Happy Birthday, Heavy D!
Heavy D was one of the most beloved rappers in hip-hop. The late rhymer born Dwight Myers would've turned 50 years old today (May 24).
Known for high energy performances and radio-friendly rap hits, Heavy D & the Boyz (dancers Trouble T-Roy and G-Whiz, and DJ Eddie F) was one of the 80s and 90s most consistently charting hip-hop acts. Beginning with their debut Living Large in 1987, Heavy D & the Boyz would be embraced for memorable party jams like "Mr. Big Stuff" and "The Overweight Lover's in the House" and landed hits with superproducer Teddy Riley.
Working with artists like Riley, as well as Al B. Sure!, Heavy was among a few hip-hop artists who successfully embraced New Jack Swing. The group's multiplatinum 1989 effort Big Tyme would be a major hit, with chart-topping singles "We Got Our Own Thang" and "Somebody For Me."
Heavy D & the Boyz experienced a major tragedy in 1990, when dancer Troy "Trouble T-Roy" Dixon died after a fall on tour. The loss of T-Roy inspired their platinum-selling album Peaceful Journey, which spawned the pop hit "Now That We Found Love," which peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. They would release the multiplatinum Nuttin' But Love in 1994.
The group is also widely known for performing the opening song for FOX's hit 90s sketch comedy show In Living Color.
Heavy D also garnered success as a featured artist. He would frequently be featured on hits from R&B and pop acts like Guy's "Do Me Right," Janet Jackson's "Alright" (Remix) and Michael Jackson's "Jam."
Heavy would also break into acting, appearing in movies like Who's the Man? and Life, as well as on TV shows like Boston Public and The Tracy Morgan Show. During his stint as head of Uptown Records, he guided the careers of R&B stars like Soul IV Real and Monifah and handled production work on their albums--and later on, projects for other superstars like Jay Z.
In 2011, Heavy D and Eddie F linked up again at the BET Hip-Hop Awards. Sadly, it would be his last performance. Heavy D died of a pulmonary embolism on Dec. 27, 2011.
Although he's gone, Heavy D has left us with a great catalog of feel-good music and is one of hip-hop's most widely beloved legends. May he rest eternally in peace.
Watch Heavy D in Guy's "Do Me Right" Video