With his laid-back flow, playful grooves and ever-enjoyable verse, Heavy D leaves behind a sweet legacy.
Some of his best loved songs saw him having confident fun with his girth, including jams like “The Overweight Lover’s In The House” and his twist on the ’70s hit “Mr. Big Stuff.”
From the start, Heavy — born Dwight Arrington Myers — stressed rap’s roots as party music. Countering the harder, darker hip-hop trends of the late ’80s and early ’90s, Heavy made lightness a virtue.
But he was no clown. His musical flow had its own striking rhythm, and his verse showed serious attention to the craft of being clever.
Born in Jamaica, Queens, Heavy formed his key group Heavy D and the Boyz at the height of the new jack swing, R&B trend of the ’80s.
Their 1987 debut, “Living Large,” made them cult stars. But its follow-up, ’89’s “Big Tyme,” became a smash, studded with no fewer than four hits.
After the death of Trouble T. Roy, at age 22, the group saluted him on their next album, 1991’s “Peaceful Journey,” which went platinum.
Heavy D also made history by singing the theme song for the breakthrough African-American comedy show “In Living Color.”
As the ’90s went on, Heavy D enjoyed less success as a rapper, but made up for it with acting. He performed a surprising variety of parts on TV shows like Boston Public and the Tracy Morgan show, as well as in films like “The Cider House Rules” and “Big Trouble.”
To prove the rap community’s affection for him, several emcees playfully alluded to Heavy in song, including the Notorious B.I.G., with “Juicy,” and the cult rapper R.A. The Rugged Man in “Da Girls They Love Me.”
Just last month, Heavy turned up on the BET Hip-Hop Awards, his first live appearance in 15 years. He also put out a new album this year, “Love Opus.”
But Heavy had his biggest impact with his songs in the late ’80s and early ’90s, the best of which pushed hip-hop’s joyous side.