Rich Nichols, the legendary hip-hop writer, producer and manager of iconic hip-hop group The Roots has died. Nichols, who managed and produced The Roots for two decades, died today after a long battle with leukemia, which was confirmed by The Roots on their Okayplayer website. On the site, they referred to Nichols as “the guiding spirit behind the group.”
“Nichols had managed the Roots since the early ’90s, steering them on an unlikely trajectory from Philly street buskers, to heavy-touring hip-hop favorites, to the house band for America’s premiere late night show. He is also credited as producer, executive producer, mixer and A&R on several Roots albums and projects by the many artists the acclaimed band has collaborated with, including Jay-Z, Al Green, Common, Jill Scott and Erykah Badu.”
Artists with whom Nichols worked expressed condolences on Twitter.
Nichols is survived by his wife Mercedes Martinez, sons Amiri Nichols and Rakim Nichols, sisters Rochelle Nichols-Solomon, Rebecca Dennis and brothers Russell Nichols and Reginald Nichols. He was 55.