Nov 11, 2015

Heavy D & The Boyz

I remember being briefly on Twitter after work and just as I was about to log out, I read Fashawn’s R.I.P. Heavy D tweet. The expected denial kicked in amidst the flood of tweets stating what Fashawn said. I quickly went to Wikipedia but they had nothing confirming his death. I then went to Google and there was word of his death. I returned to Twitter for even more Heavy D tweets to greet me and the sadness kicked in.

It had been a while since I thought or saw anything related to Heavy D. With the exception of passing my Big Tyme vinyl while looking for records to use on my radio show, I hadn’t played his music in a long time. I did hear him a lot while I was watching my In Living Color DVDs days before his death.

When I learned of his death, I thought of the positivity and optimism he brought to hip hop. Who else would recruit over half a dozen of the hottest early 90s rappers for a classic posse cut called Don’t Curse of all songs? Heavy D never gave in to that or the negative elements that have surrounded the culture.

Going back to In Living Color and even Mad-TV, who else in hip hop had the vibe needed for theme songs of the two hip hop centred sketch comedy shows?

As I think about him now, I realize that he managed to bring the Jamaican roots of hip hop to the music a bit more than some of his contemporaries. As a youth, I saw music from the West Indies as old folks’ music and lacking the cool factor of anything Prince, Michael Jackson or Lionel Richie did at the time. KRS-One, Just-Ice and a handful of other Golden Era MCs chanted in their songs but they were more geared to the underground in their delivery. In the early 90s when reggae artists like Shabba Ranks, Tiger, Mad Cobra and Supercat were making more mainstream strides, Heavy D helped make it cool for me to acknowledge and appreciate the music and culture of my West Indian roots. I will be eternally grateful to Heavy D for that.

I am saddened by the news of Heavy D’s passing. He was not one I would have expected or wanted to leave us so soon.

When one reflects on his contributions to hip hop culture and the fact that he is no longer with us, one mourns the nostalgia of hip hop’s past and what-could-have-been.

Hip hop has needed some optimism and positivity for a while just as I have needed to feel optimistic and positive about it. Thankfully Heavy D’s legacy gives us a source for that anytime we want.

R.I.P. & Thank you Hevster and Trouble T-Roy.

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