Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes, Fat Joe and other rappers appear on Violator: The Album,
an upcoming compilation fêting the company that helped launch and shape their
"Chris Lighty is my man for a very long time," Q-Tip said of Violator's founder, who
created the record company and management firm in 1988 out of friendships with De La
Soul, the Jungle Brothers and Q-Tip's former group, A Tribe Called Quest.
"The collection of artists he has is one of depth and it's a great array," said Q-Tip (born
Jonathan Davis), who is working on his first solo album. Violator: The Album
includes "Vivrant Thing," Q-Tip's first solo track.
The album, due July 13, also includes a collaboration between Busta Rhymes and Missy
"Misdemeanor" Elliott and songs by Foxy Brown, Noreaga and Mobb Deep, all of whom
are associated with Violator. LL Cool J, who is not a Violator client, appears too. Lighty,
an executive with Def Jam Recordings, was credited as the executive producer of LL
Cool J's past several albums.
"We're just putting a new push on the name Violator and the fact that we've been
associated with a lot of hits through the last 10 years," Lighty said. "We're the guys in the
back and we're just going to push it up to the front."
Violator made a name for itself in the late 1980s when the loosely related New York rap
bands De La Soul, the Jungle Brothers and A Tribe Called Quest all built strong
followings with their debut albums.
The company scored a distribution deal with Relativity Records in the early 1990s and
introduced such artists as Fat Joe (born Joseph Cartegena) and the Beatnuts before
landing its present distribution arrangement with Def Jam in 1996.
Mona Scott, who runs the management side of Violator, said the company employs a
"crawl, walk, run" philosophy with its artists, working with them on long-term strategies for
"That's one of Violator's strong suits," Scott said. "We're in this for the long haul. The
success we're enjoying now is not fly-by-night. It's been a very long time in the making."
Violator has often used collaborations to promote its artists, and Violator: The
Album continues the tradition with a number of duets, including "Know Why?!?,"
which pairs Busta Rhymes (born Trevor Smith) with Elliott. The album also will introduce
new Violator artists such as Mysonne and Sonya Blade.
Q-Tip, whose band broke up last summer, is planning to release his solo album in
November. He said he recorded "Vivrant Thing" more than a year ago and that the title is
"one of those colloquialisms" he made up to represent feeling good, feeling "vivrant to
"Vivrant Thing" was released as a single Thursday. It is also available as an MP3 file at
The album, mostly recorded over the past several months at various studios around the
country, is now being mixed, Lighty said. It may end up being the first in a series of
Violator compilations, he said.