah Carey, Diddy, Busta Rhymes, 50 Cent, LL Cool J and Soulja Boy, among others. A year ago, the company formed Primary Violator by combining its operations with Primary Wave CEO Larry Mestel’s talent operation (Daily Variety, Sept. 19, 2011).
Lighty was also involved in Brand Asset Group, a joint venture with Warner Music Group.
Before moving back into management, Lighty served as senior vp at Jive Records.
Lighty formed Violator Management in 1989. His partners in the endeavor included Todd Moscowitz, today co-president and COO of Warner Bros. Records.
Before founding Violator, Bronx-born Lighty worked with Russell Simmons and Lyor Cohen (today chairman-CEO of recorded music at Warner Music Group) at Rush Management and Def Jam Records.
Violator Records, which began life distributed by indie Relativity, moved under the Def Jam umbrella, and spawned such acts as Warren G and Foxy Brown. Def Jam acquired the Violator roster in 1999.