There was a suitably star-studded line-up assembled for the Chris Lighty funeral in New York today (September 5th) after the founder of management group Violator was found dead in his Bronx apartment last week. Newsday reports that the cause of his death was ascertained relatively quickly by officials as suicide which meant that proceedings for his service could go ahead straight away.
Among the mourners turning up to the event in Manhattan were rap royalty LL Cool J, Russell Simmons, 50 Cent and Grandmaster Flash. It was with 50 that Lighty struck arguably his finest achievement for an artist of his, with the rapper walking away with a cool $100 million when Vitamin Water, who he had an endorsement deal with, were sold to Coca-Cola for $4.1 billion. The service was an open casket funeral, with mourners walking past the coffin to get to their seat; Lighty was dressed in a dark suit and surrounded by arrangements of white flowers. A slide show depicted his life on a screen.
It wasn't just 50 Cent who Lighty helped; he also managed Sean Combs for a time, as well as LL Cool J, to name just two more. Speaking back in 2007, Lighty made it clear that he'd always been about maximising opportunities beyond just music for his artist, saying in an interview "As music sales go down because kids are stealing it off the Internet and trading it and iPod sales continue to rise, you can't rely on just the income that you would make off of being an artist." There's no doubt that he'll be missed by the world of hip hop.