Peers and fans mourn the loss of Andre Harrell

Music Executive Andre Harrell

This has been a terrible weekend for losing music royalty. Earlier today, we mourned the loss of the founding father of rock and roll, Little Richard. Now comes word that we have lost the man who shaped modern hip hop and R&B as we know it today. Music executive Andre Harrell has died at the age of 59 according to Billboard magazine.

DJ D-Nice, while playing music on his Club Quarantine Instagram Live series, had announced the passing Friday night (May 8). Combs‘ REVOLT company has confirmed the death of Harrell where he served as the vice-chairman at REVOLT. No cause of death was given.

“We can confirm the passing of Andre Harrell,” Roma Khanna, the CEO of REVOLT Media & TV, said in a statement. “Everyone in the REVOLT family is devastated by the loss of our friend, mentor and Vice Chairman. Andre’s impact on Hip Hop, the culture and on all of us personally has been immeasurable and profound. May he Rest In Peace.”

Harrell, who started Uptown Records in the late 1980s, was the architect of Hip Hop and R & B with early acts such as Heavy D, GUY, Al B. Sure, Father MC, Mary J. Blige, Christopher Williams, and many other artists.

He is also the person who put his faith in a young budding executive named Sean Combs who has blossomed into one of the most important figures in Hip Hop and R & B.

In 1990, Diddy received an internship at Uptown and quickly rose the ranks after finding success with just-signed acts including R&B group Jodeci and Blige, who was dubbed the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul with the release of her 1992 debut, “What’s the 411?” Uptown also released Notorious B.I.G.’s first single, 1993’s “Party and Bullsh*t.”

“Andre Harrell influenced me the most and I don’t know if that will ever change,” Diddy said in an interview with HipHollywood.

In 1993, Harrell fired Diddy from Uptown. He said one of the reasons he fired Diddy was because MCA Records – the label’s distributor – didn’t want to release B.I.G.’s debut album because of its raw and rough subject matter about street life.

“I didn’t want to sit there and be the one confining Puff because the corporation was telling me to do that. I’m not built that way,” Harrell said in an interview with Wall Street Journal in 2014. “I told Puff he needs to go and create his own opportunity: ‘You’re red-hot right now. I’m really letting you go so you can get rich.'”

Stars React

News of the influential music genius death devastated songstress Mariah Carey. “My heart is breaking and I can’t stop crying. He was an amazing friend and I will miss him forever,” Carey tweeted alongside crying emojis.

His death also touched former Laker Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

Representative Maxine Waters released this statement, “I’m in a state of shock over the death of Andre Harrell. We were just on the phone a few days ago discussing he & P. Diddy’s Vote or Die initiative. A brilliant music exec & visionary. It’s hard to believe he’s gone. My prayers are w/ his son & family.”

Vibe Magazine tweeted that Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds postponed his Mother’s DAy special to share a tribute to Harrell.

Usher shared an old photo of him with Harrell and P Diddy and sent his prayers to the late executive’s family.

“My prayers go out to all the family. GOD BLESS ?You were the beginning for so many and a genuine positive energy through it all … I salute you KING!” he wrote.

Record producer Quincy Jones wrote: “RIP to my little bro, Andre Harrell…Gone way too soon, but a life lived well & a lasting imprint on our business that can’t be argued.”Get the Entertainment newsletter in your inbox.

Rapper and actor Ice T credited Harrell with launching his “Law & Order” career.

“I just woke up to the awful news that my friend Andre Harrell has passed away.. Andre actually was the person the got me on New York Undercover which started my relationship with Dick Wolf. My sincere condolences to his family. RIP my friend,” the artist tweeted. 

Former Democratic presidential candidate, Kamala Harris, released this statement, “Such a tragic loss for the music industry and for all of us. Andre’s genius paved the way for so many of the kinds and queens of hip hop and R&B. Sending my love to his family and friends during this difficult time.”

One of the most prolific rappers of our time, Ice Cube, tweeted, “One of the most brilliant leaders that the Culture has ever produced. We will all miss Andre Harrell more than we can measure.”

Rapper 50cent also paid tribute to Harrell.


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Iconic R&B artist Teddy Riley paid a lengthy tribute to Harrell where he called him his “mentor” and revealed that he spoke to the late music executive shortly before his Verzus battle with Babyface.

“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,” Riley wrote to Twitter.


ALSO READ: Little Richard dead at 87


Reel 360 sends its condolences to Harrell’s friends and family.

SOURCE: USA TODAY

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