When you've been out of the spotlight for a while, one good way to make a
triumphant return is to surround yourself with big names. The formula's not
foolproof, as evidenced by Run-D.M.C.'s Crown Royal, but it sure
worked for Santana, so heavyweight rapper Heavy D is willing to give it a
His new album, H.E.V., will feature appearances by Faith Evans, Loon
and P. Diddy, who will also provide production assistance. The rapper only
has three tracks left to cut, and he hopes to have the disc out early next
year. On other fronts, Heavy D is working with Jay-Z on a track for the
superstar's next album, and he's also been in the studio with Fat Joe.
Heavy D left the rap world after 1999's Heavy to focus on his acting
career (appearing in such films as "The Cider House Rules," "Larceny" and
"Big Trouble"), and during that time the hip-hop scene gravitated away from
the old-school funky grooves upon which Heavy D thrived. He's convinced the
respite was healthy, and now he's returning to the game in an era that's
more embracing of his trademark style.
"The way music is now, it just fits what I do," he said. "It's melodic and
really danceable and headed back to being fun, and I want to be a part of
At the same time, Heavy D is making an effort to reach out to folks who grew
up with his music but who might have abandoned hip-hop style as they've
"I'm making records to fit a generation that's kind of lost right now," he
explained. "There are lots of people who are in their twenties and thirties
who still are hip-hop fans, but now they're lawyers, they're doctors,
they're schoolteachers, and they don't really get into the day to day slang
of hip-hop right now. They're not gonna wear their jeans a certain way and
they're not going to wear certain clothes. So I think I'm trying to reach
out to that as well as the younger market. When you have the combination of
hip-hop and pop, I think you can invite everybody to it."
Songs on H.E.V. include "Just a Little Bit" (featuring Loon, with
production by P. Diddy), "Would You Love Me?" (with Faith Evans and P.
Diddy) "They Love Me California," "Heavy" and the reggae-tinged "Delilah."
While it's too early to announce a single, Heavy D is especially proud of
the cut with Evans, on which he raps, "If I never made a video/ If I never
made all of this dough/ Would you love me?/ Would you still be down for me?"
"It's me putting myself in this scenario where I'm going, 'What if I really
wasn't this guy that I am now?' " Heavy said. "Would this crop of folks I've
got around me eyeing me on a day to day basis still love me? Probably not."
In addition to working on his own record, Heavy D has been busy with a slew
of production and writing projects. P. Diddy recruited his services for a
number of baby groups on Bad Bay, and he's also worked with Black Rob and G.
Dep. The project he's buzzing the most about at the moment, however, is a
track he's just written for the next Jay-Z album.
"It's very different. I can't go into detail too much, but it's something
very different, and people ain't expecting it," he said. "It's incredible.
When I brought it to him, we sat in the car for like an hour just vibing to
it. And he was like, 'I gotta do the record.' So, we're finishing up now."
Heavy D has also been helping out his old friend Fat Joe. The two have
frequently talked about collaborating, but it didn't happen until recently
when Joe was having trouble with a few tracks for his next record.
"He played me a couple of things that weren't flowing, so I was like,
'A'ight, by the time I get to New York I'm going to have one for you,' "
recalled Heavy. "When I got in, I called him up and was like, 'Yo, check
this out.' And he listened to it and was like, 'Yo, I have to do that.' So,
we went to the studio and just laid it down."