The Dungeon Family titan Rico Wade dead at 52

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Hip Hop pioneer Rico Wade, known for being an architect of the South’s rap scene as a founding member of The Dungeon Family, has passed away at the age of 52. His death was first confirmed by AllHipHop on Saturday (April 13). At this time, details surrounding the tragedy have not been publicly disclosed. He is survived by his wife and two children.


Wade, also a member of the production trio Organized Noize alongside Sleepy Brown and Ray Murray, was an architect behind Outkast’s debut album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, which was released in 1994. He also had a hand in the group’s ATLiens and multiple records on Aquemini and Stankonia. The songwriting and producing group contributed to massive hits like TLC’s “Waterfalls” and Ludacris’ “Saturday.”

“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,” began Killer Mike’s post paying tribute to Wade. He added, “I deeply appreciate your acceptance into The Dungeon Family, mentorship, friendship and brotherhood. [I don’t know] where I would be without y’all.”

Wade contributed to Mike's latest project, MICHAEL, which swept all three rap categories at the Grammys in February. “This is a part of the journey. You told me, ‘It ain’t been hard throughout the journey, it’s been a journey.’ The journey ain’t gonna be the same journey without you. Like you say though, I’ma stay down on it.’ We all are,” concluded the heartfelt message. On Twitter, Juicy J wrote, “RIP to the legendary Rico Wade. This one really hurt.”

Noting his musical influence, a grieving fan tweeted, “It was Rico Wade who auditioned André 3000 and Big Boi to become part of what became The Dungeon Family. He had them come to Lamonte’s Beauty Supply in southwest Atlanta, where he worked at the time. Without Wade's leadership, Atlanta Hip Hop wouldn't be as we know it today.”

View some of the ways the Hip Hop titan is being remembered below.

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