Ode to the Overweight Lover

Posted: November 9, 2011 by sirdiggy in life, Music, Pop Culture
Tags: , , , , ,

They say when (famous) people pass away, they pass away in threes.  Well the past few days we’ve experienced the passing of 60-Minutes icon Andy Rooney and boxing legend and former heavyweight World Champion Joe Frazier.  While the weight and significance of the lives two aforementioned men led can never be understated, it’s the passing today of this third gentleman that really bummed and saddened me.  Dwight Errington Myers – better known as Heavy D, was as stellar and influential a rapper and hip-hop artist as any during the late 80’s to mid 90’s.  The New York Times has a nice writeup about him here, but I want to give my respects to someone who I felt I grew up with in my pre-teen to teenage years.

I started buying cassette albums at age 13 (circa 1990), and it was then that I really started to follow hip hop.  I can’t begin to name all the rappers that were prominent at that time – Big Daddy Kane, Queen Latifah, Eric B and Rakim, Kid ‘n’ Play, LL Cool J, Gangstarr, EPMD, Run DMC, MC Lyte, KRS One just to name a few – a time before the gansta/thug/rep your hood element came into the foray.  From that point until about 1993, the three artists or groups I listened to heavy (no pun intended) was in fact Heavy D, Ice Cube and Public Enemy.  Cube and PE helped shaped my deep-rooted non-conformist ways, while I wish I had an ounce of Heavy’s bounce and big-boy swag.  I often joke that if it wasn’t for him (as well as Notorious B.I.G., Gerald Levert and currently Rick Ross), there wouldn’t be much of a market for us chunkier dudes, or any path to establish overweight, teddy-bear physique swagger.  Kane and LL did well to appeal to the ladies, but the Heavster was for the grown and sexy, perhaps because as the Times article points out, he was one of the first to successfully blend rap with r & b and be smooth with it.  And above all that, dude was nice with the rhymes, wordplay and delivery.  He had a lot of style and substance… and he was maybe the only rapper to be featured on a Janet Jackson AND a Michael Jackson song.  He also introduced Sean “Diddy/P Diddy/Puffy/Puff Daddy” Combs to Andre Harrell, which began Combs’ accent to rap/music mogul status.

I guess when the people who influenced you during your childhood die and pass on, it’s natural to lament their loss and honor what they brought to the table.  TMZ, in which I’m still undecided as to whether they should be considered a credible news source, claims an associate of Heavy’s said he had pneumonia, though there’s been no official cause of death yet.  Even if it was pneumonia, you just don’t think of someone his age dying of that (he was 44).  And the irony is that he’s lost quite a bit a weight to become healthier, and that last month he performed at the BET Awards and by all accounts appeared “fine”.  I actually thought about that on my way to the gym from work earlier.

So, as my little tribute to The Overweight Lover, I picked one of Heavy’s joints that I feel is apt for this moment in time.  The song is titled “Peaceful Journey” – which is also the name of the album (1991) it appears on.  The album was in many ways a tribute to Trouble T-Roy, one of “the Boyz” who died from a fall a year earlier.  The song contains a sample from the song “This Place Hotel”, sung by The Jacksons.

Rest In Peace to the Jamaican-born pride of Money Earnin’ Mount Vernon – Heavy D… dead at age 44.
  1. Michael J says:

    Well said man!

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