Atlanta rap legend, Dungeon Family member Rico Wade dies at 52

Rico Wade, a member of the Dungeon Family and part of the legendary Atlanta rap production group Organized Noize has died. He was 52.

Wade’s family confirmed his death in a statement on Saturday afternoon.

“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 wrote.

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Organized Noize and the Dungeon Family released a statement calling him “one of the most innovative architects in music.”

“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.”

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens also shared a statement, saying Wade left an “indelible mark on music and culture around the world.”

“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.”

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens

Organized Noize started the Dungeon Family as a music collective for other Atlanta rap artists with funk and soul influences. Outkast and Goodie Mob were among the first members.

Atlanta rapper Killer Mike, a fellow member of the Dungeon Family, took to social media on Saturday to express his condolences.

“I don’t have the words to express my deep and profound sense of loss. I am praying for your wife and children. I am praying for the Wade family. I am praying for us all. I deeply appreciate your acceptance into the Dungeon Family, mentorship, friendship and brotherhood. Idk where I would be without y’all.”

The Atlanta City Council shared a statement on Wade’s passing that read,

“Rico Wade, a music pioneer and a cultural architect whose impact resonates far beyond his time. His contributions to hip-hop and production shaped the sound of generations and made our city the beacon of the modern hip-hop era. As we mourn his passing, we celebrate his legacy and the countless lives he touched through his talent and creativity. We send our deepest and sincerest condolences to the family, friends, fans, and other members of the Dungeon Family who are hurt by the loss. Rico Wade’s influence will continue to inspire artists and fans, ensuring his spirit lives on through the beats and rhythms he crafted with passion and innovation.”

Atlanta City Council

More details surrounding Wade’s death have not been released.

Wade started Organized Noize in the early 1990s with Ray Murray and Sleepy Brown. The group created hits for Outkast, Goodie Mob, Ludacris, TLC and more.

The Dungeon Family got its name from “the Dungeon,” Rico Wade’s studio, which was located in the basement of his mom’s East Point home, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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