Spotify is looking to make its presence felt in the podcast world with the debut of an audio documentary series.
“Mogul: The Life & Death of Chris Lighty,” is a six-part series that tells the story of the music entrepreneur’s bootstrap rise from Bronx kid to manager of iconic hip-hop artists–like Diddy, Missy Elliott and Busta Rhymes–to his unexpected suicide in 2012 at just 44 years old.
According to Variety, the first episode of “Mogul” takes listeners back to the dawn of the hip-hop revolution in 1970s New York where Lighty was raised in the Bronx River Housing Projects. It guides them through his youth spent carrying crates for pioneering DJ Red Alert and trying to get into clubs for free with his coterie of friends. It was the latter action for which the crew became known as “violators”— the term that would recur throughout his career and what would inspire the name for his management and marketing company, Violator Entertainment.
Throughout his rise in the hip-hop industry, Lighty elevated from beyond the standard music deals and took artists to another level. Lighty famously orchestrated 50 Cent’s deal with Vitamin Water prior to its sale to Coca-Cola, which earned the rapper an estimated $80-100 million in 2004. He got LL Cool J booked for a Gap commercial in 1997, when hip-hop artists weren’t necessarily considered for the face of international brands.
However despite his successes, in August of 2012, Lighty walked behind his South Riverdale, NY home, following an argument with his estranged wife and amid rumors of financial issues, and shot himself in the head.
“Mogul” is a thorough look into the music exec’s life hosted by Reggie Osse (of the popular Combat Jack podcast) and features Lighty’s mother and sister as well as musicians like Fat Joe, N.O.R.E. and Warren G speaking on his life and impact on the hip-hop community and beyond. For Osse, it’s important that Lighty’s story is told because his presence is so strongly felt today.
“I look at Chris’ influence in what Jay Z is doing, someone who’s so multifaceted,” he said. “We found out that Chris was really looking at getting into sports and looking at brands that were really beyond the beverage or the alcohol or apparel. It’s obvious that Chris was definitely an influence on Jay Z — and even [Diddy], who was managed and influenced by Lighty at a certain juncture in his career. If you look at the Diddys and Jay Zs and even Dr. Dres, becoming arguably ‘hip-hop’s first billionaire,’ all of those are evidence of blueprints laid down by Chris.”
Spotify subscribers can stream the podcast series here starting today.