Andre Harrell, a veteran music govt finest generally known as the founding father of Uptown Data, the place Sean “Puffy” Combs acquired his begin within the enterprise, who later went on to move Motown Records, has died. He was 59. The reason for demise is as but unclear.
DJ D-Good revealed the unhappy information whereas spinning on Instagram Stay for his popular Club Quarantine series Friday evening (Might 8). Selection 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 Data, and had one in all his early experiences within the enterprise working as a vice chairman and later GM of the label.
He left to start out his personal document firm, Uptown Data, in 1986. Trendy, refined and fashion-forward, the label performed a key position within the improvement of the New Jack Swing model 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 Dangerous Boy Data 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 initiatives in movie and tv within the 1990s, together with the film and soundtrack “Strictly Enterprise.” In 1995, he went on to run Motown Data 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 basically, serving as govt producer of the sequence “New York Undercover,” Harrell could possibly be seen at many crimson carpet occasions on each coasts. He seems in Diddy’s 2017 documentary “Can’t Cease, Gained’t Cease: A Dangerous Boy Story” and, in accordance with IMDB, had been engaged on a TV miniseries about Uptown that was within the development phase at BET. The three-part miniseries titled “Uptown” had Harrell on board as govt producer and was scheduled to hit the airwaves in 2020.