My Memories of Andre Harrell and Uptown Records
Can you imagine a world without Sean "Diddy" Combs, Mary J. Blige, Jodeci, Heavy D, The Notorious B.I.G, Teddy Riley and Guy, Missy Elliot, Timbaland, and so many more? This is possibly what it would have been like in the entertainment industry if it weren't for the entrepreneurial, business-minded Andre Harrell. He began his initial start in the early eighties with Hip Hop duo Dr.Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, and would later go on to form Uptown Records.
Over the weekend, I woke up to the news of the passing of this musical icon. At the moment of this writing, there is no conclusive evidence of how he passed, but the industry was shook from the news, which was announced by Rapper D-Nice during one of his online Club Quarantine sessions late Friday Night.
Andre Harrell would eventually create Uptown Records which launched the careers of Al B Sure, Jodeci, Mary J Blige, and introduced Sean Combs to the industry - and we all know what happened after that. I remember coming home from school one day and watching Rap City and seeing the "Uptown's Kickin it" video. It featured the roster from the label and I was hooked from then on with everything they released.
He would eventually become President and CEO of the legendary Motown Records label. He also helped create the hit television show New York Undercover, which ran for five years, had great ratings on Fox, and helped to bring Hip Hop culture to weekly television by showcasing plenty of new artists on the show.
Harrell leaves behind one son, Gianni who he loved dearly, and who I am sure will carry on the business-savvy legacy of his father. This one hit pretty hard for me. While his label introduced me to so many great artists, his impression on future artists physically won't be possible. There was talk of an Uptown Records movie and a possible reboot for New York Undercover. I hope all of this will be true.
Andre will be missed, but he left a lot great music behind. Let me take you down memory lane from some of my favorite Uptown artists.