Andre Harrell, Music Executive Who Discovered Diddy, Dies at Age 59

Andre Harrell, famed Uptown and Motown Records Executive, has died at the age of 59. The news was revealed on DJ D-Nice's Instagram Live on Friday, May 8th (via Variety), though the family hasn't made an official announcement at this time. The cause of death has not been revealed either, but our thoughts are with Harrell's family and friends at this difficult time. Harrell made an unforgettable stamp on the music though his work at Uptown Records, helping to bring New Jack Swing into prominence that would then transform Hip-Hop in ways that still echo today. Harrell had a hand in big names like Heavy D & The Boyz, Guy, All B Sure, Mary J. Blige, and Jodeci, which then also brought producers like Teddy Riley into the mix. One of his biggest discoveries though was Sean Combs, known as Puff Daddy (or Diddy for a while), who would then make history with Bad Boy Records, Notorious B.I.G., Mase, Mary J. Blige, Lil Kim, and more.

That's just the tip of the iceberg too, as Harrell worked with a staggering amount of other musicians throughout his career, helping to bring out even more from them and also acting as a mentor and friend. One of those friends was Russell Simmons, who took to Instagram to share a touching tribute.

"Heartbreaking - No words, my best friend 💔 always compassionate, good-hearted, full of love and.. what a beautiful legacy he leaves in this world... All the inspiration, direction and support he gave to so many... So many can say they are successful because Andre Harrell gave them their start. He was so beloved because he made his living uplifting others... We celebrate him in his passing because we were so blessed for his presence... He gave everything he had. God makes the best plans R.I.P @andreharrell"

Questlove also shared a tribute to Harrell, and if you were unclear at how much an effect Harrell had on the music industry, you won't have any issues with that after reading what Questlove had to say.

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Dude. #AndreHarrell man. He gave you the best soundtracks of your life man and you didn’t even know it. We never gave him his flowers. He redefined the party! Def Jam was the artform. Bad Boy was the attitude Death Row was the muscle But without even knowing it? Uptown was ALWAYS the party. I’m sitting here going through my crates STUNNED at the amount of six degree to Andre records I’ve spun weekly on a regular basis for the last 35 years yo. The is a staggering loss. We never gave Andre Harrell his flowers. Name em: Al B Sure/Heavy D & The Boyz/Guy/. I mean mentoring Diddy alone brings in Jodeci/BIG/Mary J/Father MC/Christopher Williams—-and even in those names the success with THOSE artists come Missy/Timb/Neptune’s But let’s not stop there: first time we really paid attention to Halle Berry was in a Harrell film called Strictly Business Let’s throw “Candy Rain” in there or Lil Shawn’s “I Made Love”—-I may be dating myself but man Mgruff’s “Before We Start” got MUCH play round my way. Jeff Redd (who brought Blidge to the label) had a banger with “You Called And Told Me”—-“Touch It” from Monifah STILL bangs to this day. & back to Diddy, I’m absolutely w/o a doubt certain that he feels his success is also Harrell’s success so in a round about way there is no Bad Boy w/o Harrell. (Lemme also remember Daryl Chill Mitchell’s “Hip Hop’s Here To Stay” another classic uptown jawn. Horace Brown too..... Too Many Classics Let’s not forget NY Undercover & all the clever music moments in each ep. We never gave him his flowers. This isn’t even half of his achievements nor does this even bring to light the people’s lives he changed or his loved ones left behind. He literally introduced a new sound to the world (the first new jack swing projects were on Uptown)—-wait hold that——his label changed music TWICE because hip hop soul’s music picked up where New Jack left off and on the same label. Such a short time to paradigm shift music TWICE!!!!!!!! Damn man. We never gave him his flowers man. 😣

A post shared by Questlove Froman, (@questlove) on

"Dude. #AndreHarrell man.
He gave you the best soundtracks of your life man and you didn’t even know it. We never gave him his flowers.
He redefined the party!

Def Jam was the artform.
Bad Boy was the attitude
Death Row was the muscle

But without even knowing it?

Uptown was ALWAYS the party.

I’m sitting here going through my crates STUNNED at the amount of six degree to Andre records I’ve spun weekly on a regular basis for the last 35 years yo.

The is a staggering loss.

We never gave Andre Harrell his flowers.

Name em: Al B Sure/Heavy D & The Boyz/Guy/. I mean mentoring Diddy alone brings in Jodeci/BIG/Mary J/Father MC/Christopher Williams—-and even in those names the success with THOSE artists come Missy/Timb/Neptune’s

But let’s not stop there: first time we really paid attention to Halle Berry was in a Harrell film called Strictly Business

Let’s throw “Candy Rain” in there or Lil Shawn’s “I Made Love”—-I may be dating myself but man Mgruff’s “Before We Start” got MUCH play round my way. Jeff Redd (who brought Blidge to the label) had a banger with “You Called And Told Me”—-“Touch It” from Monifah STILL bangs to this day. & back to Diddy, I’m absolutely w/o a doubt certain that he feels his success is also Harrell’s success so in a round about way there is no Bad Boy w/o Harrell. (Lemme also remember Daryl Chill Mitchell’s “Hip Hop’s Here To Stay” another classic uptown jawn. Horace Brown too..... Too Many Classics

Let’s not forget NY Undercover & all the clever music moments in each ep.

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We never gave him his flowers. This isn’t even half of his achievements nor does this even bring to light the people’s lives he changed or his loved ones left behind.
He literally introduced a new sound to the world (the first new jack swing projects were on Uptown)—-wait hold that——his label changed music TWICE because hip hop soul’s music picked up where New Jack left off and on the same label. Such a short time to paradigm shift music TWICE!!!!!!!! Damn man.
We never gave him his flowers man. 😣"

Our thoughts are with Harrell's family and friends at this time.