Friday, January 19, 2018

GARY HARRIS
R.I.P.



At the Latin Quarter circa 1985 in his O.G. Def Jam jacket.

Gary Harris was a great friend to many since the early days of Hip-Hop.

I first met Gary via Russell and Rick in the earliest Def Jam days. We got along well right from the start until the last time I spoke to him not many days ago.

A sharp mind like few others in the game.

Gary would often get teased by his closest friends for having worked for literally every major record label at one time or another, from his first label job at SugarHill in his hometown (and one of mine) in Englewood, New Jersey... Soon to Def Jam, as their first ever employee, on to the rest of them, often earning well into six figures for his talents, in promotions and A&R (you ever hear of D'Angelo?). You will find more about these feats in real "obits" as the days go by, from famous sorts of people I'm sure.

Gary wrote an incredible essay on myself and my work from his unique perspective for my MY RULES book. It was his first published piece in print. He honored me so well, so nicely, so intimately. If you read it as i did, you would know that he would eventually have many more opportunities to write for others, he was great at it, I encouraged it and he thanked me for pushing him in that direction. I am so sad he did not get to write any of the incredible books he had in his head, or was recently asked to do, before this dreadful day.

We used to joke so often about so many shared times, hanging out "around campus" during that golden age of hip hop, at that first time we both realized we had both attended the same elementary school (only several years apart), when we both shared lunch conversation with infamous actor Max "The Mack" Julien, both of us mimicking his "Yea maaaan!" voice countless times afterward, laughing at the movies we saw with friends, teaching him about the internet, and NO ONE played basketball harder than GH, I would never even attempt to defend against him no how, even if i did try to play. Gary knew more about sports than anyone i knew, but really he knew more than most people i knew about many subjects of cultural interest. He was an avid reader and music listener and movie watcher, he soaked it all in and spoke about it all like few others. I will always be happy for all the books he shared with me, most of which i have yet to read, but as he knew, were/are still sitting on top of my turntable.

I will never watch a Knicks game and not think about what Gary would be telling me about stats and personalities if he were on the phone or beside me at a game, trying to put me up.

He could be rough around the edges anyone who knows him well would have to admit, but he had a huge heart, great ear, and clearly a serious intellect.

I will miss him greatly, as I know will many others.

Got Damn.

My Man.

a.k.a. Insideplaya

"My man One Hundred Fifty Grand."


a more recent photo:


Gary chatting up Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and close friend "Q-Tip" to his left.

"Yo G, What about them Yankees?"


11 comments:

  1. Glen, I just wanted to say your words are true, heart felt and that I'll miss him too. I've never had a friend closer to me pass away and I immediately felt the loss in the pit of my heart. Lesvia (a mutual friend and fellow Hackensack resident)called and told me of his passing. Being an MD, a childhood friend and hearing the story of how he died left me wishing I had called him sooner. The thought that I might have influenced his medical decisions will forever be on my mind....I'm just feeling an empty place and a frustration right now....May our friend RIP....One Love Always Glen....BTW, I nicked the picture!!! My man doing what he loved with Kareem??......Priceless!!

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  2. Great memories. Thank you Glen!

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  3. Great memories. Thank you Glen!

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  4. Great memories. Thank you Glen!

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  5. Beautiful spirit gone much too soon!

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  6. Great tribute! Gary’s passing has been heavy on the heart. He will be missed greatly. May he Rest In Paz y Amor. Always in my heart and mind.

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