New York, N.Y. -- Yesterday, November 8, at Los Angeles' Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, hip-hop legend
passed away at the age of 44. His death was reportedly due to respiratory problems.
A 25 year-plus veteran of the industry, the artist born Dwight Arrington Myers first hit the scene as frontman of Heavy D & the Boyz, debuting with
in '86 and rising to fame on the strength of 87's breakthrough sophomore set,
(featuring hits "We Got Our Own Thang", "Somebody for Me" and "Gyrlz, They Love Me"). In addition to releasing numerous numerous acclaimed albums both with his crew and on the solo tip, and collaborating with everyone from
to B.B. King, the self-proclaimed "overweight lover" has distinguished himself as a music producer and an actor in film and television, contributing boardwork to to projects by such notable artists as
and appearing in everything from
Law and Order: SVU
to Academy Award-nominated drama
The Cider House Rules
. Fresh off delivering what would be his final live performance at the 2011 BET Awards, Heavy D. can currently be seen in comedy
To commemorate Heavy D.'s life and work, we've asked some of our favorite artists to share their fondest memories of the hip-hop veteran below.
When I was a kid my mom would never let me buy Hip-Hop tapes, I remember getting caught with 2Pac's
Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.
tape and from that point on I couldn't have rap cassettes. So my only outlet was television, and I was a huge fan of
In Living Color
. It embodied everything that I loved, Hip-Hop, comedy and Rosie Perez. Haha. And I remember when I first saw Heavy D & The Boyz actually start off the show and my Mom walked by and pointed at the TV and said, "Now, that's REAL rap music!" Truthfully, I think she just said that cuz she loved Aaron Hall at the time and the "Now That We Found Love" joint was ALLLLLWAAAAAYS on the radio. I became a huge fan of Heavy D after that since I knew my Mom liked his music, so I was able to get all of his tapes. He was a fat dude, but stayed fresh as hell, and had respect from a lot of the other artists I liked such as 2Pac and Public Enemy, so I loved that he was just different. He's not only a Hip-Hop legend, Heavy D consistently made amazing MUSIC. Even fast forward to 2003, he produced my favorite record on
The Blueprint 2
, "Guns & Roses", using a CAKE sample (who I was also a fan of). Definitely a Hip-Hop Hero, and he will forever be remembered through his music. Now time to go find those old cassette tapes to play em' for my son! RIP Heavy D. #BeInspired
I would rate Heavy D & The Boyz'
up there with any other hip hop classics. So much so that I kept it in my collection at all times alongside
Paid In Full
and other classic albums that you lean on at times to cleanse your palette. Heavy's impact [is] larger than most like to give credit for and he is certainly what I would consider a cultural icon. He will truly be missed.
Heavy D left a lasting imprint on this music. His delivery helped me sharpen my tools as a younging and I thought it was fresh he incorporated the fly dancing of a heavy set bboy. Hello heaven!
Heavy D was one of those unsung heroes whose impact on hip-hop has unfortunately largely gone under the radar. If you really look at what guys like Notorious B.I.G., Fat Joe and Rick Ross accomplished in the industry you can see that Heavy D's work with Puff and Uptown in 90s was largely the blueprint for the fly "overweight lover" style of rap that they propelled in the past decade. Besides being one of the first rappers to venture into acting and charity work, Heavy D was one of the nicest, genuine people you would ever want to meet and an ultimate performer. He will truly be missed.
His style and charisma were what initially made me a fan. But the way he openly grieved and paid tribute to his homie Trouble T Roy on his album
that made him one of my heroes.
Heavy D is one of the artist[s] that I grew up listening to. The type of music he made was timeless good quality records that people can still listen to today, he will be missed but never forgotten.
When people like Heavy D pass, a piece of our childhood dies along wit them because you equate these people's art and music to moments in ya lifetime. Who doesn't remember dancing or Housing to a Heavy D video?? Who doesnt remember him as one of the first rapper/actors on TV Shows such as
, and movies like
New Jersey Drive
? Rest In Power to the Overweight Lover.