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Chris Lighty

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Darrell Steven Lighty, commonly known as Chris Lighty is responsible for the big time record label and marketing group Violator Management & Records. Chris’s love of music began at a young age. Born in the Bronx, May 8th 1968, and raised in the projects, Chris started his music career working for DJ Red Alert. Chris scraped his dollars together carting records around for DJ Red Alert starting in YEAR.

Eventually, Lighty leaves behind this modest gig for a position with Rush Management—hired by owner Russell Simmons. Simmons describes Lighty as, ““an amazing example of how a passionate kid from the street can go to the most even-keeled, smart, thoughtful manager in the business and a generous philanthropist”. Lighty learned the ins and outs of music management with Rush Management before setting out on his own.

By the early 1990’s Chris Lighty had gathered a group of confidants, and started the company known as Violator. Violator, based out of the Bronx, was a product of Lighty’s days spent struggling on the streets. With no college education, Chris Lighty attributes Violator’s success to his hard earned street education, explaining, “I got my M.B.A. in hell.” Violator’s clients include names like Mariah Carey, Missy Elliot, Ja Rule, 50 Cent, Fat Joe and many, many more highly successful performing artists.

In 2011, acting in Violator’s best financial interests, Violator mergers with Primary Wave—forming the powerhouse known as Primary Violator Management. Larry Mestel, CEO of Primary Wave acts as the CEO and chairman of Primary Violator Management, and Chris Lighty assumes the role of chief operating officer. Chris Lighty continues his dedication to his music career until his untimely death.

On August 30th, 2012 Lighty is found deceased in his Bronx apartment. There is much speculation surrounding Lighty’s death, but the coroners ruled the death to be suicide. Lighty was found with a gunshot wound to the head, and is survived by his former wife, Veronica and two daughters, Tiffany and Deja.

Companies and Investments

Violator Management & Records (Co-Founder), Primary Violator Management (Chief Operating Manager), DJ Red Alert (crate carrier), Rush Management (Employee), Jive and Loud (executive) Brand Asset Management (Chief Executive), Def Jam (executive)

Lessons Learned

From the streets to entrepreneurship, emphasis is placed on the same important qualities of Lighty’s life. Good health, strong imagination, and prayer will send you straight to the top. Lighty explains, “Pray or worry, don’t do both.” By this, he conveys priceless business advice. Without your health, you have nothing. Without your imagination you cannot innovate, and without innovation there will be no growth. Growth is essential to successful entrepreneurship.

Inspiring Quotes

Even if you dont feel like doing what must be done, you can still do it.

Ralph Marston

Dont fear failure. Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.

Bruce Lee

Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.

George Patton

The harvest is great, but the workers are few.

Matthew 9:37

Ambition is like hunger; it obeys no law but its appetite.

Henry Wheeler Shaw

Chris Lighty's Quotes

Momentum is the word of the week. Create it.

Chris Lighty

Working hard bears the fruits of your labor. Work hard live well.

Chris Lighty

As long as I am breathing I am going to take chances!

Chris Lighty

The blueprint to happiness doesn’t start with money or success.

Chris Lighty

Influential Books

Bible - Holy Bible, Keystone Giant Print Presentation Edition: King James Version


Ralph Marston, Jeff Capel, Adam Yauch, Winston Churchill