The sad events of this last week have been difficult enough for anyone from the UK Rap community [Our thoughts and love go out to the entire Chijioke family and to everyone that knew TY. He was an admirable musician, a trailblazer, a funny warm-hearted guy and an all-round good soul] but to learn of the passing of one of our electro era pioneers is equally soul destroying.
For the golden era generation, the history of Andre Harrell dates back to being part of the duo behind some of the first flushes of Rap on Profile Records ‘many moons ago’ during the early 80s: Dr.Jeckyll from Dr.Jeckyll & Mr.Hyde. Someone that, if you caught the bug of Hip-Hop back in 1980 – 83 in the UK, he was arguably one of the first artists that you picked up on record or cassette. Harrell ‘The founder, the visionary, and the head of Uptown‘ Records is one of the most iconic figures within the industry of Hip-Hop & Rap. He took Hip-Hop & Rap to unexpected places in the Nineties along with producers like Teddy Riley & Marley Marl, and of course Puffy.
This candid interview is over 22 minutes long and possibly because there is friendship, familiarity and a cordial background to their alliance, the two joke around as well as discussing serious topics and business. Tim is more erudite than normal, astutely addressing a myriad of fascinating subjects that Andre has opinions on; Common folk, the Teddy Riley sound, Dr.Jeckyll & Mr.Hyde, producing music that reflected the upwardly mobile Black experience [Buppy Rap] and the world of Harlem. He discusses his first movie production credit, the ‘Go Natalie’ project co-written by Nelson George [Go Natalie being the working title of the movie that gave Halle Berry her first co-starring role, it ended up bein’ switched up to ‘Strictly Business’ by the time of release]. He talks about knuckleheads and personal advancement amidst the Inner City, conversely he talks of hope and ‘livin lovely’. He mentions how much money Teddy and Marley get paid per record, and of course, why he switched from performing as an artist [under the Dr.Jeckyll & Mr.Hyde moniker] to artist management…
There are beautiful tributes being written about Andre at the moment and tbh, I find it difficult to add a deserving appreciation as grief is all around us right now and finding the right words is not easy for someone that I revered, admired and learnt from, even as a white Irish kid who had just become a teen in 1981. Im restoring and reviving his own words to let you discover how intelligent, interesting and visionary he was and what a gent he was. I’m just so sad that he isn’t with us any longer.
My thoughts and heart-felt love go out to the Harrell family at this difficult time, and to anyone that knew him personally or professionally.
As well as the 20 minute interview, Westwood plays a truckload of exclusives from the forthcoming releases of the time: NWA LP Niggaz4Life was due to hit the streets in the following weeks, there’s a World Premiere of Heavy D’s Hip-Pop classic ‘Now That We’ve Found Love’ and a handful of cuts from In Control II [featuring another alternate version of Marley Marl No BS, with the ‘I’m Your Puppet’ break and the Mr Magic diss removed] as well as another version of the LL cut I Get Busy [with yet more alternate lyrics].
NB: Jonathan Shecter AKA @sheckygreen AKA Jay the Sultan, also mentions a compelling performance during The Source Magazine weekly update: At a surprise birthday party for MC Serch at the Redzone, all four members of the cast of ‘Live At The BBQ’ appeared on stage, to perform ‘Live At The BBQ’. Now that’s some Hip-Hop holy grail ‘isht !!! Tim also uses terms like ‘Stressin to the Bone’, which is never unfunny.
There’s also an unreleased track from Finesse & Synquis featuring Chubb Rock, that was MEANT to feature Puff Daddy [he still gets a shout on the track though]. Chubb once said in an interview on MySpace: ‘I wrote one song for them it was called, “Grill”. And a lot of people were on it. I had actually wrote a rhyme for Puffy. That was the first time he ever rhymed on a record. All I remember was like the record was incredible and if you back track it in The Source, The Source back then like early nineties was actually reviewing singles and reviewed that single and gave it like four mics‘.
NWA – Real Niggaz Don’t Die
Tragedy The Intelligent Hoodlum & Chuck D – America Eats The Young
Juice Crew – The Symphony #2
Capleton Mi Nuh Lotion Man Promo
Big Daddy Kane – Hard Bein the Kane Remix
L Cool J – I Be Gettin’ Busy
NWA – Always into Somethin
The Source Magazine Update with Jon Shecter
Main Source – Hangin Out [Remix]
Tragedy The Intelligent Hoodlum Feat Craig G – Live & Direct From The House Of Hits
Heavy D – Now That Weve Found Love [World Premiere]
Andre Harrell Interview
Finesse & Synquis Feat Chubb Rock/ Hot Dog & Red Hot – Grill [World Premiere]
Andre Harrell Interview Contd
Heavy D – Let My People Sing
Andre Harrell Interview Contd
Guy/ Aaron Hall/ Damion Hall Concert ad