R&B musician, influential label exec Andre Harrell dies at 59

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NEW YORK (WJW) — Andre Harrell, the founder of influential music label “Uptown Records,” has died at the age of 59, Rolling Stone reports.

Harell’s death was first announced by DJ D-Nice Friday night during his weekly Club Quarantine series.

The cause of death has not yet been provided.

Harell entered the music scene as part of the hip-hop duo Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde. The group had a few “minor hits” before Harrell explored the business side of the music industry.

In 1983 Harrell began working at Def Jam Records. Three years later he founded his own label, Uptown Records.

Uptown Records reportedly launched the careers of several prominent musicians including Heavy D and the Boyz, Guy (featuring producer Teddy Riley), Jodeci, Al B. Sure and Mary J. Blige.

In 1992 Harrell began producing films, TV shows and music soundtracks under a multimedia partnership with MCA.

Many celebrities have already taken to social media to pay their respects to Harrell and offer support for his loved ones.

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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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