Andre Harrell Founder of Uptown Records, Who Discovered Sean "Puffy" Combs, Passes Away at 59

Andre Harrell, the record producer, instrumental in discovering Sean “Puffy” Combs (Diddy) has passed away. The cause of death is presently unknown. He was 59.

Harrell’s death was first announced by DJ D-Nice on his Instagram Live early Saturday morning, Billboard reported. The magazine said it received separate confirmation from other sources.

Born in New York City, Harrell started his career as part of the rap duo, Dr. Jeckyll, and Mr. Hyde and made a song called “Genius Rap” which was a slight hit in 1981. He would then go on to work for Def Jam Records, where he quickly rose to vice president and general manager of the label before creating his own in Uptown Records.

Harrell was influential in bringing great musical acts of the ’90s to the forefront with the likes of Al B. Sure, Heavy D & the Boyz, Jodeci, Guy, and Mary J. Blige. The late Christopher Wallace “The Notorious B.I.G.” even signed to the label before Combs’ firing. This led to the energetic musical entrepreneur cultivating “Bad Boys,” where Biggie would become his most recognized rap artist.

Andre Harrell Founder of Uptown Records, Who Discovered Sean "Puffy" Combs, Passes Away at 59
Diddy first interned with Andre Harrell in the early ’90s. Later the two would team up again with Harrell serving as the vice chairman at REVOLT. Getty Images

Outside of music, Harrell was the executive producer of the popular police drama “New York Undercover” that starred Malik Yoba and Michael DeLorenzo and originated in 1994. When Uptown Records folded, Harrell briefly served as the president and CEO of Motown in 1995.

Variety reported that at the time of his death, Harrell was working on a TV miniseries about Uptown.

 

 

By BSM Team

Photo: Leonard Bennett/Getty Images

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