Legendary Atlanta producer Rico Wade dies at 52

Rico Wade may not have been a household name, but his influence resonates through the beats and lyrics of some of Atlanta’s biggest hip-hop icons.

ATLANTA — Atlanta’s vibrant hip-hop community is mourning the loss of a true legend on Saturday. Rico Wade, a key figure in the city’s music scene, passed away at the age of 52, according to his family. 

A statement was released around 1 p.m. on Saturday, bringing the sad news and asking for privacy as the family grieves. 

“We are deeply saddened by the sudden and unexpected passing of our son, father, husband, and brother Rico Wade. Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of a talented individual who touched the lives of so many. We ask that you respect the legacy of our loved one and our privacy at this time.” 

– The Family of Rico Wade

More on Rico Wade’s influence 

Rico Wade may not have been a household name, but his influence resonates through the beats and lyrics of some of Atlanta’s biggest hip-hop icons. As a member of the pioneering production group “Organized Noize,” alongside Ray Murray and Sleepy Brown, Wade played a pivotal role in shaping the sound of Southern hip-hop in the early ’90s.

One of Wade’s most notable contributions was his work with Outkast and Goodie Mob, helping to craft their debut albums and setting them on the path to superstardom. But his influence extended far beyond working with groups. Wade was a founding member of the Dungeon Family, a musical collective that includes luminaries like Andre 3000, Killer Mike, Big Boi, CeeLo Green, and even his own cousin, Future.

In a past interview with 11Alive, Big Boi of Outkast spoke fondly of the early days and the pivotal role Wade played in their success. 

“I think it was just all fate, you know. All from the Most High. For Rico Wade’s mom, Ms. Beatrice Wade to open up her home to all these young cats that have dreams and aspirations of being musicians and letting us camp out at her house and work non-stop. It’s how it was supposed to be,” Big Boi said. “First, we have to give thanks to her because without her we wouldn’t be none of that. And Rico, Wade, and Pat for believing in us – Outkast, Goodie Mob, Big Rube – like the whole crew. We were dreamers working towards one goal.”

Organized Noize’s impact on the music industry cannot be overstated. They produced hits like Outkast’s “So Fresh, So Clean” and TLC’s “Waterfalls,” among many others, leaving an indelible mark on the landscape of hip-hop.

The Dungeon Family and Organized Noize released a joint statement around 2 p.m., remembering Wade. 

“We are devastated by the news of the passing of our dear brother Rico Wade. The world has lost one of the most innovative architects in music, and we have lost an invaluable friend. Rico was the cornerstone of Organized Noize and the Dungeon Family, and we will forever treasure his memory and the moments we shared, creating music as a united team. Our hearts weigh heavy with sorrow, and we kindly request privacy and empathy during this challenging period. Rico’s presence will always have a special spot in our hearts and in the music we presented to the world.”  –Organized Noize and The Dungeon Family

Several other posts and statements in the community have poured in since the news broke. 

A statement from Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens’ Office was issued around noon. 

“My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Rico Wade. Rico was a musical genius and one third of the Grammy Award-winning music production team Organized Noize. A product of Atlanta Public Schools, he led in the creation of a hip-hop sound that has spanned decades and genres. Without Rico Wade, the world may have never experienced The Dungeon Family, OutKast, Goodie Mob, Future and many more. Rico left an indelible mark on music and culture around the world and for that, the South will always have something to say.”

See the post below from Killer Mike

See the post below from V103.3

See the post from the Atlanta Hawks 

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