Famously known for the creation of Uptown records and the success of many major artists, music legend and Uptown Records founder Andre Harrell, has passed away at age 59. DJ D-Nice made the announcement while doing his live “Quarantine set” early Saturday morning on Instagram.
Andre got his start as ½ the rap group Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde along with Alonzo Brown. The duo had some minor Billboard hits peaking at No. 31 with “Genius Rap” in 1982. After meeting Def Jam Records founder Russell Simmons, Andre went on to be hired by the label becoming vice president and later general manager. He eventually left Def Jam to start his New-York City based label, Uptown Records in the late 1980's.
Uptown started with such artists as Heavy D & the Boys, Al B. Sure, Guy and eventually music producer Teddy Riley. Sean “Diddy” Combs started as an intern for Harell at Uptown, where he worked his way up to talent director helping to develop artists such as Mary j. Blidge, Jodeci, before he was fired in 1993. Combs went on to start Bad Boy Records bringing forth major musical artists including the Notorious B.I.G.
Harrell ended his failing record label in 1995 and went on to become CEO of Motown, from which he was fired in 1997. According to Billboard.com, Andre played a part in the launch of Robin Thicke in 2000 and launched Harrell Records in the 2010's, but failed to produce hits or stars.
Harrell accepted the position of Vice Chairman for REVOLT, a music platform created by Sean Combs in 2013. He started the REVOLT Music Conference in 2014 which went on to be called the REVOLT Hip-Hop Summit.
Andre Harrell was also the executive produce of New York Undercover and recorded the first Unplugged series for MTV which featured Uptown artists including Father MC and Christopher Williams. He was scheduled to release a mini-series on BET about the history of Uptown Records and the “cultivation” of some the most iconic artists of the late 80's and 90's.