1960 – 2020
Everyone who loved Andre Harrell was introduced to his brilliance at different phases in his career. If you mention him to a diehard Hip Hop fan you will hear stories about how he and his crew mate Alonzo Brown formed the legendary rap group – “Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde “ in the early 80s releasing some of the dopest music ever recorded.
Dr Jeckyll & Mr Hyde were under Russell Simmons’ Rush Management and were known as the suit and tie rappers because of their designer suits, shirts and ties.
Their biggest singles were “Fast Life” (1984) and “Getting Money” (1983). They also recorded underground Classics like “Genius Rap” and the street favorite, the Beat and Lyric driven – “A.M. / P.M.” That song featured
one of the greatest story raps in Hip Hop History! A verse from Mr. Hyde (Alonzo Brown) about a shark who helped him find his magic potion!
After the crew split in 1987 the duo both went on to do magical things. Brown became a Television and Film Executive and Andre Harrell went on to construct one of the most important music movements the world has ever seen.
In the footsteps of Motown’s Berry Gordy, Harrell is credited with having discovered and signing Sean “Puffy” Combs. In 1988, Mary J. Blige recorded an impromptu cover of Anita Baker’s “Caught Up in the Rapture” at a recording booth in a local mall. Her mother’s boyfriend at the time later played the cassette for Jeff Redd, a recording artist and A&R runner for Uptown Records. Redd sent it to Harrell, who met with Blige. In 1989, she was signed to the label, and she became the company’s youngest and first female solo artist. Uptown also developed and released a healthy roster of Hip Hop and R&B superstars.
The label played a key role in the development of the New Jack Swing style of R&B, courtesy of acts like Guy (featuring the hugely influential producer-performer Teddy Riley), Al B. Sure and Jodeci, Father MC and the late great Hip Hop Legend – “Heavy D” of “Heavy D and the Boyz.”
Harrell had multimedia deal, which involved film and television productions. They developed FOX’s hit police drama series, New York Undercover, which aired from 1994-1998.
Harrell renamed Uptown Records as Uptown Enterprises, and its records were featured in productions for Universal Pictures and Universal Television.
In 1994, Harrell had a son with Wendy Credle, a music attorney. They named him Gianni Credle-Harrell.
In 1995, Harrell was appointed CEO of Motown Records.
Harrell was the Vice Chairman of Revolt, Diddy’s multi-platform music network. On October 17, 2014, he was instrumental in launching the Revolt Music Conference in Miami, Florida, at the Fountainbleau Hotel.
According to IMDB, Andre had been working on a TV miniseries about Uptown that was in the development phase at BET. The three-part miniseries titled “Uptown” had Harrell on board as executive producer and was scheduled to hit the airwaves in 2020.
Andre Harrell is a true pioneer and multimedia super hero.
On May 9th 2020 Andre Harrell passed away at the age of 59. He will be sorely missed.