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Rico Wade, Cornerstone of The Dungeon Family and Southern Hip-Hop Has Died (video)

“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

Rico Wade’s journey in the music industry was a significant one, particularly within Atlanta’s hip-hop scene.

Early Days and Organized Noize (1990s):

Details about Rico Wade’s beginnings are a bit scarce, but we know he co-founded Organized Noize with Sleepy Brown and Ray Murray sometime in the early 1990s.

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Rico Wade, Cornerstone of The Dungeon Family and Southern Hip-Hop Has Died (video) 3

Rico Wade

Their innovative sound, a unique blend of classic soul, funk, and gospel with contemporary hip-hop, became a defining characteristic of Southern hip-hop. Organized Noize rose to prominence producing for Atlanta’s emerging rap scene. Their early credits likely included local artists before gaining mainstream recognition.

The Dungeon Family and Launching Careers (Late 1990s-2000s):

Rico Wade played a pivotal role in establishing the Dungeon Family, a loose collective of Atlanta-based rappers and singers including Outkast, Goodie Mob, Killer Mike, and CeeLo Green. This collaborative environment fostered creativity and pushed boundaries within Southern hip-hop.

Organized Noize produced the critically acclaimed debut albums of Outkast (“Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik”) and Goodie Mob (“Soul Food”), propelling them to superstardom.

Their signature sound became synonymous with the Dungeon Family and Southern hip-hop. Beyond the Dungeon Family, Organized Noize produced hits for TLC (“Waterfalls”), En Vogue (“Don’t Let Go (Love)”), and Ludacris (“Saturday (Oooh! Ooooh!)”) further solidifying their production prowess.

Beyond Organized Noize (2000s-2020s):

Rico Wade’s influence extended beyond production. He reportedly mentored his cousin, rapper Future, and likely other up-and-coming artists within the Atlanta scene. There might be information available about Rico Wade’s production credits on albums by established or new artists after Organized Noize. You could try searching music databases or liner notes of albums released after the 2000s.

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Rico Wade, Cornerstone of The Dungeon Family and Southern Hip-Hop Has Died (video) 4

Dungeon Family

Rico Wade Legacy:

Rico Wade’s production and collaborative spirit were instrumental in shaping the sound of Southern hip-hop. His work with Organized Noize and the Dungeon Family left a lasting impact on the genre.


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