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Andre Harrell Dead At 59, Hip Hop/R&B Mourns Passing Of Uptown Records Founder

Uptown Records founder Andre Harrell has died at age 59.

Veteran music executive Andre Harrell, who is perhaps better known for finding P Diddy in the late ’80s, soon after he formed Uptown Records, has died, according to multiple sources. The cause of death is still unclear as we are yet to hear any word from his family or his management team.

News of Harrell’s passing came from DJ- D-Nice, who made the sad announcement during his Instagram Live broadcast for his Club Quarantine show on Friday. Harrell, a native of New York, began his music career as one-half of the early rap duo Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, but it wasn’t until he started working with founder of Def Jam Records, Russell Simmons that he really started to gain some serious music business experience in 1983. He later set up his own record company, Uptown Records, in 1986.

Harrell also signed teenage sensation Mary J. Blige in the late ’80s with the help of his former A&R intern, Puffy Combs. Under Harrell’s leadership, Uptown Records helped launch the careers of Heavy D and Boyz, Guy (producer Teddy Riley), Jodeci, Al B. Sure, and Mary J. Blige. In 1992, Uptown partnered with MCA on a multimedia deal that allowed Harrell to produce movies, TV shows, and movie soundtracks., including the 1991 comedy Strictly Business and New York TV series New York Undercover.

Andre served as president of Mowtown Records and also served as the vice-chairman of Revolt TV. “We can confirm the passing of Andre Harrell,” the network said in a statement. “Everyone in the REVOLT family is devastated by the loss of our friend, mentor, and Vice-Chairman. Andre’s impact on Hip Hop and the culture and on us has been immeasurable and profound. May he Rest In Peace.”

A true icon and industry legend is sadly no longer with us. His contributions to the culture and urban music was more than we could adequately sum up in words. Several celebrities took to social media in mourning, paying tribute to the late Andre Harrell’s great work. May his soul rest in everlasting peace.

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Another sad day??? We've lost one of the greatest mentors in my life. I'm so happy I got to tell you 1 hour before the versus Battle, how much I respect and love you, as my big brother and mentor! The pep talk that you've giving me right before, felt like the same pep talks that you've given me the beginning of Uptown records, sleeping on the couch at your office (Brownstone) in BK. You chose me out of all the kids that you could have picked to work with you. I can replay IT in my head, all of the moments that I've taken the train and when I got my first car driving to Brooklyn, skipping school, and becoming that sponge just to learn and get my hands on that mixing board at Chung King Studios. I will never forget, all of these cherished moments and I will never forget you!!! ?? ?? ?? I salute you…King of New Jack Swing??? My condolences to the Harrell family & to my Uptown family 4life!!! #rip #greatest #legend #legacy #newjackswing #king

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Dude. #AndreHarrell man. He gave you the best soundtracks of your life man and you didn’t even know it. We never gave him his flowers. He redefined the party! Def Jam was the artform. Bad Boy was the attitude Death Row was the muscle But without even knowing it? Uptown was ALWAYS the party. I’m sitting here going through my crates STUNNED at the amount of six degree to Andre records I’ve spun weekly on a regular basis for the last 35 years yo. The is a staggering loss. We never gave Andre Harrell his flowers. Name em: Al B Sure/Heavy D & The Boyz/Guy/. I mean mentoring Diddy alone brings in Jodeci/BIG/Mary J/Father MC/Christopher Williams—-and even in those names the success with THOSE artists come Missy/Timb/Neptune’s But let’s not stop there: first time we really paid attention to Halle Berry was in a Harrell film called Strictly Business Let’s throw “Candy Rain” in there or Lil Shawn’s “I Made Love”—-I may be dating myself but man Mgruff’s “Before We Start” got MUCH play round my way. Jeff Redd (who brought Blidge to the label) had a banger with “You Called And Told Me”—-“Touch It” from Monifah STILL bangs to this day. & back to Diddy, I’m absolutely w/o a doubt certain that he feels his success is also Harrell’s success so in a round about way there is no Bad Boy w/o Harrell. (Lemme also remember Daryl Chill Mitchell’s “Hip Hop’s Here To Stay” another classic uptown jawn. Horace Brown too….. Too Many Classics Let’s not forget NY Undercover & all the clever music moments in each ep. We never gave him his flowers. This isn’t even half of his achievements nor does this even bring to light the people’s lives he changed or his loved ones left behind. He literally introduced a new sound to the world (the first new jack swing projects were on Uptown)—-wait hold that——his label changed music TWICE because hip hop soul’s music picked up where New Jack left off and on the same label. Such a short time to paradigm shift music TWICE!!!!!!!! Damn man. We never gave him his flowers man. ?

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