Written by Leo Lysius
It is with great sadness that we’ve learned the passing of legendary music executive Andre Harrell. Mr. Harrell, who originally got his start in Hip Hop as one-half of the rap duo, Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde in the early 80’s would eventually go on to be the man behind the scenes. He later met Russell Simmons back in 1983, and became the vice president and general manager at Def Jam Records, before leaving to jumpstart his very own record label, the iconic Uptown Records.
Uptown would launch the careers of global superstars like Mary J. Blige and Jodeci, as well as prominent acts like the late Heavy D & The Boyz, Al B. Sure, Guy, Christopher Williams and Father MC. Andre was solely responsible for discovering a teenage Sean “Diddy” Combs in the late 80’s and giving him his start as an A&R and intern at Uptown Records. Sean, who went by Puff Daddy or Puffy back in the 90’s then started working with and molded artists like Mary J. and Jodeci into superstardom. Andre would later fire Sean from his position at Uptown, and Puff went on to start his own label, Bad Boy Records in 1993. But it was at Uptown, Sean discovered the late great Notorious B.I.G., who initially signed with Uptown, before leaving the label to join Puffy’s Bad Boy roster as one of its founding artists alongside breakout star Craig Mack (who is now deceased).
Harrell’s career continued to reach milestones as he then became the CEO of Motown Records in 1995, before launching his very own label, Harrell Records, in a joint venture with Atlantic Records. Andre would eventually reunite with Sean when he became the vice chairman of Revolt, Diddy’s multi-platform music TV network.
It is being reported that his alleged cause of death is due to a heart attack, but the story is still developing…