Heavy D’s family will give fans a chance to pay their respects to the later rapper and actor (born, Dwight Arrington Myers) during a public viewing service in his hometown Mount Vernon, New York on Thursday (November 17). A private funeral will be held the following day where close friends such as Mary J. Blige, Diddy and Eddie F will be in attendance. The Jamaican-born entertainer died suddenly last week at the age of 44. The Overweight Lover, as he was affectionately known, got his start as a member of the popular 90s group Heavy D and the Boyz. Check out Heavy’s final live performance, from this year’s Bet Hip-Hop Awards, and read excerpts from his final interview with Tim Westwood. During their chat Hev touched on the birth of hip-hop, producing for Jay-Z and being nervous for his BET performance.
Tell us the story behind this record “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” brother, so some people can really understand the power of this record.
Well, T.R.O.Y. is the acronym for Troy. Troy was basically the backbone of Heavy D and the Boyz. Troy was the one that put all of us together, because I grew up with Troy from 3rd grade, and Troy knew Eddie F and he knew Glen, and he introduced me to Glen and Eddie. When I was doing my demos by myself Troy would come with me. So we’ve been friends and Pete Rock, who produced that record, is my cousin. Troy passed away in a tragic accident.
A Tragic accident.
Tragic, but it was a total accident. Young boys, we were having fun and horsing around. It happened outside in a parking structure. We were on the fourth tier and we were walking down to go to the bus to go to the next gate. And a friend of ours rolled a dumpster, a garbage dumpster down the hill, and we all scattered. Now at the time all the garbage dumpsters we knew were metal, this one was plastic. So the friend who’s rolling it is thinking like this ain’t gonna hurt anybody. But, we’re not knowing its plastic so we all scattered and Troy sat on the wall lost his balance and toppled over so that’s what happened. So in homage to him Pete created this record “They Reminisce Over You” and I also made a record called “Peaceful Journey.” ‘Cause I had lost my brother a year before that as well so those two records came out of losses. And, out of losses you can always find blessings. That’s kinda what we did with it. And Puff did it too when he lost Biggie he came out with that record with Sting. But, this particular record T.R.O.Y is a hip-hop staple. Like, you’re gonna find too many better records than that in the culture.
One of the all-time greatest producers…
Yes for sure, and he’s still brilliant. He just did something with Jay and Kanye on the Watch The Throne album. He’s phenomenal.
Now you were on the 2011 BET Hip-Hop Awards baby, performing on stage. Yeah I was the surprise guest.
I think I closed the show. Did I close the show?
Yea I think the show was over when you finished.
Yeah, either way I closed the show.
Yea, even if you were the opening act
They’re still repairing the building in fact. That was my first televised performance, I think in like 15 years.
How did it feel man?
It was nerve racking, I ain’t gonna lie. It’s not like riding a bike–let’s just put it like that. I was in rehearsals for 6 weeks, 8 hours a day. But, we were always a rehearsal heavy group, no pun intended. We always took a lot of pride in our stage show, so when they asked me to do it I was like I need 6 weeks or I’m not doing it. Cause I knew I hadn’t done it in awhile. Fatimah Robertson, who’s one of my long-time friends, and one of the top choreographers in the country (and probably in any country) she had the time to do it, so we just went in and did it.
And, what was it like learning those steps, and those shapes and moves?
Prior to it not so bad, but the day after it felt like I was in a football game with boxers.
Yea man, it’s rough.
Well you nailed it.
Yea, that’s what the six weeks is for. You give me time to prepare I’m gonna nail it.
And how nerve racking?
Like almost vomiting. I’m that guy where you can’t touch me, don’t talk to me 5 minutes before, just get away from me. I get very irritable. But I care about it so much. That’s what it is I care about it so much. I don’t like letting people down. The response was over whelming. It was trending on Twitter for like three days after it. I was trending over here for like a hot second. The people appreciated it.
Yeah, it was enormous man. You still do a lot of production now don’t you? Who have you been producing for?
Well, probably a couple of notables you would know…I don’t know how heavy it was out here but the Jay-Z – “Guns and Roses” record with Lenny Kravitz, “Feel It In The Air,” Carl Thomas “Summer rain.” Producing is fun. That’s the one thing, it’s always fun because the pressure of delivering after the actual track is not on me. It’s on the artist.
I remember calling Jay-Z, I knew he was in L.A and I thought, “ohh, Jay’s coming out here, he’s working on his new album, let me cook something up.” So I made the record the day he got to L.A. and I found the hotel he was in and I called him and was like “yo, I’m coming to play you something” and he was like “come on man, I’m sleeping,” and I was like, “I’m coming over there right now. Meet me down stairs in five minutes.” I lived around the corner from where the hotel was in Beverly Hills. I got down there, he came in the car and he heard it and he was just like, “yo, just drive, just drive, just drive” and he was writing it as we were in the car and that was it. He wrote it and we started talking about who to put on it and said Lenny Kravitz and I flew to Miami and put Lenny on it. Great record.
Now your Jamaican by decent?
No, I was born there.
Now. Born in Jamaica, what part was it?
I was born in Mandeville. My mother’s family is from Saint Elizabeth and then my father’s family is from Mandeville. A lot of early hip-hop was by the DJs, from Jamaican sound systems.
Well, the birth of hip-hop (in my opinion and it’s factual) is that it’s from Jamaica. Cool Herc, who is Jamaican, is considered the godfather of hip-hop and the concept of two turntables and a microphone is what they have been doing in Jamaica forever. When Herc moved to the Bronx, he brought the culture with him and the American culture, the American Urban culture made it their own. But the idea of having two turn tables and a microphone with a DJ chanting as they would call it…
Toasting, that’s Jamaica.
All Jamaican, okay.
Yeah, but isn’t that interesting how it started on the island, then it came to New York. New York, only in the Bronx specifically and the only reason I got a hold of it was cause I grew up in Mount Vernon, which is less than a stone’s throw, literally take a step. You don’t have to take a cab or anything to get to the Bronx. You could walk and that’s why I got it early and you know from the time I was eight I was writing and listening to these Afrika Bambaataa and a lot of these other cats. So, you know Jamaicans are responsible for a lot in the world. So *speaks Jamaican* you heard me?
I didn’t quite catch that last part.
[laughs] I said I love everybody.