Arts

Rico Wade, an Architect of Atlanta Hip-Hop, Dies at 52

Rico Wade, an architect of Southern hip-hop who produced albums for rap acts including Outkast, Goodie Mob and Future, has died. He was 52.

The death was announced on social media on Saturday by the artist and activist Killer Mike, a longtime collaborator. No cause of death was provided.

His family confirmed the death in a statement. “We are deeply saddened by the sudden and unexpected passing of our son, father, husband and brother Rico Wade,” the statement said. “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.”

Wade, Ray Murray and Patrick Brown, known as Sleepy, formed the Atlanta-based production crew Organized Noize in the early 1990s, coalescing during an era when offerings from the East and West Coasts dominated radio and major label releases. Their work propelled the region from the fringes of the genre to a mainstay at its center.

Barely out of their teens, the production crew welcomed aspiring musicians and artists into the basement of Wade’s mother’s home in East Point, Georgia, in the early 1990s. The cellar became known as the Dungeon with the artists who performed there, including the groups Parental Advisory and Goodie Mob, who emerged from it as part of the collective colloquially called the Dungeon Family.

“I don’t know if you can imagine how weed and must and dirt would smell together, but that’s what it smelled like,” Dee Dee Hibbler, Outkast’s former manager, said of the Dungeon in the 2016 documentary “The Art of Organized Noize.”

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