By Rob Markman with reporting by Nadeska Alexis
Today the hip-hop world was delivered a lethal blow when music manager to the superstars Chris Lighty was laid to rest. Family, friends and hip-hop’s biggest stars gathered at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel in Manhattan on Wednesday (September 5) at around 9 a.m. ET to send off their music mogul.
Diddy, 50 Cent, LL Cool J, Missy Elliott, Q-Tip, Russell Simmons, Mary J. Blige, Lyor Cohen and Grandmaster Flash were all present at the George Washington Memorial Park, where Lighty was laid to rest wearing a dark-colored suit and surrounded by white flowers.
MTV News was on hand and witnessed Busta Rhymes exit the chapel around 1:30 p.m. looking very emotional as he hugged and shared his grief with others who were close to Lighty. After the service, the music mogul’s casket was loaded into a hearse and his wife and kids left shortly after.
On August 30, Lighty was found dead at his Bronx, New York, apartment with a gunshot wound to the head. Investigators on the scene determined that the wounds were self-inflicted and the medical examiner later ruled Lighty’s death a suicide officially. Reports have pointed to Lighty’s debt to the IRS and his troubling marriage as reasons why the industry visionary would take his own life.
Whatever the case, Grandmaster Flash, who spoke outside the chapel, noted the tremendous amount of pressure Lighty must’ve been under and said that it was very sad. It was a similar sentiment that Chris’ business partner Michael “Blue” Williams shared with MTV News last week. “What people are missing and what people don’t see and what Chris is an example of is how much, as black men, we carry around and don’t always communicate,” Blue told us a day after Lighty’s death.
See photos of friends and family who came out to pay their respects for Chris Lighty.
Warner Music executive and close friend Lyor Cohen shared some touching words on Lighty during the funeral. A few of Chris’ star-studded roster of clients including Busta Rhymes and Q-Tip also added their personal memories of the man who helped shape their careers.
Earlier Wednesday, Fat Joe marked the occasion with a verse over Slaughterhouse’s somber “Goodbye” track. Before he started to rhyme Fat Joe said, “If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here.”
“You was my mentor you started me/ That’s why you’ll forever be a part of me,” the Terror Squad leader rapped.
Cormega, another one of Lighty’s rap protégés, penned an open letter where he talked about how Chris groomed him from a fresh-out-of-prison street thug to a professional who learned to master the ins and outs of the music industry. “He was a leader,” Mega said in a release sent to MTV News. “A true leader is measured by the success of those he leads and Chris led a multitude of artists, producers, and DJs to success.”