They Reminisce Over You Podcast

Heavy D cover art for episode 69 of the They Reminisce Over You Podcast

May 24, 2024

Episode 69 - Heavy D: Nuttin' But Love

Episode Summary

On this episode we’re talking about Mr. Big Stuff, The Heavster, The Overweight Lover, out of Moneyearnin’ Mount Vernon, the diddly, diddly, diddly, diddly, diddly D. One of a small number of people who have done a song with both Michael and Janet Jackson. The man who is pretty much responsible for kicking off Uptown Records, since he was the first act signed to the label, and as an executive at Uptown he's was instrumental in bringing Jodeci, Monifah, Soul For Real and others to the company. Along with DJ Eddie F, Trouble T-Roy and G-Wiz aka The Boyz, he brought us hit after hit. He could do new jack swing, boom bap, reggae, pop...he could do it all. There have been very few hip hop artists who could seamlessly maneuver through so many styles and genres at such a high level, all while never compromising his authenticity. Since his untimely passing in 2011, he's been sorely missed, and that's why we're talking about none other than Heavy D.


Christina: Welcome back to They Reminisce Over You, I'm Christina.

Miguel: And I'm Miguel. On this episode, we're talking about one of my favorite rappers of all time, Mr. Big Stuff, The Heavster, Overweight Lover, out of Moneyearnin’—

Christina: Chunky But Funky.

Miguel: Chunky But Funky. He's from Moneyearnin’ Mount Vernon. The diddly, diddly, diddly, diddly, diddly D. Heavy D, one of the few people, I think there's maybe two or three, who have done a song with both Michael and Janet Jackson[1]. He's the man who's basically responsible for Uptown Records with him being the first act and he helped find Jodeci, Monifah, Soul For Real and was instrumental in Mary J. Blige's career as well. So let's just get right into it. We talked about Heavy D this week, the late, great Heavy D. You ready?

Christina: Let’s do it.

Miguel: All right, so the first time, or it probably isn't the first time, but one of the first times I heard him was pretty much the same way I heard all of my early hip hop. Riding the school bus and the radio being tuned to 1580 KDAY and hearing either “Mr. Big Stuff” or “Chunky But Funky,” one of those early records. And I was like, yeah, this guy's dope, I like this. I hadn't seen him, didn't know who him and The Boyz were at the time. So it was just another record that I thought was jammin’.

Christina: I think what's really good about his music is it's always catchy.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Whether it's like the sample or just like, a hook, it always makes you wanna dance.

Miguel: Yeah, and that's what probably the first song I heard was doing for me. Like I said, it was probably “Mr. Big Stuff.” And yeah, just that little sample. “Who do you think you are?” And just make you wanna bounce a little bit. “Ooh, ooh, ooh.” Yeah, so that was my first introduction to Heavy D. And after hearing a couple singles, of course I had to save up some cash to buy the cassette because that's what we did in those days.

Christina: Or a blank cassette and try to record it off the radio.

Miguel: Well, see, that was my first step was to record it on the radio. And then when it was like, you know, it's time for me to go ahead and get the full album.

Christina: Gotta make that next step.

Miguel: Yeah, I had to do some chores around the house and earn some cash, pay my $8 or whatever it was at the time to go and get that first album.

Christina: Yeah, I think for me, I'm pretty sure the first song I heard from him was probably from the second album. I think it was “Somebody For Me,” might have been the first one. Like ,I know some of the songs from the first album, “The Overweight Lover's In The House,” but I feel like I didn't really hear of him until ’89. “Cause you know, those years are a little fuzzy for me. But, I’m pretty sure “Somebody For Me” was the first one.

Miguel: Okay, the thing that I really liked about Heavy D and The Boyz obviously, because this is still a time where we're coming out of like the early days of hip hop, where everybody had their matching outfits and they had a style. So every time you saw them, they were all dressed exactly alike, except his would be in a different color. So if they had on Nike sweatsuits, they would be wearing white ones, he'd have a red one or the opposite. And for a big dude, he was always able to move.

Christina: He was very nimble on the dance floor.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: And mind you, this is also when you were dancing in hard bottoms and suits.

Miguel: Right. So he was always able to not only look good, he was moving really well and a small underrated element of his style, I will say this, and I always liked it. It's no matter what glasses he was wearing, they always had a gradient where it faded from dark to light as it got lower.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: And I always really liked that.

Christina: See, now that you mentioned it, I can see it in my head, but I can't say I like, consciously noticed that.

Miguel: No, that was something that I always noticed. He had a dark to light gradient in all of his glasses. And I just thought that was very entertaining.

Christina: Yeah, I just think that he really drilled it into our heads when he came out with the “overweight lover” angle, shall we say.

Miguel: Well, because everybody back in those days had a gimmick.

Christina: Yeah, you had to have a thing.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: And that was his. He was like, well, you could see it, so I might as well make it my thing.

Miguel: Exactly.

Christina: But I'm gonna make it sexy.

Miguel: Yeah, because I'm the overweight lover. I might be big, but the ladies still love me. Because you had The Fat Boys, you had The Skinny Boys.

Christina: The Skinny Boys?

Miguel: Yes.

Christina: I don't know The Skinny Boys.

Miguel: There was a group called The Skinny Boys. You had The College Boyz.

Christina: A lot of boys.

Miguel: It was a lot of boys and he had The Boyz too. His producer slash DJ, Eddie F and dancers Trouble T-Roy and G-Wiz, they made up The Boyz. But yeah, his style and image was a lot more positive than like, say The Fat Boys because they were making fun of them just being fat all the time and talking about how sloppy they could be and blah, blah, blah, blah. He was like, no, I'm getting suited and booted. I'm gonna be the flyest dude in the room. I'm gonna be the flyest dude in the room and I'm leaving with your lady.

Christina: Yeah, cause you had sent me a link to a documentary[2] and I can't remember who it was who said it, but it was like one of his friends, one of these music folks was just talking about the whole “overweight lover” persona. And he was like, no, but like, I actually believed it. I was like, maybe I should keep an eye on my girl.

Miguel: I could see it.

Christina: He made it believable.

Miguel: I could see it. Well, you see what Queen Latifah said in that same documentary about when he guest starred on In Living Color.

Christina: Living Single.

Miguel: Yes, Living Single, and how Kim Fields was just like, ah, the entire time that he was there.

Christina: Yeah, because the storyline was, he kind of friended her. I think they showed like a little clip and he was just kind of like, we can be friends, right? And she was just like, yeah, I guess. And then Queen Latifah's character, Khadijah, came down and she was like, I had to break up with him. And he was so sad. And then they cut to Kim Fields' interview and she was like, you know, I'm sad our story arc didn't last a little longer. And then you got Queen Latifah's like, I think she had a little crush on him, for real, for real.

Miguel: So I'm sure he had that effect on all the ladies. Because like I said, that's what he presented himself as.

Christina: Big teddy bear.

Miguel: I'm “the overweight lover.” But in terms of his music, he really touched on pretty much everything. Like, of course he started with just your regular straight up hip hop, but all of his albums had elements of house and dance and reggae in the music. And I mentioned this when we were talking about Queen Latifah. Her and Heavy D have similar career paths, and both of them have similar styles as well. They're like two sides of the same coin, pretty much.

Christina: A little bit of house, a little bit of Jamaican influence, a little New Jack Swing. And even like their rhyme style sometimes can sound pretty similar because that kind of hit me. I think I said in that episode when I was listening to Queen Latifah or Heavy D, one of the two, and I was just like, do they sound like each other? Am I crazy?

Miguel: No, it's definitely there.

Christina: Because I can't remember which song, I'm pretty sure it's from the first album, but I'm like, this would fit if Queen Latifah said, “give me body!” over this.

Miguel: So yeah, they were both very similar, and that's what really opened him up to a wide audience. He touched everybody in a way that people who get exposed like that usually get called corny or sellouts and whatnot. Like grandmothers knew who Heavy D was, but it didn't seem like corny at all.

Christina: Right, and it wasn't gonna keep the quote unquote hardcore dudes from listening to his music either.

Miguel: Like, everybody listened to Heavy D.

Christina: The Naughty By Nature guys were good friends of his too. We always joke about Naughty By Nature. Their persona looks hard, but they love a good party song.

Miguel: Right, so a lot of people who were doing pop leaning music would always get accused of being soft and sellouts and corny and that never happened with Heavy D and his albums.

Christina: Yeah, how do you think he managed to do that? Was it just his authenticity, I guess?

Miguel: Yeah, it just seems like very authentic. It doesn't seem like it's a pop dude trying to do hip hop or a hip hop dude trying to do pop. It was just who he was.

Christina: Yeah, I mean, because he even enlisted all of his rapper friends to do that no cursing song—

Miguel: Yeah, “Don’t Curse.”

Christina: Or “Don't Curse,” yeah. And it wasn't like, ugh, this is dumb.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: Everybody got on board and did it.

Miguel: Like, he's doing records with Big Daddy Kane and Kool G. Rap on ‘em.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: But he could also turn around and do “Is It Good To You” and dancing all over the place. So very few people involved in hip hop have been able to capture that so easily.

Christina: And I guess, like I just said, authentically. Back to that documentary, that's pretty much what everyone was saying was, he was one of the few artists that I could put on in the car with my parents or my grandma. But everybody was saying it like it was a good thing. And this is not something that is normally said as a good thing.

Miguel: Right. Like, you could play it in the car for your grandmother. And then when she gets out, skip ahead a couple songs and you playing something for somebody on the block.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: And he was able to balance that really well.

Christina: Oh, and another thing, I didn't realize that Pete Rock was his cousin, who also, Pete Rock was just starting out at that time. So I'm sure that helped his career as well.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Just working with Heavy D. But yeah, I didn't realize they were cousins.

Miguel: Yeah, he said that Heavy D was actually the one who got him into production and was teaching him how to use drum machines and whatnot. He's on some of the early albums as well. He's got one or two songs on every album up until like, Nuttin’ But Love. Basically all of the stuff with The Boyz, I believe Pete Rock did some production on. But after that is when he did most of his solo stuff and that wasn't as boom bap-ish, so I guess Peter wasn't needed anymore.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: But with that said, let's talk about some of the albums and songs.

Christina: Let's start with, I guess, the first album then. Livin’ Large, of course, 1987.

Miguel: Which was, like I said, the first album that I heard. I can't pinpoint exactly which song it was, but it was probably, I'm gonna say, “Moneyearnin’ Mount Vernon,” or “Mr. Big Stuff.” It's gotta be one of those two.

Christina: What about “The Overweight Lover's In The House?”

Miguel: Yeah, that was another jam.

Christina: I feel like this album aged pretty well for me because, as I've said many, many times, I kind of started listening to R&B and hip hop a little more specifically, I guess, like ’89 on. So anything before that usually feels a little too old for me. So this one, for me, I was like, okay, this stuff that I can still listen to and it doesn't feel like, ah, that was before my time, so whatever. You got Al B. Sure crooning all over it.

Miguel: Singing his heart out.

Christina: The unofficial fourth Boyz. Yeah, so these songs sound familiar, but I'm pretty sure I heard them later.

Miguel: I think it has to do with the fact that it was Teddy Riley and Marley Marl, because they're like the cream of the crop when it comes to producers.

Christina: And since I like New Jack Swing, this is early New Jack Swing.

Miguel: Yeah, this is right when Teddy started making that transition into New Jack Swing.

Christina: So that's why it sounds like something I would have been listening to in ’89.

Miguel: Yeah, like if this album was produced by a lesser known producer or not as talented, it probably wouldn't hold up just like a lot of other stuff that we know and love from this era that just is like, eh, I don't know if I want to hear this again. But because you got two heavyweights like Marley Marl and Teddy Riley involved and Eddie F did a lot of production as well, it holds up.

Christina: And I think Heavy D's flow isn't as rhythmic as early rap, so it doesn't sound like the first generation of rap.

Miguel: Yeah, he's not “one, two, three to the four.”

Christina: Yeah, “don't push me.”

Miguel: Yeah, he was quite nimble when it came to his rapping and his ability.

Christina: And he has like, he has a pleasant voice too, so he's easy to listen to.

Miguel: Yes.

Christina: Basically what you're saying, he's got a little something for everybody. So he's got like, the little reggae vibes, he's got Al B. Sure crooning R&B hooks, he's got like, little dance tracks, so everybody can get in on it.

Miguel: And the next album, Big Tyme, it was similar to the first, but much better.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: It was like everybody had gotten better at what they do in terms of Eddie F and Marley Marl and Pete Rock and Teddy Riley, like they had stepped it up a notch.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: So the production on this is really good too. And it's got some of my favorite Heavy D songs on it.

Christina: Like?

Miguel: “More Bounce.”

Christina: Of course.

Miguel: Basically the-

Christina: You would like that sound.

Miguel: Yeah. The run from “Gyrlz, They Love Me” to “Big Tyme.” Those three, chef's kiss, but the biggest songs from this album were “We Got Our Own Thing,” which was very danceable and up-tempo and “Somebody For Me” with more Al B. Sure crooning on the hook.

Christina: Yes. Yo, yeah, I forgot about “We Got Our Own Thing.” So either it was “Somebody For Me” or “We Got Our Own Thing.” It was one of those two. That was my intro to Heavy D.

Miguel: And in between this album and their following album, T-Roy died tragically while they were on tour.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: He fell off of something backstage and I don't know how far it was, but it was quite a fall. And he passed away in the middle of their tour.

Christina: I think I read somewhere that it was like, a height of like two stories.

Miguel: Oh, man.

Christina: So it was a fall.

Miguel: Yeah, and so they dedicated the third album, Peaceful Journey, to Trouble T-Roy. This was another album that had hits all over it. So “Is It Good To You,” Now That We Found Love.”

Christina: We got a little K-Ci and JoJo singing some hooks too.

Miguel: So there was a lot of that. It was very danceable again. But it also had some boom bap hip hop on it. With, like you said, “Don't Curse.” Like, you got Grand Puba, Kool G. Rap and Q-Tip on this album. They wouldn't be doing records with somebody like, soft or sellout if they didn't actually think he was legit.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: So I like this album as well. I don't like it as much as the first two, but I do like it.

Christina: The first two albums, I got used to hearing Al B. Sure crooning all over it. And then this one we got “Now That We Found Love” with Aaron Hall shouting all over it, which is completely different than Al B. Sure's sound. Even though I love that song too. I think that song was probably the one that like, solidified it for me. It's like, okay, he's like, part of my roster. But you got Aaron Hall just shouting all over it. The smooth sounds of Al B. Sure was not on this album at all, right?

Miguel: No, he wasn't on this one. I think the last one he was on was Big Tyme.

Christina: Okay, but definitely “Is It Good To You” is like, I love the hooks, like, Tammy Lucas is like, a great hook singer, she's got a perfect voice to balance these hip hop songs. So that one's definitely a favorite.

Miguel: Yes, because, and we've been talking about this for a while, doing an episode about the unsung hook singers of the 90s and early 2000s.

Christina: Because Tammy Lucas was taken off of two songs, right? When they did like, video versions, but she did release “Is It Good To You” by herself[3] for the single.

Miguel: Yes. So she did get a little bit of a reprieve.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: And I think I have that too. I'm sure I have it somewhere.

Christina: I have it somewhere.

Miguel: Oh, Tammy Lucas. Yeah, we need to do that episode. Tammy Lucas.

Christina: And other-

Miguel: Vinia Mojica.

Christina: And other notable hook singers.

Miguel: Yes.

Christina: What was her name? The one on Bone Thugs singing her heart out? “It's the thuggish, ruggish bone.”

Miguel: Tasha.

Christina: Tasha, yes.

Miguel: Anyway, let's get back to it.

Christina: Look out for that at some point.

Miguel: Yes.

Christina: So back to Heavy D.

Miguel: So the follow up album, Blue Funk, is probably my favorite Heavy D album, because while it has the same elements of the previous albums, it's a little bit harder than the rest of them production wise, because this is a time when like, New Jack Swing is kind of fading out.

Christina: And this new wave is about to come in.

Miguel: So I really like this album. A lot of people don't just because of it not having like, a danceable hit, but it's similar to all of his previous albums, just minus that one or two dance songs on it. And if I had Pete Rock as my cousin—

Christina: Why not?

Miguel: And I have access to DJ Premier, I'm doing it too. So this is one of my favorite albums from front to back. I like the little interludes where he's giving an interview and talking about his life and whatnot in between the songs. I like the way that sequenced the album in.

Christina: Right. And the like, proper use of interludes and not like, weird little sex skits.

Miguel: Yeah. It's just him talking to an interviewer and it ties into the song that's about to come up or the song that just ended. So it made sense.

Christina: Yeah. I will say, I was kind of thrown off a bit when I heard him say the N word. I was like, oh, you use these words? I was like, I don't think he did in the previous album.

Miguel: Hey, he did, “Don't Curse.”

Christina: He did.

Miguel: And he really wasn't into cursing a lot, but I guess hearing this and having the same reaction as you did, people were like,

Christina: Heavy D's gone hard.

Miguel: Yes, even though the content is exactly the same, minus one or two songs where he's talking about his brother getting shot. He's still doing, “I’m a great rapper, women love me, and I can dance,” but the production was different.

Christina: Definitely. Well, yeah, so this was 1993. So it had that 1993 feel. A lot of people were transitioning to this sound who had been there before ’93.

Miguel: And like I said, if I had access to Premier and Pete Rock, my album would have sounded like this too. So I don't blame him for that. And like I said, it's probably my favorite Heavy D album.

Christina: Yeah, I think it's different reflecting back now because we're sort of just listening to everything all at once. And I'm trying to remember, you know, how I felt at the time when you have to wait like a year or two in between. Because right now everything kind of feels, it makes sense why things sound the way they are because the last album was ’91 and now this one's ’93. And like you're saying, if his cousin is like Pete Rock, like why not use it?

Miguel: Exactly.

Christina: But I guess I can understand why fans would be like, huh? This is a different sound. Especially because it had been a couple years since the other album.

Miguel: Yeah. And that brings us to the following year where I guess he said, you know what, maybe I went a little too far left with that one.

Christina: ‘Cause this one is right back to more of what you would have expected.

Miguel: Like, let me give the people what they expect. Even though the production and the producers are the same, the only difference is there's one or two songs that you can dance to and have that little Heavy D, “I love you girl. I'm going to take your lady, Mr. Man over there.”

Christina: I think there's more than one or two songs you can dance to.

Miguel: Yeah, well, I mean, like dance, dance though. Like, getting sweaty dancing. Most of it like, “Got Me Waiting.” It's going to give you a little two step and whatnot.

Christina: Yeah, mid tempo.

Miguel: And “Black Coffee,” you're going to two step to it. But I like this album too.

Christina: I think this one is actually my favorite album. Like, overall as an album, like, I love “Is It Good To You” But this album as a full project, I like the best.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: Well, it's funny with this whole “Overweight Lover” thing. Just looking back, it's like, okay, he's not a small dude, but he's also quite tall.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: And he's not that big.

Miguel: The weight was spread out. He talks about himself like he's Fat Bastard or something. It’s like, no, you're a big guy.

Christina: Like, you're big overall.

Miguel: It's not like My Thousand Pound Life where they got to cut you out of your house or something. No, you were a big guy.

Christina: I think we just, we had different views of what overweight meant back then too as well.

Miguel: Exactly.

Christina: And again, that didn't stop him from doing all that dancing.

Miguel: It didn't. It did not. As we saw in that video you sent me for the live performance of the In Living Color theme song, something that he did and the way he's spinning all over the place, hopping up onto the stage where Eddie F was.

Christina: In a suit. Remember, in a suit and hard bottoms. Oh my gosh, so when I was watching the video, I was watching something else and I just saw that in the related content and I just see Heavy D performing on In Living Color. I completely forgot that he did the song. So I'm like, oh, let me check out this performance because I just thought it was one of the, you know, the musical performances that they would have occasionally. And then the video starts with the theme and I'm like, okay. And then I'm like, oh yeah, duh, he did the theme.

Miguel: Yes, you heard him every week and didn't even realize it was him.

Christina: No, I realized it. I just forgot. Because I was expecting a performance.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: Thought he was going to come out and do, I don't know, “Got Me Waiting” or something. And then I'm like, oh, duh.

Miguel: Yeah, so those were the albums that he did with The Boyz, Eddie F and G-Wiz for half and T-Roy for the first two. Then we get to the solo era of his career where The Boyz were no longer necessary. I wouldn't say necessary, but we got to a point where DJs and background dancers just weren't being used anymore.

Christina: Yeah. Did they have like a fallout or?

Miguel: Not that I'm aware of.

Christina: Just going solo.

Miguel: Yeah. It's like I said, you just don't have background dancers anymore. And I know that Eddie F was starting to do a lot more outside production at this time, too.

Christina: So it was just a natural career move.

Miguel: Yeah. And you really don't have DJs anymore. So there's no need for him to be in the back DJing when that's being phased out at this time as well. So solo Hev is on the scene now.

Christina: Yeah. The, the um, solo stuff, I just dropped off from there.

Miguel: Yeah, I think it was because there was like, a four year gap between the Nuttin’ But Love album and what was it? Waterbed Hev. And I liked a couple songs on it. But this was also around the time when I just stopped buying albums too, because of the Internet and we could get stuff for free and downloading viruses onto our computers. So this was like ,in the middle of that. So if there was a song that I liked, I would just download it.

Christina: I was still buying stuff around this time, but I think again, ’97, ’98 is now we're getting another wave. And I think maybe I was just into that stuff like, I was listening to, I don't know, like DMX. Who else isn't like Biggie? And I don't know. I think he was just not on my radar anymore.

Miguel: So yeah, like I said, I would download a couple of songs here and there, but didn't buy an album.

Christina: Yeah, because when I listen to the album, like it sounds like a very 1997, 1998 album. So it sounds like something I would have listened to, but it just, I don't know. I'm not sure what happened, but it just wasn't on my radar.

Miguel: Yeah, I know exactly what happened. That's when I was stealing music. That's exactly what it was.

Christina: No, I was still buying CDs.

Miguel: Well, I would still buy some, but I was also thiefing them too. It was a little bit of both. And his later stuff just fell victim to that, basically.

Christina: Yeah, definitely. I would say for me, for sure, after like the 2000 and on, that was kind of where things started to get sketchy in terms of what I would actually buy. And once we get past like, I think maybe even about like, 2005, because then we were starting to like, it was so much easier to like, rip your CDs and stuff. So I would kind of just listen to stuff I already had or, yeah, just stop buying and stop looking for new stuff. Yeah.

Miguel: But like I said, there were a couple songs on this album that I liked. I like the one with Tha Dogg Pound. There's another one that I liked. Who was on it? Lost Boyz. And the single was “Big Daddy.” So I'm sure you know that one.

Christina: Yes. That one I actually forgot about until I listened to it. And I was like, OK, yeah, I know this song. So he wasn't completely off my radar. I just hadn't thought about it in a long time.

Miguel: Yeah. When we get to the following album in ’99, Heavy, again, I really wasn't too on to this one. But there were a couple songs that I did like. Like, I love listening with Q-Tip. And there's one with CeeLo that I liked. “On Point” with Big Pun and 8 Ball. He got all the big dudes on the record with him.

Christina: And that's when you see that he's not that big if you compare him to other big dudes.

Miguel: Yeah, there are people much bigger than him.

Christina: Yeah, I watched the video and I was like, he's taller than both of them.

Miguel: So I like those records. But again, I didn't have the album because I was just taking music at this time.

Christina: This is the first time I listened to it. And overall, I like the album. What I thought was interesting is he had a bunch of different flows on the different songs. So I don't know if this sounds crazy, but when I was listening to “Listen,” the way, the style, I was like, this sounds like DMX when he's not growling. So I pulled up “How It's Goin’ Down” because that's one of the songs where he's not barking and growling and stuff. I was like, no, I don't think I'm crazy. This flow sounds similar. And there was the song “I Know You Love Me.” That reminded me of Foxy Brown's “Hot Spot.” It's the cadence or whatever.

So I was just like, am I crazy? Or is it just like, you know how like The Game does this sometimes too, where he'll just like do a song in somebody else's rhyme style. So I don't know if he was just like playing around with different styles. And then I don't think so. It kind of had a very like, D'Angelo, Bilal, Prince sort of feel. So I found that a lot of the songs reminded me of somebody else. “You Nasty Hev” kind of made me think of LL.

Miguel: Yeah, I can see that.

Christina: Yeah. So a lot of the songs, I was like, hey, wait a minute, this sounds like somebody else.

Miguel: Yeah, I didn't listen to this one yesterday. This is the only one that I didn't listen to because I had listened to it recently. So I figured I wasn't going to go back to it yesterday.

Christina: Well, I might pull up some of my reference tracks for you so you can see what I'm saying in terms of like, just like the cadence and the flow of some of the songs just made me think of other people. And I don't know if that was intentional or if he was just trying to hit different targets.

Miguel: All right, so there was a big gap between that album and his next album, which was called Vibes. It was almost 10 years later. It came out in 2008 and there's no rapping on it.

Christina: Nope, it's a reggae album.

Miguel: It's a straight up reggae album.

Christina: It threw me off. I was not expecting it. Because I mean, he's always done like, a reggae song or a reggae style song, but I was like, oh, next song. So I was like, oh, okay, so we're doing a reggae album.

Miguel: Yeah, it's all reggae.

Christina: Well, it's aptly named Vibes.

Miguel: Yes.

Christina: This feels very tropical vacation, pool party, summertime.

Miguel: Exactly. I remember when it first came out, I saw on a couple websites that he was doing a reggae album. So I'm like, you know what, this might be up my alley. Let me go ahead and check this out. And it wasn't great, but it wasn't bad either. Like, for somebody who's not a reggae artist, it was cool. It wasn't like, Snoop Lion. It wasn't that.

Christina: I think for me it was like, as I was saying, he had always done like a couple songs here and there on all the other albums, but I think I just didn't want a whole album. If that makes any sense. But like you were saying, it wasn't bad. It wasn't like, I'll never listen to this again. But it's also, I'm not really rushing to put it on either, but like I said, hey, next time we take a tropical vacation or something, maybe I'll put it on in the background.

Miguel: Yeah, that Snoop Lion album, I never want to hear that again.

Christina: I don't even remember if I tried to listen to it. I probably did, but I put it out of my brain again.

Miguel: Oh, it's terrible. And I love Snoop.

Christina: Well, at least he's like, his parents are Jamaican, so he has a reference point.

Miguel: Yeah, like, I'm cool with Heavy D doing this, and like I said, it was done much better. It's just not something that I would listen to over and over again because I don't listen to much reggae anyway.

Christina: And I think I kept just hearing inflections of the non reggae Heavy D, so I kept waiting for him to come out of his accent. So not a bad stab at doing a reggae album, but it's not what I come to Heavy for.

Miguel: Right. And his final album before he passed was three years after this called Love Opus. And I have never heard this album.

Christina: Me either. And even just like, the cover, I was like, are we sure? Like, is this really Heavy D? Like, it was just there was something that just felt like, I don't know, not him. It's him. It's his voice. And we know it's his album, but it was so different from everything.

Miguel: Yeah. So I had never heard this album until, what, a couple of days ago. And it was interesting.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: It wasn't bad. It wasn't great. It was just kind of there. But there's so much goodwill that's been built up from his career, starting in 1987 through this. I'll let this one go. Like, this isn't one that I probably will listen to again. But it was cool.

Christina: You know what it sounds like? It sounds like a new artist coming out in this digital age, trying to make whatever style music that was popular at that time. And I think that's what threw me off because I was like, okay, it's one thing to try different styles. I was like, this feels completely different. Like, if it wasn't for the sound of his actual voice, I wouldn't have believed that was a Heavy D album.

Miguel: Yeah, so it's cool. I personally probably won't listen to it again. But like I said, there's been so much goodwill built up before this. I'll let one dud jump into the discography.

Christina: I don't even know if I'd call it a dud. I would just call it an experiment.

Miguel: Yeah, that's better. That's a better term.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: So now that we've gone through the discography, what are your favorite songs? And do you have like, one favorite as well?

Christina: My favorite songs that I picked are all the ones with the hooks. So it was “Is It Good To You,” “Nuttin’ But Love” and “Got Me Waiting.” So all the ones with the unsung hook singers. And I think I made it clear “Is It Good To You” is the all time favorite.

Miguel: So for me, my favorite songs are like, “The Overweight Lover's In The House,” “Moneyearnin’ Mount Vernon,” “More Bounce,” all the songs that has samples.

Christina: I loved all those songs too, because I was just listening to all of it in like, two, three days. They know how to pick samples. A note that I had for almost every album was catchy samples.

Miguel: So I love all of those. But my favorite one is DJ Premier producing “Yes Y'all.” Because like I was telling you a while back, it used to be an interlude on a Gang Starr album called “’92 Interlude,” where it's just the loop playing over and over again. And the story goes[4] that he begged Premier to make this record for him. And he's like, nope, can't do it. Not doing it. I only want it to remain an interlude on this album. I don't repeat beats. And he said he just kept wearing him down in that Heavy D fashion. He was like, you know, I can't say no to you.

So he took it, added some drums to it, put some scratches in on it with Heavy D's vocals, and it came out like, Heavy D and Premier. Yes, y'all. That's my favorite one from heavy D, which is surprising because it's like a 180 from pretty much all of his other content that everybody loves, like all the songs you mentioned, “Now That We Found Love,” all of that. It's very slow and boom bap-ish. And I like it.

Christina: There you go.

Miguel: That is my favorite.

Christina: Oh, another little tidbit that I saw on one of the articles you sent me that “We Got Our Own Thing” was initially a song for Wreckx-N-Effect.

Miguel: I can see it.

Christina: See, I guess now that I only know it as a Heavy D song, I can't see it.

Miguel: I can see it. Only because I can remember like, early Wreckx-N-Effect songs other than “Rump Shaker.”

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: So I can see them doing that record.

Christina: I just feel like it's such a Heavy D and The Boyz song now that I'm like, Wreckx-N-Effect, really?

Miguel: Yeah, I can see it. So what was the thing that you liked about Heavy D? His music, him personally, his acting, whatever it is.

Christina: I think he was just easy. His music was just easy. Like ,you wanted to dance, you wanted to sing, you wanted to hang out. Like, the music was just easy. I don't know how else to describe it. It sounds nice, he seems like, a fun person. Like, you just like it. And also, as I'm pretty sure I've said before too, since this is all like, early 90s, I just thought that rap was supposed to have all these different styles. So I wasn't like, oh, he's too soft or he's too danceable, whatever. Or he's like, the nice in between the hard rap and the conscious rap. I didn't even think about all that. It was just like, he's fun. That's it. Sometimes it's just that simple.

Miguel: I liked the fact that he was, and we mentioned this at the very beginning, he was able to reach all types of people without compromising who he was. And the way he was able to flow in and out of different genres of music.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: Like, he would do an R&B type song or then a dance song and then some real boom bap stuff with Pete Rock and Premier. And then I'm back over here doing “Is It Good To You” with Tammy Lucas on the hook.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: So the way he was able to just bounce in and out of different styles and genres like that. And it wasn't looked at as like, compromising his art. That's what I liked about it.

Christina: That's quite a feat.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Again, now looking back at everything as a whole, it's like, how did he manage to do that?

Miguel: Right. Because we see and have seen a lot of people try to do this and it just doesn't work.

Christina: Yeah. It feels inauthentic.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Or that you're riding a wave.

Miguel: Right. And he was able to just bounce in and out of this kind of stuff all the time.

Christina: Because we even see some artists from that era too, who weren't able to transition as seamlessly from the late 80s, early 90s into the mid to later 90s as well. So even at the time, not only just looking in hindsight, at the time there were people who weren't able to do it.

Miguel: Yeah. So with that said, would you like to give the people a Heavy D recommendation?

Christina: I would just recommend watching his documentary Be Inspired, because then it just gives you a full picture of who he was, not only just like, his musical career, but just who he was as a person, how much he helped other people and how other artists are just tied to him, his career as well, and just kind of gives you a full picture of Heavy D.

Miguel: Yeah. For me, I'm going to go in the complete opposite direction and suggest that people check out some of his acting work.

Christina: I had a note about that where I was like, oh, I didn't even like, go in to like review any of the acting stuff.

Miguel: Yeah, he's done or did quite a lot of acting. I never saw the play, but I remember when he was first doing a play on Broadway called Riff Raff and was getting all sorts of acclaim for it, I'm like, Heavy D's on Broadway? So you can just add that into all the things that he was good at and able to bounce around and do. So I would suggest checking out some of his acting stuff. Like we mentioned, the Living Single run that he had, he was in the movie Life with Martin Lawrence and Eddie Murphy. He was in The Cider House Rules of all movies. So he had quite the full filmography as well. So I would suggest go check some of that out and the Blue Funk album.

Christina: Your favorite one of his discography.

Miguel: So the two of those, those are going to be my recommendations. You got anything else you want to say before we get out of here?

Christina: I think that's all I got. I was going to say something about the documentary, but just go watch it. There's some good stories in there from his friends and colleagues.

Miguel: There is. There’s all sorts of people. Mary J. Blige, Will Smith.

Christina: I was going to retell a story, but it's better for you just to go watch it.

Miguel: Yeah, just go check it out.

Christina: And tell the story themselves.

Miguel: Exactly. So thank you for listening to us reminisce, on the life and career of Heavy diddly, diddly, diddly, diddly, diddly D.

Christina: You can't say it as fast as him.

Miguel: I cannot. Not many people can, but thanks for coming back and listening. We try to do this every two weeks or so. So if you haven't listened to us in a while, come back in two weeks, we'll have something new for you. We also have a newsletter called Liner Notes. It's a free monthly newsletter. So if you want to sign up for that, go to and it will pop up in your inbox in the first week of the month. If you would like to buy some merch, you can go to our store, Nuthin’ But a Tee Thang. We have t-shirts, hats, hoodies, all sorts of accessories.

Christina: We got TROY-themed stuff, but we also just have like, pop culture themed stuff.

Miguel: So go ahead and check that out. That's at, T-E-E-T-H-A-N-G .com We will be putting together a Heavy D playlist for this episode with our favorite Heavy D songs. So make sure to check that out. It'll be on the website or you can go to our Spotify page as well. You'll find all of that in the show notes. I can't think of anything else to say, so that's it. I think we should wrap up here because the AC has just turned on and I don't want to edit that out. So we will be talking to you guys again in a couple of weeks. Bye.

Christina: Bye.