Rico Wade—Organized Noize Co-Founder Who Produced Outkast, TLC & Goodie Mob—Has Died

Rico Wade, one-third of the legendary production team Organized Noize and founding member of the Dungeon Family, has died. AllHipHop confirmed the tragic news with his representative. He was 52 years old. Condolences from the Hip-Hop community started flying in on Saturday morning (April 13), with Little Brother MC Phonte among the first. He wrote simply, “Rest in Peace Rico Wade.”

Killer Mike, part of the Dungeon Family, took his grief to Instagram, where he wrote, “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 ya’ll. 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 U. Like U say tho Umma ‘Stay Down on it’….we all are.”

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Rico Wade co-founded the Dungeon Family collective alongside Ray Murray and Sleepy Brown in the early ’90s. Members included Big Boi, André 3000, CeeLo Green, Khujo, Big Gipp, Big Rube and later, a young Future (Wade’s cousin). Wade, who set up a makeshift studio in his mother’s basement called The Dungeon, helped craft the Atlanta Hip-Hop sound with albums such as Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik by Outkast (1994) and Cell Therapy by Goodie Mob (1995).

Organized Noize found insurmountable success outside of the Dungeon Family as well. In 1995, they produced “Waterfalls” by TLC, which went on to spend seven weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also was nominated for two Grammy nominations at the 38th Annual Grammy Awards in 1996 for Record of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

Wade had experienced some health issues in recent years but was seemingly on the mend. Just months ago, he spoke with AllHipHop about seeing Andrê 3000 perform his latest album, New Blue Sun, and was in great spirits. AllHipHop sends our condolences to Wade’s loved ones.

This is a developing story.