Heavy D has always been lauded as a pioneer among “big men” in the rap industry, but his impact and influence went far beyond his own career pursuits over the past 25 years. He was a triple threat – an artist, producer, and actor – who rubbed elbows with some of the best, and sometimes unlikely, names in the business.
As the Hip-Hop world pauses to mourn the loss of one of its heroes, AllHipHop.com takes a moment to examine five, little known facts about the late, great Heavy D:
1) BIGGIE’S LAUNCH PAD – Another “big man,” Brooklyn’s late Notorious B.I.G., made his first introduction to the rap world way back in 1993 on a Heavy D track entitled “Buncha N*ggas” from the album Blue Funk. The track also included verses from Busta Rhymes, Guru, Rob-O, and Third Eye.
Ironically, three of the six MCs on the track are now deceased.
2) DIDDY’S IMAGE-MAKER INSPIRATION – Sean Combs, a.k.a. Diddy, is said to have modeled Biggie’s image largely off of Heavy D’s fashionable influence from his Uptown Records days. Way before Biggie, the Mount Vernon native was the first of the big-statured MCs to embrace the luxurious, brand name life of Versace, Gucci, and others.
Recall how clean he and The Boyz always were every time they hit the stage? Check them on “The Arsenio Hall Show” in 1989:
3) BEANIE’S “EMO” MOMENT – Heavy D was responsible for launching the careers of several rap and R&B artists, including Soul 4 Real, Monifah, and legendary DJ/producer/cousin Pete Rock.
Even so-called gully MCs called on Heavy D for help – few realized back in 2004 that he was the producer for one of Philly rapper Beanie Sigel’s most prolific and respected tracks, “Feel It In The Air.”
4) JAMMING WITH THE KING – Michael Jackson, who only invited a handful of rappers to drop verses on his songs over the years, shared the booth with Heavy D on the hugely popular “Jam” in 1991. One of the first rap/R&B collaborators, just a year earlier, Heavy D collaborated with Jackson’s little sister Janet on “Alright.”
In another ironic death twist, Heavy D’s untimely death came just one day after a jury found Dr. Conrad Murray liable for the untimely death of Michael.
5) RAP’S MR. CLEAN – While other rappers such as Uncle Luke were pushing for freedom of speech in their lyrics, Heavy D – always the gentleman – was busy taking his own stand on the 1991 track “Don’t Curse.”
Proof positive that he was “the man” among other mega-rappers of the time, he even recruited Kool G Rap, Grand Puba, C.L. Smooth, Big Daddy Kane, Pete Rock, and Q-Tip to help promote his clean-mouthed lyricism on the song.
As Pete Rock underscored in his bars, “I can’t curse/’cause Heavy D said so…”
There are countless examples of how Heavy D left his good-natured, talented mark on Hip-Hop culture and the entertainment world. Truly, he was larger than life, and will be greatly missed. Share your own memories and little known facts below!
R.I.P. to the Overweight Lover!