Andre Harrell, a veteran music govt finest often called the founding father of Uptown Information, the place Sean “Puffy” Combs bought his begin within the enterprise, who later went on to move Motown Information, has died. He was 59. The reason for demise is as but unclear.
DJ D-Good revealed the unhappy information whereas spinning on Instagram Dwell for his common Membership Quarantine collection Friday night time (Might 8). Variety has but to obtain official phrase although sources have confirmed Harrell’s passing.
A local of New York, Harrell began his profession in music as an artist, one-half of the early rap duo Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, whose single “Genius Rap” was a minor hit in 1981. In 1983 Harrell teamed with Russell Simmons, the founding father of Def Jam Information, and had considered one of his early experiences within the enterprise working as a vp and later GM of the label.
He left to start out his personal file firm, Uptown Information, in 1986. Fashionable, refined and fashion-forward, the label performed a key function within the growth of the New Jack Swing fashion of R&B, courtesy of acts like Man (that includes the massively influential producer-performer Teddy Riley), Al B. Positive and Jodeci, in addition to crossover hip-hop through Heavy D and the Boyz and Father MC. Harrell additionally signed the teenage Mary J. Blige within the late ’80s, although her profession on the label didn’t totally take off till the early ’90s, with assist from Harrell’s enterprising former intern, Sean “Puffy” Combs, who was shortly elevated to an A&R place at Uptown.
Combs’ A&R gig led to him discovering the demo tape for a rapper named Christopher Wallace, aka Infamous B.I.G. Because the story goes, Diddy was fired from Uptown in 1993 after which he launched Unhealthy Boy Information and promptly signed Wallace to a cope with his personal label.
Harrell would later discover a residence for Uptown at MCA the place he concurrently developed a number of tasks in movie and tv within the 1990s, together with the film and soundtrack “Strictly Enterprise.” In 1995, he went on to run Motown Information as president and CEO for a quick interval not lengthy after the label’s acquisition by PolyGram.
Harrell and Combs remained longtime associates and enterprise associates and Harrell served as vice chairman of Revolt, Combs’ multi-platform music community, and a producer on its panel present “State of the Tradition.”
A pioneer of hip-hop and R&B and black leisure usually, serving as govt producer of the collection “New York Undercover,” Harrell might be seen at many purple carpet occasions on each coasts. He seems in Diddy’s 2017 documentary “Can’t Cease, Gained’t Cease: A Unhealthy Boy Story” and, in keeping with IMDB, had been engaged on a TV miniseries about Uptown that was within the growth section at BET. The three-part miniseries titled “Uptown” had Harrell on board as govt producer and was scheduled to hit the airwaves in 2020.