Hangin' out with Heavy D: Rap's 'Nice Guy' Lives Large in Corporate Suite and Bachelor's Pad
Chappell, Kevin, Ebony
Rap's `nice guy' lives large in corporate suite and bachelor's pad
IT'S ONLY 10 a.m., but it is already bananas in Heavy D's Manhattan office as hip-hop's big man shoots the breeze with some of his boys. Barbers Mike Daddy and Cuzin Ray, known for their "$100 a whop" celebrity haircuts, are trimming Heavy's curly locks, while Tom, the road manager, Troy, the clothing stylist, and longtime friends Damien and Gerald are stretched out on the baby-bottom-soft leather digs Universal Music has provided for its new senior vice president.
Heavy is ribbing the barbers for being two hours late, the stylist for being six months late with his clothes, Troy for "falling in love" and Gerald for looking like he "just rolled out of bed." But they are his boys from Mount Vernon--the same boys he says he would trust with his life--so he goes easy on them, sort of. But he still wonders, "Why am I getting treated like this? Do you guys treat your other customers like this?"
"We love you, man," one of the guys says.
"That's the problem," Heavy replies. "I wish you didn't love me. I wish it was just business."
But who doesn't love Heavy D? Children love him. Twentysomethings who remember his first hit, Mr. Big Stuff, love him. Ladies call him a "big teddy bear," and men--even of they resent his sex appeal--give him his props for keeping it real. Even grandmas and grandpas show him love. Those in the business say he's one of the most innovative musicians on the scene. And the heavies in the front office of one of the country's largest record companies thought enough of Heavy D, both personally and professional, that they brought him into the fold, making him one of the few hip-hop artists to successfully go from hitmaker to shot-caller. In a field that has increasingly glorified violence and mean-spiritedness, his lighthearted approach to his life and his music over the last decade has made the self-proclaimed "Overweight Lover" the most lovable figure in the history of rap music.
But on this early morning--as the sun musters up enough energy to peek over the top of Gotham City's skycrappers--resume talk seems too heavy for Heavy. He is now talking with his boys about everything from the possibility of going yachting in Miami this weekend to the new Busta Rhymes song everyone is playing to the humorous incident last night when Heavy, Denzel Washington, Mike Tyson and superproducer and best friend Sean (Puffy) Combs were hanging out about 1:30 a.m. in the backroom of The Tunnel, one of New york City's hottest nightspots. "We were going to turn the whole joint out last night," Heavy says, with a boyish smile spreading across his butterball face. "All we were going to do is walk in the club and walk out."
"It was like a million girls up in there," says another one of his boys. "You would have torn up a good pair of shoes in there."
"I know, but I wanted to do it. But mike says Heavy, in a high, squeaky voice, cocking his head to the side and moving his shoulders up and down Tyson-like. "`They mobbed me when I went in there. You know they will mob you.'"
As a kid growing up in middle-class section of Mount Vernon, N.Y., Heavy D never thought he would have to worry about being mobbed. Born Dwight Arrington Myers to Eulah Lee Myers, a nurse, and Clifford Vincent Myers, a machine technician, both of whom immigrated to the United States from Jamaica when he was 4, Heavy was always one of the biggest kids in school. He says girls always thought he was cute, but not in a romantic kind of way. He was just known as a fun guy to be around, and a guy whose father could make some mean jerk beef and pork. It wasn't until 1986 when Dwight and two of his friends became Heavy D and the Boyz that women began to find the 325-pound rapper sexy.
Now at 30, Heavy continues to be the Barry White of rap. No longer with the Boyz, Heavy's latest album, Waterbed Hev, features such fun-loving songs as "Big Daddy" and "Get Fresh Hev. …