Dwight Errington Myers (May 24, 1967 - November 8, 2011), better known as the "Overweight Lover" Heavy D, was one of the earliest breakthrough artists of the New Jack Swing era, and a staple of hip-hop's "Golden Age".
Born in Mandeville, Jamaica, Myers and his family moved to Mount Vernon, New York in the 1970s, where he was raised for the majority of his life. Sometime during the eighties, Myers formed the rap group "Heavy D & The Boyz," With friends Glenn "G-Whiz" Parrish, the late Troy "Trouble T. Roy" Dixion, and Edward "Eddie F" Ferrell.
Around 1987, the then-new Uptown division of MCA Records signed Myers and his group to their label. Backed by production from group member Eddie F, Marley Marl, and a then-unknown Teddy Riley, the group released their first album Living Large, which cemented his Casanova persona as the "Overweight Lover". Despite not being an initial commercial success, It helped pave the way for the their second album Big Tyme, which hit the top twenty of the Billboard 200, and spawned multiple top ten R&B and rap hits. The success of the album led to Myers being featured on Janet Jackson's "Alright" (Which would be his biggest hit on Billboard's "Hot 100", peaking at number four), As well as her brother Michael's single "Jam". Around 1990, Myers and Eddie F were tapped to record the theme song to the sketch show In Living Color! (and it's eventual spiritual successor, Mad TV). However, 1990 soon became a very sombre year for the group.
On July 15, 1990, after coming out of a successful live show, Myers and the Boyz were goofing around on a parking structure outside the arena. According to Myers, a friend of the crew rolled down a plastic garbage dumpster towards the crew as a prank. The group, not realizing the dumpster was plastic, jumped out the way. Tragically, T-Roy had jumped onto the wall of the ramp and lost his balance, and died due to head injuries from the resulting two-story fall. The group's next album, Peaceful Journey, would be dedicated to T-Roy, as well as the hip hop classic, "They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)", by Myers' own cousin, Pete Rock.
The year 1993 saw a markedly different sound come from the group. Dropping Teddy Riley and Marley Marl from production duties, Myers released Blue Funk. Moving away the New Jack Swing sound almost entirely, Producers DJ Premier (of Gang Starr), Tony Dofat, Pete Rock, and Jesse West, brought in a more streetwise sound for Myers. Blue Funk is also notable for featuring the solo debuts of Busta Rhymes and Myers' former labelmate, The Notorious B.I.G.note However, the shift from his well-known radio friendly persona caused Blue Funk to be his first album since Living Large not to go Platinum. Around this time, Myers started dabbling in acting, appearing on various television shows and off-Broadway plays.
1994 and onwards saw several changes for Myers. Alongside him and the Boyz releasing their fifth album Nuttin' But Love, a return to their radio friendly stylings, He had become the mentor of the R&B group Soul for Real, contributing to their hit single "Candy Rain." A year later, he was made the President of Uptown Records, making him the first rapper to be the head of a major label. In between all of this, Myers and the Boyz mutually disbanded. 1997 saw the start of Heavy D's solo career. Despite no longer having Teddy Riley or the Boyz in his corner, Myers managed to go Platinum again with the release of Waterbed Hev, with guest spots from the Lost Boyz, Soul for Real, and Tha Dogg Pound. He also collaborated with legendary blues musician B.B. King on the latter's album Deuces Wild, rapping on the track "Keep It Coming".
In 1999, the same year as the release of his album Heavy, he appeared in the film adaptation of The Cider House Rules as Peaches. Unfortunately, not only did Heavy turn out to be Myers' worst selling album, barely managing to go Gold, Both MCA and Uptown Records were absorbed into Universal Records, with Uptown remaining inactive to this day. The higher ups at Universal did not forget about Myers, however, and made him the senior Vice President of the main Universal label.
in 2008, nearly 10 years after his final release for Universal, Myers released Vibes, a straight reggae album with no rapping that helped re-establish his music career. 2011 also saw the continuation of his career's resurgence. He released his ninth album Love Opus in September of that year, and reunited on stage with Eddie F at the BET Awards in October, their first live televised performance together in over fifteen years. It would also turn out to be Myers' last. A month later, after returning from a UK Michael Jackson tribute performance, Myers unexpectedly died due to an undetected blood clot in his lungs.
Myers continues to be remembered as one of the few rappers who was considered a legitimate Big Good in the music industry.
With "the Boyz":
- Living Large (1987)
- Big Tyme (1989, last album to feature Trouble T-Roy before his death)
- Peaceful Journey (1991)
- Blue Funk (1992, a New Sound Album notable for spring-boarding Busta Rhymes and The Notorious B.I.G. into the mainstream)
- Nuttin' But Love (1994)
- Candy Rain (1995, and technically Soul for Real's debut album. However, Myers and the group were the main writers and producers for the album, and performed on the title track)
- Waterbed Hev (1997)
- Heavy (1999)
- Vibes (2008, another New Sound Album, this time with reggae)
- Love Opus (2011, released nearly two months before his death)
Notable singles and songs:
- The Overweight Lover's in the House
- Mr. Big Stuff
- Don't You Know (Featuring Al B. Sure!)
- We Got Our Own Thang
- Big Tyme
- Somebody For Me (Featuring Al. B Sure! and Tevin Campbell)
- Just Coolin' (With LeVert)
- Alright (With Janet Jackson, his highest Billboard charting single)
- Self Destruction (A posse cut featuring KRS-One, Kool Moe Dee, Public Enemy, and other east coast legends to support the "Stop The Violence" movement)
- Both of In Living Color!'s themes (Officially known as "In Living Color" and "Cause That's the Way You're Livin', When You're In Living Color"), and the Mad TV theme.
- Is It Good To You (Was remixed by Teddy Riley and Tammy Lucas, their version was featured in the film Juice)
- Now That We Found Love (His highest charting solo single on the Hot 100 at #11)
- Do Me Right (with Guy)
- Jam (With Michael Jackson)
- My Love (With Mary J. Blige, only appears on the remix)
- Who's The Man?
- A Buncha Niggas (Notable for being the debut of The Notorious B.I.G., as well as launching Busta Rhymes' solo career)
- Jam Session (Also featuring the Notorious B.I.G., recorded for the NBA Jam Session compilation)
- Let's Get It On (With Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G., Grand Puba and Spunk Bigga. Also the only time Hev collaborated with 2Pac during the latter's lifetime)
- This Is Your Night (Last song produced by Teddy Riley)
- Black Coffee
- Nuttin' But Love
- Got Me Waiting
- Sex Wit You
- Waterbed Hev (First single without "The Boyz")
- Keep it Coming (Two versions were recorded: One with B.B. King for his album Deuces Wild, and an alternative version with only Heavy for Waterbed Hev)
- I'll Do Anything
- Big Daddy
- Don't Stop
- On Point (With Big Pun and 8-Ball)
- Private Dancer
- Chasing Windmills
- Love In a Bottle
- Valentine 2/14
- Put It All On Me
The overweight tropes are in the house!
- Acrofatic: The man was 6'3" and weighed over 300 pounds at his peak, and could hang with the best New Jack Swing dancers out there.
- Big Beautiful Man: Was considered one during his lifetime, thanks to songs like "The Overweight Lovers In the House" and "Gyrlz, They Love Me".
- Big Fun: Not only hip hop's codifier, he was also the...
- Big Good: Myers was noted for his "heart of gold", as MC Hammer put it. Even during the heated East/West coast feud, he was one of the few rappers that got respect from both sides, due to his reputation as a Nice Guy.
- The Big Guy: One of hip hop's most well known, debuting after the Fat Boys, but predating The Notorious B.I.G. and Big Pun. Interestingly, while he milked this trope on his first album, Myers, by his own admission, gradually began to downplay it from Big Tyme onward, as he was keenly aware he'd quickly become a novelty if that became his sole defining trait.
- Boastful Rap: Aside from the ones that flaunt his status as the "Overweight Lover" (and there's many), Two of his best examples is "We Got Our Own Thang" and "Big Tyme".
- Bowdlerize: Mockingly discussed in "Don't Curse".
- The Cameo: What most of his acting roles usually consisted of, as he usually played minor characters.
- The Charmer: He has strong shades of being a full out Casanova in his songs. The only thing that stopped him is the fact that several of his songs have him looking for (or being in) a true relationship, or attempting to avoid breaking hearts.
- Conscious Hip Hop: He occasionally veered into this territory.
- Cut Song: "I Got Love For Ya". Despite getting a promotional single release, and being advertised for the Nuttin' But Love album, it never appeared on the album for unknown reasons.
- Darker and Edgier: While not dark, Blue Funk is undoubtedly his hardest album, showing he could cross over between the R&B and hardcore hip hop crowds with ease.
- Expy: A very odd example. While he came long after the Trope-making Fat Boys, Myers was the first "big" rapper to successfully create a convincing Casanova persona for himself. Prince Markie Dee, after splitting from the Fat Boys, attempted to do the same in 1992, making himself a virtual carbon copy of Myers in the process with his solo album Free. The fact that their voices sound almost the same did not help him at all.
- Gold Digger: "Nuttin' But Love" is all about this, and how Heavy D prevents her from taking advantage of him.So leave it up to me, I'll close the whole damn store on ya
I got nuttin' but love for ya.
- Grief Song: The title track of Peaceful Journey was written to grieve Hev's late friend and bandmate Troy Dixon, who died from a fall a year prior the song's release.
- The Mentor: Was one to the boy-band Soul for Real.
- New Jack Swing: One of its architects on the hip hop end of the spectrum, alongside Wrecks-N-Effect and Kool Moe Dee.
- New Sound Album: Two of them. Blue Funk saw him dropping New Jack Swing in favor of hardcore hip hop, while Vibes dropped rap altogether for reggae.
- Overly Narrow Superlative: Heavy D and his bandmate/producer Eddie F were two of the four major rap acts and producers, respectively, to have worked with both Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. during their lifetimes, the others being Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and Easy Mo Bee.
- Pep-Talk Song: "Sister, Sister".
- Reggae: The Heavster was doing reggae songs on his album as far back as Big Tyme, and released his only reggae album Vibes in 2008.
- Theme Tune Rap: For both In Living Color! and Mad TV.
- A Wild Rapper Appears!: Being a New Jack Swing artist, this was inevitable. He's done verses for several singers over his career, though his arguably most well known is the verse from Michael Jackson's "Jam".