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Hip-Hop music lost one of its warmest and beloved personalities in Dwight “Heavy D” Myers after he passed away far too soon last November.

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The news was shocking to many as the skillful rhymer and entertainer thrilled audiences just a week earlier at the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards. The loss left fans reeling, and his positive aura that he displayed on social media was immediately missed. Thankfully, the “Overweight Luva” leaves behind a rich legacy of music, some which many consider timeless.

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Heavy D was born on this day in 1967 in Jamaica to his mother, Eulahlee Lee, a nurse, and Clifford Vincent Myers, a machine technician. The Myers relocated to Mount Vernon in the 1970s where Heavy D discovered his love for music and formed the group “Heavy D and the Boyz.” Their 1987 debut album Livin’ Large put the hefty and handsome MC on the map. Deft on his feet, Heavy would usher in a trend that big and tall men can be considered sex symbols as well. To this day, Livin’ Large is considered a classic rap album.

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His follow up LP Big Tyme was a smash, going platinum and reached the top 20 on the Billboard Pop charts. Propelled by the funky “New Jack Swing” style from producer Teddy Riley and assisted by his prodigious young cousin, Pete Rock, Hev would prove himself to be one of Hip-Hop’s most valued assets. Heavy D’s 1991 Peaceful Journey also went platinum, but was made under rough circumstances after the death of his dancer and friend Trouble T Roy. The Aaron Hall-assisted single “Now That We Found Love” was a huge hit both in the states and in the UK.

Hev took it to the streets and flexed serious lyrical muscle on the murky Blue Funk. Assisted by Hip-Hop producer DJ Premier and an emerging Pete Rock, Heavy D’s baritone was much grittier. The album featured late greats such as Guru and the Notorious B.I.G., and also featured an animated Busta Rhymes – all on the same track.

Heavy returned to his lover man raps for his fifth and final LP with the Boyz in Nuttin’ But Love, leading to the first double platinum LP for the crew. Teddy Riley, Pete Rock and Eddie F all return to their production roles with the addition of Easy Mo Bee and legendary producer Marley Marl. Three years later in 1997, Heavy broke out on his own with the sultry Waterbed Hev, a mild success compared to his previous albums.

His 1999 LP Heavy also went gold and found Hev paired with the late Big Pun, Q-Tip and Cee-Lo of Goodie Mob. Heavy D flipped the script on everyone by releasing Vibes in 2008, a strictly reggae record. Flexing his Jamaican roots and pairing with longtime producer and friend Tony Dofat, Hev shocked many and his album did well on the reggae charts. Last September, Heavy would release his final album Love Opus.

Beyond music, Heavy D was a capable actor, appearing on TV shows such as Roc and Livin’ Single. He also worked in film, appearing most recently in the 2011 Eddie Murphy vehicle Tower Heist. Heavy also appeared in the off-Broadway play Riff Raff between recording music.

Heavy D emitted positivity, most especially on the social media platform Twitter where he offered inspirational messages to his fans and engaged nearly anyone who struck up an online conversation with him. During the time of his passing, fans and celebrities friendly to Heavy lamented over his loss. The outpouring of love was astounding and well-deserved, to say the least.

Rest In Power, Heavy D.

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