Ricky Powell, the New York photographer dubbed the “fourth Beastie Boy,” died at 59, Complex reports. “I just want to let everybody know he was a very special man, and he will be sorely missed,” his manager, Tono Radvany, told Complex. Powell spent his life in New York City — born in Brooklyn, he attended La Guardia Community College and Hunter College before he began taking photos at downtown Manhattan events with an ex-girlfriend’s camera. He photographed musicians, including Run-DMC, Madonna, Eric B. and Rakim, and LL Cool J, along with artists Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Powell toured with the Beastie Boys in 1986, when they opened for Run-DMC’s Raising Hell, and continued following the band through their 1994 Lollapalooza set, earning his nickname.
Powell also spotlighted the downtown Manhattan culture scene in his public television show Rappin’ With the Rickster from 1990 to 1996. He published multiple photography books, including Oh Snap! The Rap Photography of Ricky Powell, The Rickford Files: Classic New York Photographs, Public Access: Ricky Powell Photographs 1985–2005, and most recently, The Individualist. That book shares a title with a documentary on Powell that premiered at Tribeca Film Festival 2020, featuring Mike D, LL Cool J, Chuck D, Laurence Fishburne, and Natasha Lyonne. His legacy also includes one iconic lyric on the Beastie Boys’ “Car Thief”: “Homeboy, throw in the towel / Your girl got dicked by Ricky Powell.”