There will never be another
When the Mount Vernon, New York, MC debuted in 1987 as part of the group
Heavy was also a noted dancer and paired each of his hits with well-choreographed steps. It's difficult to imagine where the likes of Soulja Boy and Cali Swag District would be without Heavy D's contributions.
On November 8, Heavy D left us, but his music will live on forever. For the unfamiliar, MTV News has put together an essential playlist, while at the same time giving the MC's longtime fans something to remember him by. It doesn't matter if you've been rocking with Heavy D since his 1987 debut or with his more recent foray into reggae and dancehall: Let's all collectively gather around the iPod and wish Dwight "Heavy D" Myers a Peaceful Journey!
"The Overweight Lover's in the House"
The big man sure knew how to make an entrance. Along with his group the Boyz, Heavy D made his presence known with "The Overweight Lover's in the House" from the group's debut album, Living Large. "See the weight that I am, is a big lover man/ Check out the rhyme, in due time you'll be a Heav D fan," he rapped — and boy was he right.
"Mr. Big Stuff"
Back when many still considered hip-hop to be mere noise, Heavy D made older skeptics take notice when he sampled Jean Knight's 1971 hit Stax single "Mr. Big Stuff." Keeping much of the song's original melody, Heav rhymed over a bombastic drum track and put his big-man pride on full display.
"Somebody for Me"
In 1989, Heavy D & the Boyz scored their first platinum plaque with their sophomore album, Big Tyme. The album had a number of hits, like "We Got Our Own Thang" and "Gyrlz, They Love Me," but none bigger than the New Jack Swing-inspired "Somebody for Me." In the track's video, Heav also cleaned up his act and ditched the track jacket and sneakers for a well-tailored suit and hard-bottom shoes. Good choice!
"Now That We Found Love"
Heavy had a gang of hits, but 1991's "Now That We Found Love" is among his biggest. With '90s R&B singer Aaron Hall on the hook and Teddy Riley on the beat, Heavy D & the Boyz kept clubs pumping with their popular dance hit. Through his music, Heav also kept things positive. Judging from this infectious groove, it was nearly impossible to tell that the rapper was mourning the death of group member Trouble T Roy, who had tragically passed a year before the song's release.
"Don't Curse" (featuring Big Daddy Kane, Grand Puba, Kool G Rap, Q-Tip and CL Smooth)
Because most of his catalog revolved around lovey-dovey dance hits, some hardcore rap purists refused to give Heavy his props, but when Mr. Big Stuff gathered noted MCs Big Daddy Kane, Grand Puba, Kool G Rap, Q-Tip and CL Smooth for 1991's "Don't Curse," even the haters had to give it up.
Soul for Real's "Candy Rain" remix
This R&B quartet didn't have many hits, but their 1995 single "Candy Rain" was all the band needed to cement their place in popular music. And who did they call for the song's remix? Heavy Diddly, Diddly, Diddly D, of course.
"Nuttin' But Love"
Heavy D & the Boyz snatched up a third platinum plaque with their 1994 album, Nuttin' But Love. The LP's title track, produced by DJ Kid Capri, was a crowd favorite. On the song, Heav professed his affection for his doubting lover. Want a real 1990s flashback? Check the video for a cameo from Rebecca Gayheart, a.k.a. "the Noxzema girl."
Michael Jackson's "Jam"
It's one thing to do records with rappers like Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap, but when the King of Pop comes calling, that's a whole different level. When Michael Jackson needed a spitter to compliment his Teddy Riley-produced smash "Jam," he tapped Heavy D. "Making funky jams with my man, Michael Jackson," the Overweight Lover rapped over the bouncy track. His man Michael Jackson — just let that soak in for a second.
Janet Jackson's "Alright" remix
There was no one more innovative than the King of Pop, but MJ wasn't the first Jackson to feature Heav. Before 1991's "Jam," sister Janet snagged the rapper for her 1990 remix of "Alright" from her Rhythm Nation album. Not only did he get to lay vocals alongside Janet, in the song's video, he co-starred with the legendary Cab Calloway.
Eddie F's "Let's Get It On" (featuring Heavy D, 2Pac, the Notorious B.I.G. and Grand Puba)
This 1994 underground track usually goes unnoticed, but it's an important footnote in rap history. Before their famous feud and untimely deaths, the Notorious B.I.G. and 2Pac collaborated with Grand Puba and Heavy D on this Eddie F-produced track. It is the only known in-studio collaboration between the legendary rappers, and Heavy D was there for it all, trading bars with Big and 'Pac.
"No Matter What"
There is no doubt, Heavy D was a hip-hop soul through and through, but the Jamaican star returned to his roots when he reinvented himself as a reggae artist on the 2008 album Vibes. The music may have changed, but Heav still crooned about love and overall good vibes.