Andre Harrell, founding father of soul hip-hop, died at 59

Andre Harrell, founding father of soul hip-hop, died at 59
Andre Harrell, founding father of soul hip-hop, died at 59

Andre Harrell, a hip-hop and R&B tycoon and founder of the visionary label Uptown Records, has passed away. He was 59 years old.

The Revolt network, where Harrell was vice president, confirmed Harrell's death in a statement. "Everyone in the REVOLT family is devastated by the loss of our friend, mentor and vice president," the statement said. "André's impact on Hip Hop and culture and on us has been immeasurable and profound. May he rest in peace."

Harrell was born on September 26, 1960 and raised in the Bronx, New York. As a teenager, Harrell formed a hip-hop duo with his high school friend Alonzo Brown, named Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Harrell was the ex). The couple saw success with their singles; "Genius Rap", released in 1981, was his most notable.

In 1983 Harrell met Russell Simmons, who brought him home on his label, Def Jam Records. In two years, Harrell became vice president and general manager of Def Jam. In 1986 Harrell left to seek the creation of his own label, Uptown Records.

Uptown Records has become a hotbed of acts that established a new kind of relationship between R&B and hip-hop, in which genre styles were inextricably intertwined: Al B. Sure, Mary J. Blige, Jodeci and Guy ( which featured the New Jack Swing Pioneer in Teddy Riley) were all R&B acts that relied heavily on the cultural influence of hip-hop, while Heavy D and Boyz, an act of hip-hop, sanded the edges jagged rap with soul samples and R&B collaborations, advancing Harrell's musical ideals.

In 1992, MCA entered into a $ 50 million multimedia agreement with Uptown, giving Harrell the opportunity to produce films, television shows and film soundtracks. As a result, the tycoon produced the 1991 comedy Strictly Business, starring Halle Berry and Tommy Davidson. Harrell was also executive producer of the New York television series Undercover, which aired in the 1990s.

Harrell is known for coining the term "fabulous ghetto," a phrase that describes the aesthetic that has been encapsulated to encapsulate: both relatable and remarkable. Harrell has worked to bring this lifestyle to the forefront of mainstream media. "My goal is to bring real Black America as it is, undiluted, to people around the world through music, film, and everything we do," he told the Los Angeles Times. in 1992.

After his impact as the founder of Uptown Records, Harrell is well known as the man who gave Sean "Diddy" Combs, who worked as an intern for the label, his big break. The combs would later become an A&R in Uptown, exploring acts like Notorious B.I.G., which would shape the hip-hop and R&B landscape. Combs would then recruit his former boss to work as vice president of Revolt, a music network and a media company run by Combs.

Throughout his career, Harrell has been widely regarded as a creator of tastes. In an interview with Ebro Darden in 2018, Harrell explained his goal in the later stages of his career. "I try to guide people, based on the cultural motto of what things could be."

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