Andre Harrell, founder of Uptown Records, passed away on Friday due to heart failure, according to his ex-wife, Wendy Credle. Harrell was 59 years old and had been having heart problems for a while, according to Credle.
Derrick Jones, known by his stage name D-Nice, first announced Harrell’s death on Friday via Instagram. Roma Khanna, CEO of REVOLT then confirmed the death in a statement on Saturday.
“We can confirm the passing of Andre Harrell,” Khanna said in a statement. “Everyone in the REVOLT family is devastated by the loss of our friend, mentor and Vice Chairman. Andre’s impact on Hip Hop, the culture and on all of us personally has been immeasurable and profound. May he Rest In Peace.”
His career began in the early ‘80s, when Harrell, along with his friend from high school Alonzo Brown, formed rap duo Dr. Jekyll (Harrell) and Mr. Hyde (Brown). The duo found success before even graduating high school with singles “Genius Rap” released in 1981 and “A.M./P.M.” released in 1984.
Wanting something more in terms of career, Harrell attended Baruch College and Lehman College, hoping to be a newscaster. He eventually dropped out and went to work for Def Jam Records.
Harrell founded Uptown Records in 1986 and subsequently helped launch the careers of Diddy, Sean Combs, Heavy D and the Boyz, Mary J. Blige, Teddy Riley, Jodeci and many others. Uptown Records quickly became the most prominent Hip-Hop/R&B label in the music industry, granting Harrell success at an early age.
BET is currently working on a mini-series about Uptown Records called “Uptown,” and the television station will be moving forward with production following his death. However, due to the coronavirus production dates are still unknown.
Harrell is survived by his son, Gianni Credle-Harrell, his brother Greg Harrell and his father.