Here's an old post from the message board Okayplayer, where Rich addresses some fans who thought The Roots were not doing enough to promote their 2008 release, Rising Down.
Come on adrian, stop being the sensitive type (what are you 22 years old or something?). As you can see, I don't post here on any regular basis so, I can hardly be charged with driving dedicated okayplayers away (but a nigga can wish). Couple of points. I'm not bitter nor do I have a chip on my virtual shoulders but, I will respond aggressively when individuals come at us on some cybergressive steez. Flexing and saying things that they wouldn't say if not for their anonymity, or lack of proximity. Anyone who has met me is aware that I'm consistent, that my on-line persona doesn't vary from my real world one and that I stay on the "eye for an eye". As for me being an asshole, that's industry rule number one. Be an asshole. You can't survive this shit without being an asshole. I have met every label head in the business. They are all assholes. Lyor Cohen...definitive-asshole, Jimmy Iovine ....supreme-asshole, Clive Davis... historic-asshole. Let's not talk about the niggas of the industry. Puff, Dame, Irv, Jay, Suge, Benny. These guys could give less than a fuck about your touchy feeley sentiments. They're assholes. It's their vocation. While I'm hardly in that echelon of shit cutters, I must admit, I'm an asshole as well. My aggression isn't directed at the supportive fans that have constructive criticism, the ones that make known their opinions, wishes, disappointments etc. and then respectfully fall back. These supporters, like minded artists, aspiring writers, musicians, business types, general well wishers and kindred spirits that we encounter in cyberspace or in general population, are our lifeblood and we respect them. We certainly wouldn't have survived for 16 years plus as one of the only Black touring bands, not respecting them, our psychographic base, our living breathing demographic. The Okayplayers that I do have a problem with are the aggressive, dissatisfied (to the point of being hateful), frustrated, narcissistic ones (there is also a passive aggressive/narcissistic variation of this archetype). These bitter, third wave Okayplayers are usually (or unusually) frustrated artists, producers, journalists and bloggers who have yet to see their work acknowledged in a way they feel is meaningful. Most of these people have no way of nuancing their social selves and are largely unknown outside the message boards of a select number of online communities or the heads of their bitter progeny. They're the backseat drivers, the armchair quarterbacks, couch potato A&R's who won't shut the fuck up. Their refrains go something like this: "Yall gonna catch a brick", "That's why yall went wood", "The Roots are meh", " I stopped listening to them after Illadelph", "Thought is boring"....yada.... yada...fucking yada. It would be cool if these lames said that shit twenty times and disappeared into the hip hop abyss that is the comment section of rival sites. Instead for these fucks, Okayplayer has become some weird part of their "Primal Scream Therapy". They are drawn here hour after hour, day after day, year after year, to clear their fucked conscience. For them, I pray and pray for their downfall. They are the worst elements, lowering the bar of support to the point that a regular fan feels comfortable saying semi-foul shit. Yet we should grin and take it right? (That's why you (Adrian) feel like you can say some shit like, us "okayplayers are all you got", rattle off some bullshit about a "clear conscience" and feel justified. How bout this.....FUCK YOUR CONSCIENCE. Now do we still "got" you? Or is it bye bye to your trouble and your spirit? Yes,I'm an asshole). Anyway, back to this elusive casual buyer that Trouble, High Volt and, nut ass Bialystoker allude to...Who are these casual buyers? What artists do they support? Coke rappers...Jeezy,Rick Ross,TI, Jay Z. Lil Wayne. Tween rap.... Soulja Boy, Bow Wow (in decline), Hurricane Chris (ringtone only) Huge artists in decline 50, Luda, Snoop, Outkast For the most part hip hop is a singles market. Singles for the most part are lifestyle driven. Lifestyle meaning crack, club, bitches, guns all that boots with fur shit. Does this sound like something that the Roots could traffic in. There is Kanye, a winner but a very specific type, post ironic and non committal. A lil backpack, a lot of dizzy dazzle. The self professed Dear Moma-ing, Louis Vuitton Don. Spends 10 million plus making and marketing his albums. That can create lots of casual buyer awareness (for the record I think the boy is dope). Can we traffic like that? There is Common/Lupe. Casual buyer appeal. Lupe a young newcomer with a Kanye association, a fresh face, a skate boarder, nerd, etc., a kid who resonates with kids (his first outing sold just 350k btw) and, has only been around for two albums. His label outspent Def Jam two to one on marketing. There is Common, clearly the lone winner (gold plus) on this side of the left of center divide, thanks once again to the Kanye associated buzz (fyi, Kanye isn't intersested in producing, cameo-ing or, touring with anything Roots...we have asked). More recently casual buyer awareness by films and Oprah appearance. Geffen outspent Def jam three to one marketing his last project relative to The Roots. Believe it or not for all "the Roots only go wood talk" Do You Want More Is gold, Illadelph is 475K, Things Fall Apart 900k, Phrenology 700k, Tipping Point 470k.... Game Theory did 200k which -if you check any recent soundscan you will discover that this-is pretty much the new hip hop reality (with the exception of the aforementioned lifestyle artists and the Kanye bubble). But now I got hear about the casual buyer from people who have never sold one record in their entire life (or received per diem for that matter). Given the shape of the industry in general (google any label and layoffs) and Def Jam specifically we expect diminishing returns (name one act selling more than a fraction of what they sold just two years ago). We accept the industry's new reality along with possibility of becoming more niche than mainstream. So, exactly where does the casual buyer fit into this equation? Are casual buyers at the core of niche artists sales? In closing, the Roots have done over 100 interviews in the last month. Including The New York times, Vanity Fair ,Spin, Blender, Urb, Fader, Rolling Stone (a six page feature), XXL. THe Source, Vibe, Essence, The Washington Post,USA Today,etc. etc. We tour constantly. Check our dates. Just this week we appeared on Night of Too Many Stars and, as discussed, Colbert. We are headlining DC's Green Apple Festival at the National Mall in front of 100,000 people on April 20th. We have Letterman on April 28th. VH1 Soul Stage at the beginning of May. We got the cover of Urb, a six page feature in Rolling Stone and a feature in the New York Times. Our records have been serviced but, no significant play (Flex dropped bombs on Get Busy so I know he has it). Our video (no real budgets) has been serviced (Get Busy) no significant play. Def Jam is having internal problems as are all labels. Hip hop has been losing almost 30% of its market share every passing year and the industry overall is in decline (Soundscan anyone?). I wish y'all would do some homework before y'all start yapping, that's if you care. If you don't care ...shut the fuck up. If you don't care and still want to yap ...yap this dick in your mouth.
RIP Rich Nichols.