In Memoriam: Heavy D

By Arturo R. García

No doubt we all thought this at one point yesterday: Heavy D is gone? But he just came back!

Hev – born Dwight Errington Myers in Mount Vernon, N.Y. – died Tuesday at the shockingly young age of 44. Unlike Joe Frazier, the rapper/actor had not been reported as suffering from any illness; in fact, he tweeted his condolences for the boxer:

At the time of his death, Heavy had seemingly only begun to step back into the public eye: last month he appeared at both a Michael Jackson tribute show in Wales and at the BET Music Awards, and moviegoers saw him in the new Eddie Murphy film Tower Heist. A video of what would turn out to be his final interview, with Tim Westwood, went online just yesterday.

That interview now stands as a summation of his career arc: growing up as an artist in New York’s hip-hop community; the origin of the classic “TROY (They Reminisce Over You);” and his “nerve-wracking” comeback, cut off way too soon.

During his career, Hev was able to gather a group of rap heavyweights and get them to do their thing without cursing; he teamed up with both Michael and Janet Jackson; he was a father and the president of a music label; he was witty and ribald without being crass; and as he told Westwood, he put in weeks’ worth of rehearsal for his BET performance because he cared. That love for the music was always evident, and that might be what fans will miss the most.

  • Anonymous

    I was happy to see a video and tribute to Heavy D on the website of Fullmember, a Japanese Hip Hop group:

    ご冥福を祈ります (I pray for his soul)

  • Author James W. Lewis

    One of the true pioneers of the old school. RIP

  • distance88

    I was always partial to “You Can’t See What I Can See”.  RIP

  • bejewelle

    You were a class act, Heavy. A great when rap was fresh, funky and fun. RIP, big man.

  • k.eli

    Watching that video makes me miss old-school rap where there was no need for parental advisory stickers or bleeped-out performances; where the women in the videos actually danced – with clothes on. Unfortunately, being a child of the 90’s, most of the rap music that was in vogue during my formative years was the exploitative nonsense that we have today.

  • jen*

    I always loved Heavy D.  He was decent, which is more than can be said for a lot of entertainers.  I haven’t watched Tower Heist yet, but I saw him on the BET Awards this summer and was reminded of his greatness.  His work is a very stark contrast to what is currently hot in the streets (Wayne, et al.).

    My brain has his music playing on repeat in my head.  I suppose Now That We Found Love is a fitting tribute…

  • jen*

    I always loved Heavy D. 

  • Anonymous

    Arturro, thanks for putting this out there. I grew up listening to Hev, I still remember being a kid discovering what it was like to date, grateful for some guidance from “Somebody for me”. Those summer months spent listening to Is it good to you, Bag of blue funk and of course, Peaceful Journey. I was so excited to see him in Tower Heist and looking forward to seeing more of him.

    RIP Heavy D. You left a mark on our lives.

  • Anonymous

    R.I.P. Heavy, truly a nice man.

  • Mickey

    OMG! Heavy D was one of my favorite rappers! I grew up listening to his music. RIP, Heavy.