Rico Wade, key Outkast producer and member of Organized Noize, dies at 52

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Rico Wade, a member of the pioneering Atlanta-based production trio Organized Noize and a key early Outkast collaborator, has died, according to an Instagram post by his close friend Killer Mike and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. No cause of death was cited; he was 52.

“I don’t have the words to express my deep and profound sense of loss,” Killer Mike wrote. “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 Organized Noize songwriting-production team — which also featured Ray Murray and Sleepy Brown — was formed in the early ‘90s and played a pivotal role in early releases by Outkast, TLC, Goodie Mob and many others, and were frequently shouted out or featured on those recordings. Along with Jermaine Dupri, their sound, which was as indebted to classic R&B as hip-hop, defined the city’s burgeoning scene of the era, which would lay the framework for Atlanta’s dominance as a hip-hop capital in the coming decades.

The extended collective around the scene was known as the “Dungeon Family,” which also included Killer Mike and Big Rube.