There are very few unimpeachable personalities in Hip-Hop; Dwight “Heavy D” Myers was one of scant few. Think about it for a second. How many successful people can you count that don’t have anyone ready to scream “fuck that n***a!”? How many entertainers have ever been able to manage intelligence, talent, sex appeal and good product and transcend the era lines that usually have the previous generations dismissive?
Heavy D was a juggler; managing relevance, quality music and Hollywood overtures while walking the line between inoffensive and impotent; never crossing over. Your kids could listen to him like he was Kid N Play or MC Hammer, but Heav wasn’t jockeying for space on a lunchbox. He still had enough flavor to “Jam” with Michael Jackson or corral some of the fiercest emcees of his day for to drop “Don’t Curse” and curtail their natural instincts to go hard without profanity. He was the one emcee your parents could love and you didn’t feel like a chump as you grew older listening to.
There were sides of Heavy D that many people were not privy to. When Biggie Smalls was machine gun funked up off that party and bullshit, Puffy turned to Heavy D for that smooth big man swagger to soften those edges. There are rumors of a ghostwriting hand in some of those early smoothed out Biggie songs, but no confirmation. What I do know is that there was a track called “Jam” that didn’t make the final cut of Ready to Die that features Heavy D going bar for bar with Brooklyn’s finest and not backing down an inch.
Then there was his inventiveness and range. Before Reggae and Hip-Hop collaboration was the norm, Myers infused much of his early music with the riddim that was his birthright. Heaven knows how many times I tried to say that bondiddly d stuff as a kid and failed miserably. But Heavy D had a hit with Supercat with “Dem No Worry We” which paved the way for that kind of thing. Later on in his career, he released a few Reggae tracks under the moniker Big Belly that were authentic music.
Heavy was always good at reinvention. “Mr. Big Stuff” and “Overweight Lover’s In The House” showcased his affable nature while putting his considerable skill on display. “In The Mood For Love” showed his romantic side while not dooming him to the clowning that LL and Kane got when they decided to go overboard on the sex tip. He set the clubs on fired with “Now That We’ve Found Love” and got his New Jack Swing on with “We Got Our Own Thang.” And just when you thought he was over or on the pop tip, he hit you with the Tony Dofat-helmed Blue Funk album.
As far as the hood, Heavy put Mt. Vernon on the map and held it down for the duration of his run; christening it for those that didn’t know as Money Earning. That opened the door for Pete and CL and pretty much everyone past that Westchester County line, including DMX and The Lox. You didn’t have to be from the five boroughs to bang and Heavy D’s success and credibility was a major reason for that.
Then he managed the Hollywood shuffle, from his appearance as himself on different world, to playing a street tough drug dealer in New Jersey Drive Heav took all of his roles seriously and avoided the early awkwardness of Cool J and Latifah in their early acting roles. Like everything else he did, he was fluid.
Now the ride is over, and you almost appreciate his death because you know that perhaps now his career will get the love that he did as a person and his talent may get recognized for how strong it was. He was one of the few celebrity Tweeters that actually Tweeted and I didn’t think worse of for the experience. That in itself is a marvel. But through success and tragedy (T Roy, City College stampede) Heavy D was dignified without being stiff, fun without being a clown, and as hard as a commercial rapper could be. Boy could he dance his big ass off. Rest In Piece Bondiddly. Tell Saint Peter if you at the gates there’ll be no bum rushing.
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