DiscoverMogul: The Life and Death of Chris LightyPart 1: That Beat, That Beat Right There

Part 1: That Beat, That Beat Right There

Update: 2017-06-164


Let’s start at the end—at a funeral. All the brightest stars in the hip-hop universe are gathered to mourn the death of Chris Lighty. He was their friend, their brother, their late-night confidant, the man who discovered them, or saved their careers, or made them millionaires. He was a hip-hop legend. But to understand how we got here, we have to go back to the beginning—back to a time before hip-hop even had a name. 

CREDITS: Mogul is hosted by Reggie Ossé. This episode was produced by Eric Eddings and Meg Driscoll, with help from Isabella Kulkarni, Peter Bresnan, and Jonathan Mena. Our senior producer is Matthew Nelson. Our editors are Lynn Levy, Caitlin Kenney and Chris Morrow. Sound design and mixing by Haley Shaw. Music direction by Matthew Boll. This episode was scored by Prince Paul & Newkirk, with additional music by Open Mike Eagle, Haley Shaw, and Bobby Lord. Special thanks to Victoria Barner, Caitlin DiLena, and Tuma Basa. Check out more Gimlet podcasts at


Following script is auto-generated by Speech to Text Technology:

this episode mogul is bordered by stone house so most of the smart system a while the speakers with solos you can stream all your favorite music and podcasts any room and every room I love Saturday mornings when I use my so sweet that my family I'll put on James Brown's funky drummer parts one into the driving bass the driving beat gets my kids and we clean the house and we have a lot of fun parties like a cleaning party so much that you control everything using this all set so you can enjoy all the cells you love in any room every room and wants to learn more go to salsa com slash mobile s Anna West Ott Come Flash Mobile weather for a new name on planet Earth was at the funeral Borneo is the new My of course fell out with Aaron and a E Campbell Funeral Chapel and had the same place for funerals for stores like holy evangelists notorious B I G were blackout when those perfect shot bodyguards the new album dropping medical examiner has ruled the death of hip hop mogul Chris Lai tee is a suicide why he was found with a gunshot wound to the head at his Bronx home on Thursday police said he found a black handgun at the same but no note the forty four year old work with some of rap and Arby's biggest stars including New York XL L Cool J Mariah Carey Sean Diddy Combs and fifty cent this also works with Busta rhymes Missy Elliott Foxy Brown Q two thousand with the biggest endorsement deals in the history of hip out this guy was a king and a king maker which is why no one saw this coming powerful black men like Chris lady do not chew themselves makes no sense now twenty four and brought his only be done and up in jail is so not only achieve so much contributed so much the call to me so much damn money but somehow there he was the lying in a casket the table that has gone is Chris's mom Jessica A reading the born in the Bronx New York very young age he was encouraged to be independent dependable loyal and true to his family and friends that way throughout his short but eventful life he leaves a legacy that his children can cherish and uses a benchmark in defining what makes a person successful in life is not the same material possession store even the love of her career he enjoyed everyday of his adult life was much deeper than that my son was a lover of God family friends life itself and as we ought to walk life's journey team made some wrong turns but he never wavered in that love almost from the you love you so much thefts the about the birth of hip hop brew for the hip hop legend but it's also side of the industry and a lot of people in our world better not talk about Chris why don't you from the blocks made a surprise so hot now we everything was sold Valley of the sticker slide n hiphop we have to go back to We both came from the one in nineteen sixteen and came up in nineteen seventy tie with New York's and boxed up most of the wealthy and middle classes were taken in tax dollars with leaving the scene borderline bankrupt the all Ross was easily the most fucked up crime skyrocketed employment plummeted gangs with names like the Black spades Savage go in the Sedgwick says his patrol the streets outbreak of fires throughout the borough The The The The The The The The The Bronx Is burning literally all this was happening right now sacrifice for your kids the kids no matter where they grow up to go outside and they play is Chris's sister Nicole what's your earliest memory of crush the earliest memory of my brother so many riding our bikes on sticking place in the Bronx we had to be in a house with no lights came on but we just write out purple but wakes up and down history i e memories with us on his bike no he made us here with his all his brothers we had a dual dirty a place at two a m and we did of course the chest in a week late I was six of us with a towel his stuff in an environment wasn't allowed to really have a child and Mimi show we add one word reasons that could have such a normal childhood in such a tough environment because of Chris's mom Jessica she did her best insulated case what was happening in the Bronx skip to the solid working class neighborhoods we went to church every Sunday she said them to the best schools which in Chris's case white schools and I remember when Avis and maybe a tray and he said to me Mom why do I have to go to that school is any black person and Aaron because he would have to fight and I would tell him you're black you're in a now and you have to not be just as good as them yet to be better than that he's going to succeed that's why I have to kind of the schools were going to a fancy school but at the end of the day he always had to come back to his own neighborhood and that vitamin B books what was not enough you had to be street smart and you needed a crew so you always have somebody to watch your back the toy by a Halo game like he is certain areas like you had to be in a crew so you can move around a curve now you get bullied or picked on or whatever the case may be and no walk into projects like this you know every time yet to prove yourself as Dale Thompson Christmas when they were little old freshman in high school what Weis was Gus goes to Samuel bought was called to solve this once again God was standout graduates eighty six yes from the norm they were inseparable you know how you get to somebody and you talk in the same id go back if for some time to leave at the top but you're around that person that you the best my boyf at best it and that's how me Chris was something the Pierce ear was Love Fly gear is used for kids grown up in the city definitely for me and that's a big part of why I'm so drawn across like the story in some ways Chris and I live parallel lives we both grew up in New York City around the same ever Chris in the Bronx and Brooklyn like so many city kids we fell in love with the hip hop culture was starting to take shape around us we dedicated our lives this Chris became one of the most powerful man in the industry that's been over a decade as a successful music attorney we ran a similar circles made a few deals together both main aims for ourselves but deep down we were still kids from the neighborhood trying to stay fresh the Dallas we don't have much growing up so well we had to keep clean light had appeared Adidas for fifty four nineteen going to Frank's on Park Avenue and Broad St remark haven't remarked favorite spot and there was a spot o' doom in his room at the A Man named where everyone went from our town Get Fresh what was the color scheme and was it was with was a white all white all black add the wine white wine and y so when I cleaned it I guess Dave will we be we so what we did a weekly diary damage to question God but y'know the white of the water was all fucked up because you know it was yellow because that's when I want the details of the zombies at the end and you know just right you can put the wind and the stripe so you had to clean it with the two boys and NY was still a little dent put out on VHS I kept away first I was was green on one side white with green stripe he knew desk unit that's what it is we like to stay clean with a sense that because we didn't have much will be owns Burger so much more clothes sneakers watch whatever one shot on to say the world and not come from the fans please at least a half freshman to come clean on the fly the problem was that if you did show off what you had you put yourself or risk because people might read jacket from Eagle to a friend's house to make sure have the right but you know anything clean or because of you don't if you have some clean when you got a fight that he would as if he were to rob you want to ask me says bushel sized since I did not say why he say cuz I like your sneakers I like are you kidding me dad fight every day back in today s The biggest thing for children and for parents the challenge for parents was eat you work hard to provide a decent clothing and shoes and coats for your kids you do not want to have your children experience being held at gunpoint and told to strip because they want to take with your kids as you know and that was a challenge that every parent faced back then but has yet to once he heard the story play in one of the one and the things that he bore when he was seventeen years old was Am bomber jacket the jacket the coals referring to whose lives pride and joy of Black Love the bomb like the one Tom Cruise wore in Top Gun bros were essentially been flat or wanted one too fucking expensive you have to get an after school part time job and save the money to cop one of the kids that walk in and laid in the car wait until cats like what I wore my jacket and a promise and one day while he was walking home this is exactly what happened Chris he came home Harry I with wrong way is furious and just grabbing anything to go attack them with but you know who is definitely a turning point for you to be doing the right pane and sell some and do some wrongs he kana take that innocence away email or person can shove from reality I guess if you don't really want to be a part of the new no name was Eli lady you know ever it takes something from me a you know what they have been SOOO yeah I would have to see the Dow was his first and last v loudly to me how to say that one thing that keeps coming up in the story of why these childhood home which is Mon trying to protect was surrounded was our streets with the rule was if you want something you take it and it's not like his home was a place of sanctuary either Chris's father left when he was six years old and when his mother remarried new husband was physically abusive he hit her sometimes a fun and a kids' fall while Gasol better Christmas and we live with a relative and have to say the s AME is now at this size and age that he can challenge my excess been and I knew I had to leave but I had not figured out how I was going to be able to leave yet all the chaos from the streets inside his home Chris needed an escape a place we get away from all of this year but if you're in a city kid are the many outlets to play Basketball handball the comic book or get in trouble Chris Heath rules often to music I mean when Chris got its first informed by Phil and I got this Diego y Kenneth delicate said he had had a big deal in boxes reveal the the early nineteen eighties told her by the woman told a way that we carry around blast and it was so synonymous of people call them we had tears all the dead lattice one brother you know my Mia Michaels wins and now Michael dances we did everything Garbo back from christened his boom box that combines that was a big part of the ladies little diversion across the city this week of turntables this because when it hosts will spin records of parks courtyards handball courts anyway there was space for crafts recall in part because of these Park in Reno today it was for the about to Chris falls in love with hip hop this episode a mogul is what you buy so no I use my solo speakers in my house every day because I love music in every room in my place is two floors and I'll be in the second floor playing for the cruelty and I'll go downstairs and my kids will be playing some trap music like Travis Scott and Bill Mueller to music and they'll come upstairs and put them on to music and just really like this organic educational Kailey eco like music ecosystem that all of a share I just think it's absolutely great I can't live without music and I can't imagine them living on the news follows lets you control everything using the salt app on your phone so you can enjoy all the sounds you love to learn more go to salsa com slash mobile S O N O s Come Flash Mobile welcome back to Mobile so back with Chris Laney was a kid music and sounds much like a dose of a talking Free Sugar Hill Gang Hip Hop over a decade before you hit the airwaves before kindy Wes was even born nowadays we think hip hop we think of rappers back then rappers with sidekicks everything was about the music and the Dee Jays control that day with the Stars and the deed is a plea the pardons the masses of rocking the crowd of people dance for as long as possible one of the first place new sounds of DJ called Cool her today he's known as one his house founding fathers back then uses his whole cock diesel cue from Jamaica love funk and soul records here's a pub Jones Dan trying this talking about her next great innovation The incredible Bongo Band did this remake of this song originally performed by an English group from the nineteen sixties called The shadows The song was called Apache the this was one of her trademark records right and the incredible Bongo Band this song with several incredible instrumental breaks the the great corners with no lives if Americans is pure caution against the The Kirkwood never let anybody see what this record like his job was to find these records and play them and the boys who came to this stuff and dance to it right this was like their favorite jam for that instrument a break to calm the The the the that we get to the invention right so her begins to realize that the dancers go crazy on these instrumental parts break downs that come up two minutes into a song three minutes into a song is he asked himself that I could just take those little bits that everybody likes and extend the right or just go from break break break so the first invention was the merry go around he would just go from the break section of Apache the the to the break section on bond on the the the to the great section on Give It Up Or Turn It loose The The The The The but den after that he got the idea to do two copies of the same record so he could take a break section on Apache Ben Cross played right into the break section for patchy and keep going and going and going from the left or table to the right back to the left so that that ten second breakdown could become this ten minute beatdown that was the invention of the remember Kristen Bell were just kids who started spinning a porch and bought it early with teenagers hip hop music as we know was starting to take shape and now rather than watching from the bedroom windows was right there in the mix here to break down exactly what it was like to attend a party jam we have Daryl plus Chris's cousin A B Butler and his friend Joan Morgan the OK when a school yard the day for the DJ right in front and they make so that they close in Thailand polls because they need electricity to keep the music going and making it all out so they they take in a long extensive coy and they put it into the pose is so crazy how you use the electricity back in today from the samples to you here there was a jam in the park and you eat a scone the six o'clock based Austin up in the music Amore and then you start hearing the music a little bit on that by all the damage to the people what does this put on a good stuff doesn't know yet the girls as the yuan may say You Tube so you go in they put all your new love the green leather jacket put on your new polling was back in it plays out will be way healed they elect Lee his meimei for Phoebe down the thighs were these limits as parents you know it's different coz got rainbow head like a name that the mock necks got the bomber jacket got the wow you know you will you got it all because that our Toyota King gold cap or whatever it was you had a maid to look good that's how you came out to your friends haiz this is one of the best things you could drink that I had a brown bag so you have forty outlook thirty two ounce fish FL paint Santana know the old English house thought it probably does weed in the air outside you listening to these these days makes these brackets that you never heard before and the way the mix that is spent swooning is like sound with a scratch in the make up his neck to be coming in oh ma god of love and the yet to break dance drink all four boxes out of break dancing we don't know that you will be all Oh we do to well to do a pee wee Herman mine allowed to be here i are or what the whole day as we did a lot today as you know be the uh the you walk in and you can hop in a new move in at the same time you move the muscles pushed in then got soldiers move in and moving to a one way of the way the the the the venue called The pee wee Herman is free to come watch the clock to know why felt that day was better than anybody else was in corporate America wasn't meant to do to me that was hit by the love the uh the uh the uh called The pee wee but that would hold a joint is crazy me and Chris Lai we love Debbie Debbie married to Chris and our true hip hop with their forts Burr played in the same Parks who was created they grew up together and like them pop changes they got older the park jams in nineteen seventy as with the childhood phase the coast order to reach adolescence in the nineteen eighties that's when the music started to migrate from the park jams to Manhattan club scene and so today the Chris and our favorite spot to go to hear the latest hits was a Manhattan nightclub called Union Square tell the listeners how you square looking to discredit that they cast okay when you first walk in there was a curtain so you can even look inside the club the the the top floor when you walk in the top floor drapes around the first was like you looking down to the dancefloor Square to see how it filled up so quickly after the fav o eight o'clock mama clock everybody's coming in at ten thirty the place packed show that the fight to see the one noted the time this is the start of something big was here in Union Square that Chris would take his first step into the music industry he go from being a fan to becoming a party to see an America make all of this possible this dude right here master uncle bone the bone what a boy the B U M staff of the ultimate May ok but ultimately the air and gas and his reign as did the coolest legend most people know as DJ Butler was one of the Dee Jays at Union Square got inspired to DJ when he started going a block parties apart jams in the Bronx that the guy spinning this into himself I can do that we settle his own recollections started spinning after a few years he built a reputation being one eateries in New York City even got his own radio show on kiss FM don't touch that dial like jamming with well a ninety eight points seven assists as the church is like Ritalin is one of the Hanford has been one of city you want to hear the house and she had to catch the show the nineteen eighty six it started spinning and square and I started the first night a couple fall is one of ours came on down there was Chris Paul would dabble in this way before filing them all together young man had a proposition from red to look out for the DJ make sure no one fucks with the baby has Mosul and in return they wanted to get the club for free and all of the perks that came to hang out with a star like red red did need muscle but not how Chris and Al imagine Ray was I yeah I wanna get in I need to carry the streets ok so those crates they were filled with reds entire record collection this is the mid nineteen eighties remember whose it was not digitized back then so DJ Red alert would have to carry all of his vinyl from show to show the CSM industrious kids who willing to do it for him these crates of I thirty forty fifty pounds each Fuller Ricketts we had a cavity so it's a metal crates they wasn't good and some metal quite a song like that the book reads Big Data back into what the joints that be of course the DJ is not suppose Kerry's own crate why why when you got us out of know how he get those creeds downtown Reno and beg God that we have somebody that had a truck goes the bobbed back in the truck was always low that's how many records he had those crates had that is like usual going to Willie was going to sow was the enemy yet many rackets still the job if you could call it that had its perks in fact it only seems humans experience of going to the club before they were no bodies but now that they would our red now they were some bodies may the oh painting again the payroll pay what the never we never got a lot those rates will drop was caused when we get to the front and a CIA over great show but if you would all well good because there by looking you know they like the and on making a loan a possible throughout the day on the and underground is always talking personnel we don't
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Part 1: That Beat, That Beat Right There