MAN! Didn’t I just see you in the movie “Tower Heist” this past weekend? I hate when things like this happen.. In the midst of a serious career resurgence, Heavy D suddenly died at the age of 44. We were just reminded a mere month ago of who the FK heavy D really was, with a surprise closeout performance at the BET Music Awards, and now he’s gone. I wasn’t going to write today, but in my opinion every Hip-Hop/Reggae blog is required to do some sort of Heavy D tribute. He was just that talented.
I kept Heavy D’s early work (late 80s) on constant rewind. By the 90′s Heavy D was virtually ubiquitous. He wasn’t my favorite artist then, but he had a knack for appearing with everyone’s favorites, namely Michael Jackson (while Michael was still at his peak). Heav only got 8 bars in the song “JAM”, but it was the one with Michael JORDAN trying to dance in the video. For the day that would generate MEGA impressions. The theme for “In Living Color”, pretty much the top TV show of the era, was a song written exclusively by none other than “Waterbed Heav”.
JAM With Michael Jackson
Of all Heavy D projects, the one that stuck with me the most is when he revealed his Jamaican-born heritage (I didn’t know back then) and collaborated with my favorite Reggae artist, Supercat. That helped bring Dancehall to the MTV audience in a way that was ultimately more approachable than other Hip-Hop / Reggae collaborations. KRS and Shabba, or the Wu-Tang and Bounty connections were great, but they lacked the fun and lightheartedness. Heavy was not afraid to let Supercat outshine him in the Reggae arena, and used his mainstream connections to push the project over the top.
Heavy D & Supercat. Star Studded MTV Interview
Heavy D’s overall image was approachable, so much so that you didn’t realize he was a superstar, even as he collaborated with Michael and Janet. Not worried about being the brunt of overweight jokes from the first day he made his mark as “The Overweight Lover”; with my early favorites being that one and “Mr Big Stuff”. He never really used profanity in his raps, and directed his attention more to the ladies and the dance floor. He was also one of the best dancers of the day.
Heavy’s popularity waned somewhat as Hip-Hop took a more Gangsta turn in the late 90s. Under pressure from record execs to make more Gangsta music, he instead chose to bow out gracefully; making successful cameo returns here and there as a producer, or actor.
Jay-Z And Lenny Kravitz – Guns & Roses – Produced By Heavy D “You Bastards!”
That one meant a lot to me because it was so wicked, and it seemed like a big Middle Finger to the industry that dared brand him passe’. Heavy D’s last albums would be independent releases “Vibes” a 2008 Reggae Album and “Love Opus”, which was just released a month ago.