Finally a podcast for hip-hop heads. More specifically hip-hop heads who have an affinity for history. From Gimlet Media comes a podcast mini series chronicling the life and death of Chris Lighty.
Chris Lighty was a hip-hop music executive. He co-founded Violator, a label that represented Nas, Ja Rule, Mobb Deep, Missy Elliot, and 50 Cent as well as others.
The show is an in-depth look at Chris Lighty’s rise to power during the early days of hip-hop in the 1980s until his death by suicide in 2012. Reggie Osse, aka Combat Jack, narrates the story. Combat Jack, was an attorney for several hip-hop acts as well as an executive for record companies. Later he was the managing editor of the hip-hop magazine “The Source.”
Combat Jack was coming up in Brooklyn while Chris Lighty was cutting his teeth in Queens. Due to their similar origins and ages, Combat Jack is uniquely qualified to host the podcast. Through the first two episodes he has provided terrific context as well as access to hip-hop legends like DJ Red Alert and Russell Simmons.
So far the highlight of the show has been the interviews with Russell Simmons and the epic story told by Simmons and Lighty from which the second episode, “Not Just Me and Snakes”, derives its name. In a recording Lighty talks about going to meet Simmons in a club full of White people who had brought their pets to party with them. He said it was like a bunch of White people and snakes and Russell Simmons at the club. At some point Lighty told Russell it wasn’t his scene (not in those words) and he cut out. Obviously Russell Simmons wasn’t pleased.
That’s where we are through two episodes. Lighty has discovered that to make it in hip-hop he’ll have to dispose of some of his street persona. In the third episode, as of yet unreleased, the arc continues.
A quick shout out to Gimlet which has many great shows on their network. Personally I really like “Reply All.” The network was started by Alex Blumberg (formerly of “This American Life”). To see a complete list of their shows go here.