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Heavy D

Hip-hop's original overweight lover, Heavy D parlayed an eminently likable persona and strong MC skills into a lengthy career in music, television, and film. Weighing in at over 250 pounds, his girth could easily have become a one-note premise, but he varied his lyrical concerns to include positive message tracks and fun-loving party jams, and exuded warmth and respect for women without getting too graphic or sentimental. Musically, his appeal was just as broad -- he was able to mix elements of R&B, reggae, dance, and pop into his music, but his raps were quick-tongued enough that he avoided the accusations of selling out that dogged many other crossover successes of his era. Moreover, he was an all-around talent -- an agile dancer, a successful songwriter and producer, a naturalistic actor, and an astute businessman who held an executive-level position. Even after his tenure as a mainstream artist effectively ended, he maintained a steady level of popularity all the way through into the 2000s. He produced tracks for the likes of Jay-Z and Beanie Sigel, and his own albums continued to go gold.

Heavy D was born Dwight Errington Myers in Mandeville, Jamaica in 1967 and moved with his family to Mount Vernon, New York, as a young child. He discovered rap music at its inception, and by junior high was making his own demo tapes. He later formed the Boyz with high-school friends DJ Eddie F (born Eddie Ferrell), Trouble T-Roy (born Troy Dixon), and G-Wiz (born Glen Parrish). Their demo tape reached Def Jam executive André Harrell, who was in the process of forming his own label, Uptown. Harrell made Heavy D & the Boyz the first artists signed to Uptown in 1986, and they released their debut album, Living Large, in 1987. The singles "Mr. Big Stuff" and "The Overweight Lover's in the House" established Heavy D's image among rap fans, and "Don't You Know" was a crossover hit on the R&B charts, narrowly missing the Top Ten. All told, Living Large was a gold-selling hit.

The follow-up album, 1989's Big Tyme, was the group's real breakthrough. Like its predecessor, it featured production from both Marley Marl and new jack swing guru Teddy Riley. By this time, though, there was a bit more depth to Heavy D's persona, and he was also hitting a peak of consistency as a songwriter. "Somebody for Me," "We Got Our Own Thang," and "Gyrlz, They Love Me" were all significant R&B hits, with the former two reaching the Top Ten; plus, "We Got Our Own Thang" attracted some attention from MTV, while his appearance on Janet Jackson's "Alright" gave him significant mainstream exposure. Big Tyme would eventually reach number one on the R&B album chart, make the Top 20 on the pop side, and go certified platinum. Unfortunately, tragedy struck on the album's supporting tour, on July 15, 1990, when Trouble T-Roy fell from a height of two stories and died. He became the subject of Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth's elegiac hit "They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)" as well as a tribute cut on the next Heavy D & the Boyz album, 1991's Peaceful Journey.

Peaceful Journey was another platinum-selling hit, thanks to the single "Now That We Found Love" -- a modernized version of the Gamble/Huff composition originally recorded by the O'Jays -- which made Heavy D a full-fledged mainstream success. It reached the R&B Top Five and just missed the pop Top Ten. "Is It Good to You" and the posse cut "Don't Curse" were also popular with hip-hop fans, and the MC was also a weekly television presence via his theme song for the sketch comedy series In Living Color. Released in 1993, Blue Funk was a tougher effort with productions from Pete Rock (his younger cousin), DJ Premier, and Tony Dofat; despite its lack of pop appeal, it managed to go gold. In the meantime, Heavy D was establishing a concurrent acting career and landed his biggest role yet as a recurring supporting character on the Fox sitcom Roc; around the same time, he became the vice president of A&R at Uptown. Over the next few years, he would also appear as a recurring character on another Fox sitcom, Living Single.

Heavy D & the Boyz returned to platinum status with 1994's Nuttin' But Love, which spawned hits in "Black Coffee," the R&B Top Five "Got Me Waiting," and the title track; it also became their second album to top the R&B charts. The next two years were big for Heavy D, even though he didn't release any material of his own; he wrote and produced material for the likes of Montell Jordan and Soul for Real (including the hit "Candy Rain"), briefly served as president of Uptown Records, and made his off-Broadway theatrical debut starring in the one-act play Riff Raff (written and directed by Laurence Fishburne). In 1997, he returned as a solo act, releasing Waterbed Hev to surprising commercial response; it made the Top Ten on both the pop and R&B charts and produced a Top Five R&B hit in "Big Daddy." His seventh album, 1999's Heavy, became his seventh straight to reach the R&B Top Ten.

In the meantime, he appeared in the 1999 Eddie Murphy/Martin Lawrence comedy Life and landed a prominent supporting role in the Oscar-nominated drama The Cider House Rules. In 2000, he was most visible as a counselor on the Fox high-school drama Boston Public, which lasted for the next several years, as he worked on albums by Babyface, Jay-Z, Fabolous, and Timbaland, among others. During the rest of the decade, he had recurring roles on The Tracy Morgan Show and Bones, while he also recorded Vibes, a convincing and enjoyable album of reggae-pop. On November 8, 2011 -- several weeks after releasing a rap EP, Love Opus, and less than a month after performing at the BET Hip Hop Awards -- Heavy D collapsed outside his home in Beverly Hills and passed away. He was 44 years old. ~ Steve Huey & Andy Kellman, Rovi
full bio

Comments

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Real talk u ready then hit me upper and call me daddy !!!!
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i have always love me some Heavy D. Big Daddy is one of my favorites
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I'll Do Anything...m a n I forgot all about this song. Miss you Heavy D....not forgotten
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Yo heavy miss u man. Gone too soon.
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always loved me some heavy d
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Wishing you everlasting peace. You are missed.
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truly Missed one of the best MCs
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GONE but never FORGOTTEN...
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carscgcam2
CRAZY MISSED...... . . . . .
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I miss you Heavy D. RIP
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You are so missed Hev!!!!!!!! RIP
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gone too soon Heavy, you are missed love u
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R.I.P HEAVY D I BEEN LISTENING TO U SINCE I WAS A LIL GIRL YOU ARE TRUELY LOVED AND MISSED ♥
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Dwight Errington, Heavy D, I been listening to you since your first release. I have every release of yours. You gave positive attitude in you music, you brought back self-sexines s to overweight lovers everywhere. I miss you Big Tyme. On the mic from that bag of blue funk, your flowing rhymes. Giving me unforgettabl e nights for many years in my stomping ground of nightclubs. Dwight, Hev, I wish you a peaceful journey, reuniting with T-Roy.

Rest In Peace
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R.i.p. Heavy D love tha smooth sounds of this song :-) yea he was slept on 4real.
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R.I.P. miss u!!!!!! 609 loves u!!!!!!
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The most underatted rapper of all time. Heavy- D is a major reason why Hip-Hop is where it is today. True ICON to the industry
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Gyrlz They Love Me, Overweight Lover's In the House, We Got Our Own Thang - really, truly some of the coolest, most fun, rap and dance music ever! Dang - too bad no one like him now.
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WOW Hev...miss you! Rest in Power
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REST IN PEACE HEV!
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greendoniel7 0
one of the best rappers,rest in peace,and god bless heavy d......
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I am typically smooth jazz fan, but added Heavy D because I love so many of his songs, his dance style and his positive message. He was nothing but class in everything he did. R.I.P. Much love. You are missed.
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davidinho.19
RIP
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RIP
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marion_mille r
You will be missed. Their will never be another like you, you were a postive role model for the younger generation. Clean and decent rap music.
Love You Heavy D....
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r.i.p.
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I wish you a peaceful journey!
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RIP to the best rappers in the industry. Positive and very creative. God Be With his Family especially his children!
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RIP Hev
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R I PHEAVY D
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wow we are going to miss you long live your music i grew up on it
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R.I.P. you will be missed .i started to like rap because of him,
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R.I.P. HEAVY D pioneer and legend
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Rest easy Hev D..........
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An artist i will never forget...... . . . . . . . . t h i n k about it Heavy made songs you could play with the kids in the car and he could jam with the best of them...RIP bro......... . . l i v e S T R O N G .
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RIP Heavy D...part of the BEST era in hip hop music. You will forever be remembered and missed!
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R. I. P. Heavy D was like my brother, my uncle, my cousin he taught me so much and spoke about a lot through his music, television. To always BE INSPIRED no matter what. Meaning whatever you do . Do it to the best of your ability put 100% into and good things will happen. It was a great father to his children. His flow is still unmatched... He will be forever my man , my uncle Heavy D, The Overweight lover. I Love and Miss U and prayers go out to the Myers Family.
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RIP Mr. Heavy D. I love your music. It brings back so many great memories listening to it again. I was fresh out of high school boogying to your lyrics. I loved that era of hip hop. Your music is respectful, easy to listen to, and simply a feel good music. Love ya. RIP
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RIP Heavy D!!!
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RIP HEV...U Will be missed
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RIP Heav D
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Heavy D One Love
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kimble_cara
We miss you already, but we know you are in good hands, Eternal Peace.
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msmaria30
Rest In Paradise Heavy D...You will truly be missed...
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To be honest I can't really get myself together to really embrace that he is no longer here. My heart remains so heavy. I am thankful for his music and Positive influence in the industry and also on screen. He was just a wonderful person and Jamaica, Mt. Vernon, The Bronx, the World lost a great KING!!! Rest in Paradise!!
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moniqueclave l l e
Heavy you were truly a great artist and my favorite rapper. You didn't feel the need to disrespect women and when I heard your music, it brought a smile to my face. May you RIP. My sincerest condolescens e to the family.
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kissieangel
I'm so sad he's gone...but God knows best...
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showing some love to a great artist HEAVY D RIP
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darkarholdin g s
Heavy D you have always been true to the Art of Hip Hop! Your charm and presence will be missed.. RIP Brother
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A man whose positivity shined through all he touched. Peace be his journey now.
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