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Hall of Fame: Heavy D


Heavy D & The Boyz were the first act signed to Andre Harrell’s Uptown/MCA Records in New York City. Heavy D’s first album Livin Large dropped in 1987, but it was 1988’s platinum selling Big Tyme that really set things off for the “overweight lover.” With production by Teddy Riley, songs like “We Got Our Own Thing,” and the Al. B. Sure! laced “Somebody For Me” were all the rage in the clubs and at HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities). Heavy D’s stage presence was magnetic – the ‘Boyz’ consisted of dancers Trouble T-Roy and G-Whiz, along with DJ Eddie F. In 1990, Trouble T-Roy passed away in a tragic afterparty accident.

In 1991, Heavy D and The Boyz released Peaceful Journey their third LP (which went platinum) dedicated especially to the memory of Trouble T-Roy. Featuring the hits “Now That We Found Love,” “Is It Good To You,” “Don’t Curse,” and the title track, this album served as an appropriate end to the positive spirit of the New Jack Era.

As the years wore on, Heavy D acquired a harder sound on 1993’s Blue Funk. By 1994, Heavy scored his last major hit in the form of “Nuttin’ But Love," from the group’s final album of the same name. Comedian Chris Tucker made an early appearance in the video, along with a bevy of models. In 1995, Heavy D started acting, and as president of Uptown Records signed (Andre Harrell had left for Motown), groomed and released Soul for Real’s Candy Rain. In 1996 he released a solo album, left his post at Uptown to focus on acting and performing (the label folded shortly afterwards).

Heavy D has been seen in a variety of productions on film, television and stage such as Riff Raff (written and directed by Lawrence Fishburne), The Cider House Rules, and on Fox-TV's Boston Public as a high school counselor named Big Boy.

Heavy D recorded two more albums (Vibes - 2008, Love Opus - 2011) and appeared in the 2011 Eddie Murphy/Ben Stiller film Tower Heist before passing away on November 8th, 2011.

Heavy D should be remembered as one of the key players of the New Jack Era. He was in fact the reason Uptown Records was created in the first place by Andre Harrell, after not getting signed to Def Jam. We at NJS4Ever salute this artist for playing such a key role in the history of New Jack Swing and Hip-Hop/Soul music.

 

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