We lost one of the most influential figures in rap music today. Dwight Arrington Myers AKA the Overweight Lover Heavy D passed away at about 1pm today after being transported from his Beverly Hills home to a nearby L.A. hospital at about noon in response to an 11:25 am call to 9-11 reporting Myers’ collapse on the walkway of his own property. No official cause of death has been stated as yet, but police do not seem to suspect any foul play.
Heavy D & Tha Boyz was the very first act signed to Andre Harrell‘s Uptown records and their partnership not only brought the James Brown breaks and street-party vibe of rap radio fully into the mainstream, but also helped to create the successful “new jack swing” hybrid of rap and soul from the hip-hop side, collaborating with labelmates Guy and Janet Jackson, among many others. Heavy was also an incredibly generous giver of game to newer artists and helped to mentor a young Sean “Puffy” Combs, then an intern at Uptown, and was a key behind the scenes (and in-the-video) figure nurturing the major label careers of Super Cat and The Notorious B.I.G., among other groundbreaking acts.
His death comes as a shock to fans who only recently noticed a resurgence in Heavy’s public profile, between performances at a Michael Jackson tribute concert in Wales and the 2011 BET hip-hop awards not to mention acting turns in Tower Heist and Law and Order: SVU.
Rest in peace, Hev. For all that you did, in the spotlight and behind the scenes…we got nuttin but love for ya, baby.