Rico Wade, Outkast Producer and Organized Noize Member Who Co-Founded the Dungeon Family Collective, Dies at 52

Rico Wade, a key Outkast producer and member of Organized Noize, who also co-founded the Dungeon Family collective, has died. He was 52.

No cause of death is available at this time, a representative for Organized Noize told The Hollywood Reporter.

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“We are deeply saddened by the sudden and unexpected passing of our son, father, husband and brother Rico Wade,” his family shared in a statement. “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.”

Wade, Ray Murray and Sleepy Brown founded the Dungeon Family collective in the early 1990s. The hip-hop group included Big Boi, André 3000, CeeLo Green, Big Rube, Big Gipp, Khujo and, later, Wade’s little cousin, Future.

Through their company Organized Noize, Wade, Brown and Murray produced Outkast’s debut album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, as well as a good amount of the group’s album ATLiens and tracks on Aquemini and Stankonia. The trio co-wrote and produced TLC’s smash hit “Waterfalls” and produced popular songs like En Vogue’s “Don’t Let Go” and Ludacris’ “Saturday (Oooh! Ooooh!).”

“We are devastated by the news of the passing of our dear brother Rico Wade,” Organized Noize and the Dungeon Family shared in a lengthy statement. “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.”

Born in East Point, Georgia, on Feb. 26, 1972, Rico Wade helped launch the careers of Janelle Monáe, Killer Mike and Future through his work with the Dungeon Family collective and Organized Noize. In 2014, the Mask Off rapper attributed his success in rap to Wade.

Killer Mike was one of the many artists to take to social media to express their sadness over Wade’s passing. “I don’t have the words to express my deep and profound sense of loss,” the rapper wrote in an Instagram caption of a photo of the producer. “I deeply appreciate your acceptance into The Dungeon Family, mentorship, Friendship and Brotherhood. Idk where I would be without ya’ll.”

Wade is survived by his mother, two sons, wife, and a host of brothers and sisters.

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