It is with heavy hearts that we report that Rich Nichols, manager and friend of The Roots, has died after battling Leukemia. A brilliant musician and guiding force for the band, Nichols was admired for his encyclopedic grasp of music and no nonsense approach to business. In Questlove’s book “Mo Metta Blues,” he was described as “Nipsey Russell with dreadlocks” but “supremely analytical, extremely verbal, and entirely determined to digest, process, and represent the Roots’ whole experience.”
Artists from Marsha Ambrosius and Phonte Coleman to Jean Grae and Talib Kweli expressed their condolences on social media.
Rest in peace to one of the greatest men I’ve ever met, Rich Nichols—
Talib Kweli Greene (@TalibKweli) July 17, 2014
Rest in Peace to my advisor, my friend, my teacher, a man who challenged me to think bigger and be better, the brilliant Rich Nichols.—
J.PERIOD (@jperiodBK) July 17, 2014
man hearing the news about Rich Nichols really just ruined my night… rip—
(@donwill) July 17, 2014
RIP to my man Rich Nichols. The lessons he taught me both in and out of the studio were priceless. Rest easy, good brother.—
Phonte (@phontigallo) July 17, 2014
*sigh* So much love for Rich Nichols. So much. An awesome human. I learned a lot. I learned so much. All the love for Rich. All of it.—
THOR (@JeanGreasy) July 17, 2014
Marsha Ambrosius wrote on Instagram…
I HATE that I have to post this. R.I.P Rich Nichols. Prayers and love to all that knew him. I’ll never forget the day at Black Lily Philly he stayed at the sound board CURSING DUDE OUT making sure my mix was right THAT night and giving me the head nod after I finished performing. It’s crazy the things you remember. And I won’t forget. So many good times! ALWAYS looked out! Truly missed but NEVER .
Rich was the Ghostface to Questlove’s Raewkon in his book, “Mo Metta Blues” offering insightful and humorous observations about music and the the music business. He described “Rappers Delight” as a “coonish pastiche” that was “hard to take at face value…minstrel shtick come back to life and set to a cover of Chic’s “Good Times.” But his venom came from a place of love for music.
In fact, Questlove tweeted that his weekly party would still be going on.
“Heavy time for me right now….my therapy is spinnin records. Join me tonight at @BowlBrooklyn for an all remix #BowlTrain. All hip hop remixes. Tonight!”
Family members confirmed that he passed at approximately 3:00pm on Friday. We will update this story as it develops. Our condolences go out to his family and friends.
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