In Living Color Rapper, Heavy D 1967-2011

Dwight Arrington Myers (May 24, 1967 – November 8, 2011), better known as Heavy D, was a Jamaican-born American rapper, record producer, singer, actor, and former leader of Heavy D & the Boyz, a hip hop group which included G-Whiz (Glen Parrish), “Trouble” T. Roy (Troy Dixon), and Eddie F (born Edward Ferrell). The group maintained a sizable audience in the United States through most of the 1990s. The five albums the group released were produced by Teddy Riley, Marley Marl, his cousin Pete Rock and Eddie F.

Heavy D & the Boyz were the first group signed to Uptown Records, with Heavy D as the frontman and only rapper, and Eddie F was his business partner in the group and one of his producers. The other two members, T-Roy and G-Wiz were the dancers. Their debut, Living Large, was released in 1987. The album was a commercial success; Big Tyme was a breakthrough that included four hits.

Dancer Troy “Trouble T. Roy” Dixon died at age 22 in a fall on July 15, 1990, in Indianapolis. Dixon’s death led to a tribute on the follow-up platinum album, Peaceful Journey. Pete Rock & CL Smooth created a tribute to Trouble T. Roy called “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” which is regarded as a hip hop classic.

Heavy D gained even more fame by singing the theme song for the television program In Living Color and also MADtv. Heavy D performed the rap on Michael Jackson’s hit single “Jam” as well as sister Janet Jackson’s hit single “Alright”. Heavy D then began focusing on his acting, appearing in various television shows before returning the music charts with Nuttin’ But Love. After appearing in the off-Broadway play Riff Raff at Circle Repertory Company, Heavy D returned to recording with the hit Waterbed Hev. In 1997, Heavy D collaborated with B.B. King on his duets album Deuces Wild rapping in the song “Keep It Coming”. Heavy D was referred to in the song “Juicy” by the Notorious B.I.G., and appeared in his music video for “One More Chance”.

In the mid-1990s, Myers became the first rapper to head a major music label, when he became the president of Uptown Records. Myers helped to develop rhythm-and-blues singer Mary J. Blige’s career and hired Sean “Diddy” Combs as an intern. During this time, Myers also developed the R&B boy band Soul for Real, and was the executive producer and principal writer of several songs on the group’s breakout album, Candy Rain. He later became the senior vice president at Universal Music.

Heavy D performed at the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards on October 29, 2011. Although it was his first televised live performance in 15 years, it was also his final live performance. Myers died on November 8, 2011, in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 44. He collapsed outside his Beverly Hills home and was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Heavy D’s death was initially thought to be connected to pneumonia.

FINAL NOTE

An autopsy report, released on December 27, 2011, found that the cause of death was a pulmonary embolism. The coroner’s office found that Myers died of a blood clot in his lung. He also suffered from deep leg vein thrombosis and heart disease. The blood clot was “most likely formed during an extended airplane ride,” said Craig Harvey, chief of the Los Angeles County department of coroner. The rapper had recently returned from a trip to Cardiff, Wales where he performed at a tribute to Michael Jackson.