Andre Harrell Fired Diddy From Uptown Records to Teach Him a Lesson
On May 9, 2020, legendary music executive Andre Harrell tragically passed away at the age of 59. The music mogul got his start in the music industry as part of the hip-hop duo, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with Alonzo Brown. However by the late ’80s, he had paralleled his success from the stage into the boardroom.
He began his career at Def Jam Records working his way up to the roles of Vice President and General Manager before starting his own label, Uptown Records. He went on to discover major music acts in the industry including Diddy and launch he first hip-hop TV series.
Harrell was beloved and well-known in the industry and Diddy has even said that the late mogul was like a father to him. However, the Harlem native had to fire Diddy early in his career because of his ego.
Inside Andrew Harrell’s monumental career
When Harrell launched Uptown Records after leaving Def Jam, he essentially created the sound of R&B and Hip-Hop in the ’90s. He signed and discovered Heavy D & The Boyz, Al B. Sure, Mary J. Blige and Jodeci. He also discovered Diddy who would go on to launch Bad Boy Records.
After leaving Uptown records Harrell would go on to become the CEO Of Motown Records and eventually the CEO of Harrell Records which was released through Atlantic Records.
Harrell also launched New York Undercover, the very first police drama starring two actors of color, Malik Yoba, and Michael DeLorenzo. As a producer, Harrell allowed hip-hop artists to begin starring in dramas.
More recently in 2014, he partnered with Diddy to lunch REVOLT TV, Harrell was Vice-Chairman of the music television network and multi-platform brand.
Andre Harrell was like a father to Diddy
Earlier this year at the Industry Icon Award at a Pre-Grammys Gala, Diddy paid tribute to Harrell, who he said was like a father to him.
“I want to take the time to thank Andre for being a big brother; for believing in me,” he said. “Dre, I’m only standing up here because you gave me the chance, you gave me the opportunity. But most importantly, as we all have to do, as a Black man you took me under your wing. You were patient with me and you taught me and you talked to me and you taught me about the game. You taught me what it means to be a record man, and you believed in me. You kept teaching me. Even until today you still teach me. And I call you my big brother, but tonight I’ve gotta tell you the truth. I told you my father died when I was two and a half. Andre, you’ve been my father for like the last 30 years.”
Andrew Harrell fired Diddy because of his ego
Since they were so close, Harrell had no qualms about giving Diddy tough love. With his ego out of control, Harrell fired Diddy from Uptown Records in 1993.
“So I started to branch out into movies, into television,” Harrell told the Wall Street Journal. “So then Puff wouldn’t really listen to anybody but me. So my full-time job became managing Puff and I was doing other things. I knew it was time for him to grow and the only way he could grow was if he was gonna have the same kind of corporate compensations that I was subjected to.”