Hollywood and Hip Hop Mourn the Passing of Andre Harrell

Recording artist Mary J. Blige is joined by music producers Andre Harrell (L) and Sean 'Diddy' Combs  (R) as she is honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, January 11, 2018 in Hollywood, California.  
The Grammy Award-winning artist is nominated for 2018 Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Critic's Choice Awards for her performance in the Netflix film "Mudbound."  / AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck        (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

Hollywood and Hip Hop Mourn the Passing of Andre Harrell

The Uptown Records founder reportedly passed away Friday night.

Published May 9th

Written by Paul Meara

The music world is beginning their weekend mourning the loss of a major cultural influence in hip hop and R&B during the 1990s.

Andre Harrell, a legendary music executive responsible for influencing the careers of an award-winning roster of successful artists including Diddy, Teddy Riley, Jodeci, Mary J. Blige and Heavy D and the Boyz, reportedly passed away May 8. 

RELATED: Andre Harrell, Legendary Music Executive Who Discovered Diddy, Dies at 59

The cause of death has not been revealed.

The news of Harrell’s passing was announced by DJ D-Nice while spinning for fans during his Club Quarantine set on Instagram Live last night.

During Harrell’s storied career he was one of the chief architects of a new wave of R&B music laced with hip hop flavor and swagger, called New Jack Swing. Founding Uptown Records in 1986, the music icon worked with Guy and producer-performer Teddy Riley, Al B. Sure, Jodeci, Heavy D and the Boyz and Father MC. Harrell also signed a then teenage Mary J. Blige.

Perhaps his most notable achievement was his eye for talent when he hired an enterprising young intern named Sean “Puffy” Combs who he quickly promoted to an A&R role at the company. This role led Diddy to discover and sign the Notorious B.I.G.

Harrell, a native New Yorker, began his career as a rapper in the duo, Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde. He later worked at Def Jam Records and quickly rose in the ranks to become a vice president and later GM of the iconic label.

Now many in hip hop and Hollywood are expressing their sadness over the passing of a music icon.

See below.

  1. View this post on Instagram

    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

    A post shared by Teddy Riley (@teddyriley1) on

  2. View this post on Instagram

    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. 😣

    A post shared by Questlove Froman, (@questlove) on

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic


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