5 Best Songs from Heavy D & The Boyz’s ‘Living Large’
New York City's five boroughs may get most of the attention when it comes to the state's reputation as a mecca for rap, there are a number of enclaves beyond the city limits that have also had an immense impact on hip-hop, one of them being Mount Vernon. Located north of The Bronx, Mount Vernon has produced a number of legends, including Diddy, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, and others, but the first act to truly to put the area on the map was Heavy D & The Boyz, one of rap's first crossover acts with the ability to make their presence known on the Billboard charts without sacrificing their street cred in the process. Comprised of frontman Heavy D, DJ/Producer Eddie F, and dancers G-Whiz and "Trouble" T. Roy, Heavy D & The Boyz would be the first act to sign to Andre Harrell's Uptown Records, which would help revolutionize hip-hop and r&b, merging the two to create sub-genres like New Jack Swing and Hip-Hop Soul.
Heavy D & The Boyz would be among the first acts in rap to utilize this formula, meshing Heavy D's rhymes with melodic backdrops and vocalists while balancing it up with rugged percussive ditties, as the group did on their debut album, Living Large, a project that would make Uptown, Mount Vernon, and Heavy D major players in the rap game. Boasting a production lineup that included Marley Marl, Teddy Riley, Eddie F, Living Large was one of the hottest rap releases of 1987, and marked the arrival of Heavy D, who would emerge as one of the first unconventional sex symbols in rap, a distinction he would keep throughout his career and up until his death in 2011.
Thirty years after its release, The Boombox takes a stroll down memory lane and highlights five of the songs from Living Large that best stand the test of time. R.I.P. Heavy D and Trouble T. Roy.
While Eddie F and Teddy Riley helm most of the production on Living Large, "Mr. Big Stuff (Remix)" is one cut from the album that contains a beat that was outsourced. However, Juice Crew boardsman Marley Marl rose to the occasion with a percussion heavy number that Heavy D would transform into one of the album's more popular selections.
Heavy D & The Boyz put on for their hometown of Mount Vernon, New York on the Living Large standout "Moneyearnin' Mount Vernon," a Eddie F and Teddy Riley co-produced cut that one of the more street-wise cuts on Living Large. "Delighted you'll be learnin/About the place where I rest, Moneyearnin' Mount Vernon," Heavy D raps, before giving listeners a tour of his stomping grounds while simultaneously putting Mount Vernon on the rap map.
"I'm gettin' cash every show, cause I'm a Hip Hop pro/Five hundred thousand of my records, will sell and go gold," Heavy D boasts on "I'm Getting Paid," a boisterous salvo from the Mount Vernon rep's debut, Living Large. Produced by Teddy Riley, "I'm Getting Paid" takes inspiration from the aspirational lifestyle and contains one of the more riveting rhyme spills on the part of the Heavy one.
One of the more melodic tunes on Heavy D & The Boyz's debut album is "Dedicated," which finds Heavy D taking backstabbing lovers to task. Produced by Teddy Riley, who provides groovy synths and frenetic drum programming, "Dedicate" is a cautionary, yet lighthearted tale.
As soon as the drum patterns and the triumphant horns mark Heavy D's arrival on "The Overweight Lover's In The House," you get the feeling that you're in store for something special. The introductory selection on Living Large, "The Overweight Lover's In The House" was the antithesis of the self-depricating raps of the Fat Boys, instead positioning the Mount Vernon native as a suave ladies man. Produced by Marly Marl, "The Overweight Lover's In The House" is symbolic of Heavy D's genesis as a rap star, and a certified old school jam that has only gotten finer with time.