André 3000 Remembers His Friend And Producer Rico Wade at Atlanta Jazz Fest

André 3000 shared emotional memories and expressed gratitude for the Dungeon Family's influence on his career, highlighting the healing power of music.

One-half of the iconic rap group OutKast, André 3000, closed out the 47th annual Atlanta Jazz Festival earlier this week, and the Atlanta native played his new jazz album to the thick crowd of jazz lovers. One concert-goer said he’d never seen Piedmont Park with so many people. 

Atlanta showed up for the rapper turned flutist, and that’s a good thing because André 3000 performed very much in mourning for his friend and collaborator, Rico Wade, who died of heart failure last month. He addressed the crowd with his fond memories of Wade, “The last time we were here, we did a residency about five, six shows, and Rico Wade showed up. Now, one thing y’all don’t know about Rico, Rico Wade…”

Founder of The Dungeon Family, Rico Wade, Dead at 52

André got emotional and tried to pull himself together to tribute to his late friend. “Sorry, y’all. Rico Wade… So Rico Wade made sure my raps were tight. There were times where I would say a rap to Rico in his ears, and he would walk off like, ‘That ain’t good enough.’ So just for a moment, I want y’all to make some noise for King Rico.”

The crowd roared for André and the Dungeon Family’s key member. André said, “I wouldn’t be here on this stage or able to do any of this. I wouldn’t have the confidence to do any of this if it weren’t for Dungeon Family. They raised me.” The Dungeon Family consists of OutKast, the Goodie Mob, and Killer Mike–they named themselves after Wade’s recording studio, The Dungeon–where most of their hits were born.

As he remembered his humble beginnings with his friends, André shared intimate details about how they lifted each other up and created space for their success together. “My family taught me how to dream. They taught me how to dream and go for it,” Andre shared. 

He continued, “Big Boi taught me how to dream, get at it and go for it. The Dungeon was the grounds for a lot of things. Our entire thing was to keep pushing, keep stretching out.”

André 3000 released “New Blue Sun” in 2023, and the album was a major departure from the skilled lyrics and bombastic, southern beats that have made him a staple in hip hop, but it was a welcomed departure. André’s latest flute instrumentals are designed to heal–the frequency is set at 432Hz, or aural healing–as this frequency is said to induce calmness, reduce stress, and promote overall well-being. André is a king who gave the world the gift of healing through sound, which is why over 150,000 people showed up to Atlanta Jazz Fest on André’s 49th birthday.

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