Although he spent his career mostly behind the scenes, Chris Lighty ’s tragic death yesterday has thrust his achievements into the spotlight. Today’s New York Times described him as “one of the most powerful figures in the hip-hop business,” adding, “Mr. Lighty helped establish the genre as a major commercial force.”

Marc Ecko, who partnered with Lighty to produce G-Unit apparel, put it this way: “Watching him do his thing with 50 was just a master class in entrepreneurship.”

In the words of Dan Charnas, author of the definitive history of the hip-hop business, The Big Payback, “Chris Lighty created and sustained more careers for more stars than any of his contemporaries because he had a simple formula: he thought big, worked hard, made that money, and kept it moving.

Bottom line, Chris Lighty was a game changer in hip-hop. Let us count the ways...