Reflecting on Heavy D

The overweight lover gave hip hop’s edge a heart.

Posted: 11/09/2011 12:00 AM EST

With the death of rap icon Heavy D, hip hop lost a trailblazer who defied what folks expected of the genre and its superstars. Being hip hop’s first corpulent solo rap superstar, Heavy (born Dwight Myer) had talent that equally matched the novelty of his size, enough to help launch Andre Harrell’s Uptown Records in 1986 with the release of Heavy D & The Boyz’s debut hit single “Mr. Big Stuff.” 

 

But also driving Heavy’s success was his ability to maintain a fun, clean-cut respectability that garnered respect from both hardcore hip hop fans and grandmothers alike. It was that universality in his music and image that allowed him to cross his talents over to film and television. After writing (and performing) the theme song for the ground-breaking sketch comedy series In Living Color, Heavy—like many rappers in the early '90s—parlayed his hip hop stardom into acting roles on the small and big screen. His first major role came when he was cast as a regular on the hit TV series Roc.

 

Yet, most notably, for those paying attention in 1993, Heavy would also play a pivotal role in the continuum of overweight rap superstars changing the face of hip hop when his LP Blue Funk debuted an up-and-coming Notorious B.I.G. (the song “A Buncha N***as”).

Which of Heavy D’s hip hop contributions do you remember most?

 

(Photo: PARAS GRIFFIN/Landov)

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