Heavy D

One of the voices of New York's New Jack Swing scene of the early 1990s, Heavy D (aka Dwight Myers) became a big, strutting showman lighting up dance floors with the genre's mix of hip hop, R&B and dance music. Inspired by the early rap pioneers, Myers teamed up with three dancers to become Heavy D and the Boyz and was signed to Uptown Records where he gained a cult following thanks to debut album Living Large (1987) and his reworking of Jean Knight's funk classic Mr. Big Stuff. More positive and pop friendly than most of the gangsta rap stars of the time, second album Big Tyme (1989) made the commercial breakthrough by reaching the US Top 20, while follow-ups Peaceful Journey (1991) and Nuttin' But Love (1994) both became platinum sellers and Waterbed Hev (1997) hit a career high Number 9 on the Billboard Charts. In the UK he will always be remembered for the huge single Now That We Found Love which peaked at Number 2 and became an instant club classic; he also went on to work with B.B. King and featured on Michael Jackson's Number.1 hit Jam. Becoming president of Uptown Records in 1996, Heavy D helped kick-start the careers of Puff Daddy, Mary J. Blige and Jodeci before turning to acting with movie roles in Eddie Murphy's Life and drama The Cider House Rules. In November 2011 he collapsed and died suddenly from a blood clot in his lungs, aged 44.

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