Heavy D. & The Boyz
Self-proclaimed ‘overweight lover of rap from money earnin’ Mount Vernon’, Heavy D (b. Dwight Myers, 24 May 1967, Jamaica, West Indies) fronted a mainstream rap outfit which has been considered the genre’s equivalent of Luther Vandross. Though the vast majority of his material represents rap’s familiar call to procreation, Heavy D’s rhymes are imbued with warmth rather than breast-beating machismo. Similarly, though he makes much of his muchness (titles like ‘Mr. Big Stuff’ are frequent), there is more to Heavy D than novelty. His debut album, produced by Teddy Riley, comprised funk alongside hints of the swingbeat sound the producer was in the process of creating. Riley was also in tow for the follow-up, though this time he was in the company of fellow rap production legend Marley Marl, among others. Q-Tip (A Tribe Called Quest), Big Daddy Kane and Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth all featured on ‘Don’t Curse’, a posse cut from Peaceful Journey. The album also included a tribute to former band member T-Roy (b. Troy Dixon, d. 15 July 1990). The other ‘Boyz’ comprised G. Whiz (b. Glen Parrish) and DJ Eddie F (b. Edward Ferrell). Success continued unabated when ‘Now That We’ve Found Love’ became a UK number 2 in July 1991, profiling a fresh, Jamaican DJ influenced style. He also made a high profile guest appearance on Michael Jackson’s ‘Jam’ single and sister Janet’s ‘Alright With Me’. Strangely, despite this success MCA did not see fit to offer Blue Funk, which saw Heavy return to hardcore territory with guest production from Pete Rock and DJ Premier, an immediate UK release. His 1994 set Nuttin’ But Love saw him reunite with rap’s top rank of producers, including old hands Marl, Riley and Rock, alongside Erick Sermon, Trackmasters and Troy Williams. It was another superb package, making Heavy D one of rap’s heavyweights in more than the literal sense. He confirmed his longevity when Waterbed Hev enjoyed both critical and commercial acclaim, entering the US Top 10 in spring 1997. Heavy featured another solid collection of laidback grooves, delivered, as usual, with panache and skill.
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