ETI salutes Hip Hop Music Icon Andre Harrell – Dead at 59 from Heart Failure

In order to be a legend you have to learn from and study the legends.

A legend today is known for their noted celebrity and larger-than-life accomplishments, whose fame is well-known.

Andre Harrell, an influential music executive who launched Uptown Records and hired Sean “P. Diddy” Combs as an intern, has died, reports say. He was 59.

DJ D-Nice first announced his death on an Instagram Live, and Billboard and Variety separately confirmed it May 8, 2020.

Harrell, who was born in New York City, was half of a minor 1980s hip-hop duo, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but quickly joined the ranks of music executives, first at Russell Simmons’ Def Jam Records, where he rose to general manager, and then at Uptown Records, the New York-based label he founded.

There, he nurtured rappers Heavy D & The Boyz, R&B quartet Jodeci and singers Al B. Sure and Mary J. Blige, among others. And he discovered Combs, hiring him as an intern before promoting him to talent director. (After Harrell fired Combs in 1993, he went on to create the Bad Boy label.)

Harrell also helped develop TV projects through MCA, his record label’s distribution partner, including Fox’s “New York Undercover.”

In the mid-1990s, Harrell had a brief stint running Motown Records, then he formed his own label in the early 2010s. More recently, Combs hired him as an executive at his Revolt cable network, where he produced an annual music conference. And last December, BET announced plans for three-part miniseries called “Uptown,” tracing the history of Harrell’s label.

As news spread of his death, tributes flowed on social media overnight.

“He was an amazing friend and I can’t stop crying,” Mariah Carey said on Twitter. “He was an amazing friend and I will miss him forever.”\


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