What happened to Rico Wade? OutKast, Goodie Mob, and Killer Mike hold Dungeon Family reunion in honor of late record producer

Rico Wade (image via Instagram/ricowadedf)
Rico Wade (image via Instagram/ricowadedf)

Rico Wade, a legendary music producer and one of the founders of Atlanta's 'dirty south' hip hop sound, died on April 13, 2024, at the age of 52. He has collaborated with the likes of Goodie Mob, CeeLo Green, and OutKast. He also founded the iconic Dungeon in his mother's basement.

According to The New York Times, Tresa Sanders, a family spokesperson, reported that the cause of death was heart failure. Wade was in a hospital at the time of his passing.

OutKast, Killer Mike, and Goodie Mob recently organized a Dungeon Family reunion to honor the memories of the late music producer. They were also joined by the likes of André 3000, Big Boi, Sleepy Brown, and members of Goodie Mob for a cookout in Atlanta this weekend.


A Dungeon family reunion and other reactions to Rico Wade's death

Killer Mike, Goodie Mob, and OutKast were joined by Rico Wade's mother and other contemporaries as they honored the legacy of the late producer. They also posed outside Wade's old family home, which is famously known as The Dungeon. It was the place where many of these artists recorded tracks in their early days.

"The Dungeon had a picnic today. Everybody came home: OutKast, Dre and Big, Goodie, [Mr.] DJ," said Gipp in a video posted on Instagram.

Wade's sudden death a month ago took the musical community by shock. According to a report by the New York Times, he died of heart failure inside the hospital.

Many contemporaries came up to pay tribute to the producer on social media.

"[Rico Wade] led in the creation of a hip-hop sound that has spanned decades and genres. Rico left an indelible mark on music and culture around the world and for that, the south will always have something to say," commented Atlanta's mayor Andre Dickens (via The Guardian).

Wade's production company, Organized Noize, and The Dungeon Family issued a collective statement mourning the loss of "one of the most innovative architects in music."

"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," the statement read.

Their Instagram post talked about Wade's contribution to helping establish Organized Noize and The Dungeon Family. The note ended by imploring people to empathize and grant them privacy during the tumultuous period.

"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."

One of the earliest members of The Dungeon Family, Killer Mike also spoke about his profound loss after the death of Rico Wade. He wrote on Instagram,

"Idk where I would be without y’all. 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."

Other big names like Ludacris, Green, Fat Joe, former Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and Busta Rhymes also came forward and mourned the demise of Rico Wade on social media.


What is The Dungeon? All about Rico Wade's Dungeon Family

In 1990, Rico Wade founded the music production house Organized Noize along with Patrick Brown and Ray Murray. The production house would go on to kickstart the careers of several juggernauts of today's hip-hop industry and start the famous Dungeon Family.

The three teenagers would team up at Rico Wade's mother's basement in East Point, Georgia, and it was called The Dungeon. They welcomed upcoming artists of that time like Big Boi, André 3000, Goodie Mob, CeeLoo Green, and more to record their songs.

In the documentary titled The Art of Organized Noize, it was revealed that the production house would refer to these artists as members of The Dungeon Family. Other big names who were a part of this elite group include Killer Mike, Bubba Sparxxx, Cool Breeze, Janelle Monae, and Future.

After Rico Wade's death, CeeLo Green bought the producer's former home, aka The Dungeon, for $1 million in order to preserve the heritage of hip-hop and turn it into a museum.

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