Future Thanks Cousin, Outkast Producer Rico Wade - Rolling Stone
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Future Thanks Cousin, Outkast Producer Rico Wade

Future has a long history with Outkast, so it’s no surprise that the Atlanta rapper — who releases his sophomore album, “Honest,” on Tuesday — played a 10-minute set during the legendary MCs’ comeback concert at the opening weekend of the Coachella Music Festival earlier this month.

Future was able to watch Big Boi and André 3000’s rise to superstardom from behind the scenes, thanks to his big cousin, Rico Wade, whose Organized Noize production outfit is responsible for classics from Outkast, TLC, En Vogue, and Goodie Mob, among others.

Though Rico never produced music for any of Future’s mixtapes or albums, he said that his cousin gave him something more valuable: knowledge of the music business.

When Future was around 17 or 18 years old, he was able to see Rico at work. “I got to see Big Boi walk into the studio,” he recalled. “Just always looking for a new Outkast album, being a fan and always being behind the scenes and seeing what it took and seeing the process of making records, and it was all just fascinating to me.”

It was a turning point in Future’s life. He spent much of his youth fantasizing about the lifestyles of the gangsters and drug dealers in his neighborhood and family. But when he had a chance to see Rico’s way of life, it changed his perspective.

“I seen a whole ‘nother life,” he told Yahoo Music. “Going over to Rico’s I had never seen a mansion or went in a mansion. A dope dealer could have a Benz and come in the projects, you could have these fancy cars, they could dress good, but they still come to the hood. But you don’t know they personal life. So when I started getting into the personal side of Rico, [I was thinking], ‘He got a mansion from doing music. You producing, got all these Porsches, you got nannies in your house, and you don’t got to watch your back? There’s no reason for police to come to your house, 100 deep, and kick your door down.”

Thus inspired, he applied what he learned. The last several years have been great for Future, who began releasing mixtapes in 2010. His 2012 debut, “Pluto,” included a number of hits like “Same Damn Time” and “Turn On the Lights”; and as an in-demand rapper, he’s appeared on Ace Hood’s “Bugatti,” Rocko’s “U.O.E.N.O.,” and in the video for his fiancée Ciara’s “Body Party.” He are Ciara are expecting their first child together, to be born any day now.

Rico is proud of Future’s success. On “Honest” alone, the A-List rapper features guest appearances from the genre’s biggest artists: Kanye West, Drake, Wiz Khalifa, Pharrell, Pusha T, and even André 3000 on “Benz Friends (Whatchutola).”

“Rico support me 1000 more times than anybody ever could,” he said. “Nobody could ever do what Rico Wade did for me. … Everything I know about music, I know because of Rico.”

Blood is thicker than water.

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