Heavy D Hires Hip-Hop Heavies For Comeback LP, H.E.V.

Rapper returning to the game after taking time off to explore acting.

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."