The Definition of a MOGUL
Often times fans of music and people outside the music industry only see the glamour and glitz. We see 50 cent striking a multi-million dollar marketing deal, Diddy locking down a huge endorsement and as a community we give them praises for acheiving such deals. Often what the general public doesn’t realize is none of these moves are made alone. Alot of the dynamic deals that happen are on the backs of master negotiators and executives who commonly don’t get the limelight.
Chris Lighty was one of those people.
Through his time as a music executive at Def Jam to starting his own hugely successful Violator Management, Lighty was a huge influence on hip-hop. From humble beginnings as a road manager for Boogie Down Productions, Lighty diligently worked his way up to what we call a “King-Maker”, an executive with the connections to make the next big star. He was the guy who negotiated Tribe Called Quest’s $1.5 million record deal with Warner Bros back when labels were shrewdly signing cats with cars and jewelry as an actual advance. In essence he helped elevate the game with a razor-sharp business acumen. Chris had run with a DJ crew and worked from ground-zero… he knew hip-hop.
Lighty Made his own name
Later he was mentored by the Grand Jedi master of hip-hop entrepreneurship, Russell Simmons while with RUSH Management. As a mentor, Simmons shared massive insight for Chris, but Lighty never dwelled in his shadow. Thru Violator management, he successfully managed huge acts like LL Cool J, 50 Cent, Busta Ryhmes, and more. The late nineties was a HUGE time for Violator Management up until the present. That’s longevity, and a reflection of the business savvy that Lighty had. Lighty also understood the artists, he wasn’t simply an executive getting their money. The disconnect that most executives have was Lighty’s strength and help him have a monumental success in management of his superstar clients.
100 Million-Dollar Water
Drake’s Sprite Deal
With Lighty’s passing we hope that more aspiring entrepreneurs take notes and look at the positive that Chris brought to the game in his lifetime. My condolences to his family, his impact has been a huge influence in this industry and he was an direct inspiration to many, myself included. RIP