'He will live on in me, in Black Thought, in the rest of the Roots, and in every artist and project he touched,' Quest writes.
On July 17, Roots manager Richard Nichols lost a long battle with leukemia and the music world lost a figure who was almost as instrumental in forming the band as Questlove and Black Thought were. Unsurprisingly, the Roots drummer found the right words to pay tribute to his dear friend in a gripping obituary.
In penning the tribute for Vulture, Questlove characterizes Nichols as a man of insatiable creative urges, whose enthusiasm constantly drove the Roots creatively and emotionally. He recounts meeting Nichols -- then a jazz DJ on Temple University's radio station -- at an early Roots gig in Philadelphia. He soon became the Roots' manager at the request of Tariq Trotter (better known as Black Thought) and came to play a leading role in the Roots' creative mission.
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Questlove describes that mission as using "hip-hop to find the value in the modern-day black experience without any boasts about bank or gangsterized tall tales. He was always looking for a balance where portraits of everyday black Americans, stories about their struggles and triumphs both, were seen a kind of heroism."
Quest also recounts Nichols' intellectually stimulating email ways ("Every time you hit reply, it was like playing chess") and the crucial role he played in being a counterpoint to his own voice in his memoir, Mo Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove.
"He will live on in me, in Black Thought, in the rest of the Roots, and in every artist and project he touched," Questlove proclaims.