Rest in Peace Heavy D-A True Renaissance Man for Hip Hop
By Davey D
Needless to say this has been a tough week.. I don’t care what anyone says or how hard they act death takes a toll especially when its unexpected..That’s been the case all this week as we lost 3 iconic figures.. and while I understand that commentator Andy Rooney, boxing great Joe Frazier and golden era rap star Heavy D weren’t family members or folks in our immediate circles, they were important backdrops to our world.. For many they help define it. Their deaths can’t easily be shook, nor should they be.
Heavy D was a big part of Hip Hop. He helped shape it… Prior to Heavy D overweight men both in Hip Hop and the world in general for the most part were depicted as cartoonish..I think back to the days of the Fat Boys and recall when they first came out in the mid 80s it was all about them being comedic.
Heavy D flipped the script redefined what being big meant.. He made the big man sexy.. He made the big man fashionable.. He made the big man someone who can get on stage and dance with the best of them…Say what you will, but Heavy laid the ground work for artists like Biggie and Big Pun to bless the mic while being large and in charge while having much flava.
He did a song w/ which I think was the only in studio collabo w/ the late 2Pac and Notorious BIG called Let’s get It On..
Also as was pointed out by the tribute to Heavy D penned by AllHipHop, Heavy was the first to feature Biggie in a 1993 classic cut called A Bunch of Niggas.
Heavy was one of the first rappers to ever spit verses with the King of Pop Michael Jackson on his song Jam
Heavy opened doors on the acting tip being one of the first rappers outside of Fresh Prince (Will Smith) to have recurring role on a TV show..Him and Tone Loc were featured in the series Roc back in the early 90s..Later Heavy would have a recurring role in the TV series headed up by Queen Latifah called ‘Living Single‘. of course all of Heavy D’s acting opportunities came in the wake of him doing the theme song for the hit variety show In Living Color…
Some note that Heavy D and his crew helped bring serious shine to a new fledging Coca Cola clothing line when they wore it in their debut video Mr Big Stuff. As was noted in this article HERE
The Murjani family who were the licensee of Coca-Cola apparel at this time, should really thank Heavy D & The Boyz for this free commercial and Product Placement spot. During the Golden era of hip-Hop this song and video helped mold the image of streetwear fashion of the time as well as helped propel Coca-Coal apparel to a $250 million dollar company.
What a lot of people didn’t know was the head men’s wear designer for the apparel licensee was a young man by the name of Tommy Hilfiger. After the brand dissolved due to poor management, brand quality control and the families rumored exuberant lifestyle. Tommy went to start his own brand named after his self a year later in 1988. Now the rest is history.
In his sudden passing,which reports are saying was due to respiratory failure, I think folks will rediscover his catalogue and have new appreciation for his body of work and him as a performer. We listed some of our favorite cuts and videos below..
In closing the few times I met Heavy D he was a cool dude..Very humble, smart and peaceful. I recall back in 89 how many of us in the Bay Area got upset with him because of a huge riot that broke out at a concert at the Oakland Coliseum…
Heavy D was opening for MC Hammer and he refused to perform until the they dimmed the lights. After some back and forth with him again stressing his refusal to perform, about 30 cats rushed the stage and started what would wound up being one of the worse concert fights in Bay Area history..It was total mayhem that lasted more than hour. When all was said and done, folks were mad at Heavy D and blamed hi for the drama..
It was an incident he was deeply sorry for. He later noted that he wanted to give the fans a good show and thought the sound people were trying to short change the audience. He was attempting to side with the people and had no idea that the lights were kept on to weed out trouble makers..
Seeing him evolve over the years as an actor and performer has been a gift for all of us in Hip Hop..
May Heavy D Rest in Power.