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lime Music feature: A Tribute to Heavy D

Lime feature- Music

A Tribute to Heavy D






words by

Nicke Adebowale

Reporter: Nicke Adebowale

Last month, Heavy D the overweight lover of hip hop died.


He was 44-years-old. He collapsed outside his Beverly Hills home on November 8 and was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre where he later died.

Heavy D was a pioneer of New Jack Swing and helped to develop the fusion of hip hop and r&b that is so common today.

He was born Dwight Arrington Myers in Jamaica on May 24, 1967. His mother Eulahlee Lee was a nurse and his father Clifford Myers was a machine technician. The family moved to Mount Vernon, New York in 1971.  

Heavy D grew up around the burgeoning New York rap scene and started rapping when he was 8-years-old.

 

His group the Boyz formed in the late 80’s and went on to be the first group signed by Andre Harrell’s newly formed Uptown Records. Uptown would go on to be one of the most influential and successful black music labels. Kick starting not only Heavy D’s career but also that of Sean Combs aka P Diddy and Mary J Blige.

The first Heavy D and the Boyz album was 1987’s Living Large. It sold well and tracks such as ‘Mr Big Stuff’ and ‘The Overweight Lovers in the House’ encapsulated Heavy D’s style.

When the genre was spiralling towards its gangster rap hey-days of the 90’s, Heavy D was blending rap, r&b and hip hop and producing records people could just dance to. On the mic he was charming, witty and fun.

1989’s Big Tyme moved the group up to the next level and the album hit the billboard top 20 and scored three hit singles; including ‘We Got Our Own Thang’.

In 1990 the group lost dancer Trouble T Roy following a fall whilst on tour. Their next album 1991’s ‘Peaceful Journey was dedicated to him. Pete Rock and CL Smooth also released the classic ‘They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y)’ .

Peaceful Journey spawned the groups biggest UK hit with the number two single ‘Now That We’ve Found Love’ It also featured ‘Sister Sister’ the song was a celebration of black women that provided a welcome change to the bitch and hoe laden rap records of the time.

That same year Heavy D appeared on Michael Jackson’s ‘Dangerous’ album taking the guest rap slot on the hit single ‘Jam’. 

In the mid 90’s Heavy D became the first rapper to head a major music label, when he became the president of Uptown Records. He gave Sean Combs his start in music by hiring him as an intern.  

Heavy D began branching out into acting. He appeared in the Cosby show spin off ‘A Different World’ before taking a recurring role in the Queen Latifah sitcom ‘Living Single’.

Heavy D carried on juggling music and acting and appearing in numerous TV shows and taking parts in films including the Oscar winning ‘The Cider House Rules’ and the recently released Eddie Murphy vehicle ‘Tower Heist’.

He was just getting back in the flow of music following the release in September of ‘Love Opus’ telling Tim Westwood just days before his death that he was practicing eight hours a day for six weeks. He also put in an appearance at the Michael Jackson memorial concert, teaming up with LaToya for a rendition of Run.

His legacy was so great that President Obama sent a letter of condolence to his funeral.

A regular on Twitter his last message to his followers was ‘Be Inspired!’ Wise words.

He is survived by a daughter Xea.