Heavy D (born Dwight Errington Myers) formed Heavy D & the Boyz with high-school friends DJ Eddie F (born Eddie Ferrell), Trouble T-Roy (born Troy Dixon), and G. Whiz (born Glen Parrish). Their demo tape reached Def Jam executive André Harrell, who was in the process of forming his own label, Uptown. Harrell made Heavy D & the Boyz the first artists signed to Uptown in 1986, and they released their debut album, Living Large, in 1987. The singles "Mr. Big Stuff" and "The Overweight Lover's in the House" established Heavy D's image among rap fans, and "Don't You Know" was a crossover hit on the R&B charts, narrowly missing the Top Ten. All told, Living Large was a gold-selling hit.
The follow-up album, 1989's Big Tyme, was the group's real breakthrough. Like its predecessor, it featured production from both Marley Marl and new jack swing guru Teddy Riley. By this time, though, there was a bit more depth to Heavy D's persona, and he was also hitting a peak of consistency as a songwriter. "Somebody for Me," "We Got Our Own Thang," and "Gyrlz, They Love Me" were all significant R&B hits, with the former two reaching the Top Ten; plus, "We Got Our Own Thang" attracted some attention from MTV, while his appearance on Janet Jackson's "Alright" gave him significant mainstream exposure. Big Tyme would eventually reach number one on the R&B album chart, make the Top 20 on the pop side, and be certified platinum. Unfortunately, tragedy struck on the album's supporting tour, on July 15, 1990, when Trouble T-Roy fell from a height of two stories and died. He became the subject of Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth's elegiac hit "They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)" as well as a tribute cut on the next Heavy D & the Boyz album, 1991's Peaceful Journey.
Peaceful Journey was another platinum-selling hit, thanks to the single "Now That We Found Love" -- a modernized version of the Gamble/Huff composition originally recorded by the O'Jays -- which made Heavy D a full-fledged mainstream success. It reached the R&B Top Five and just missed the pop Top Ten. "Is It Good to You" and the posse cut "Don't Curse" were also popular with hip-hop fans, and the MC was also a weekly television presence via his theme song for the sketch comedy series In Living Color. Released in 1993, Blue Funk was a tougher effort with productions from Pete Rock (his younger cousin), DJ Premier, and Tony Dofat; despite its lack of pop appeal, it managed to go gold. In the meantime, Heavy D was establishing a concurrent acting career and landed his biggest role yet as a recurring supporting character on the Fox sitcom Roc; around the same time, he became the vice president of A&R at Uptown. Over the next few years, he would also appear as a recurring character on another Fox sitcom, Living Single.
Heavy D & the Boyz returned to platinum status with 1994's Nuttin' But Love, which spawned hits in "Black Coffee," the R&B Top Five "Got Me Waiting," and the title track. It also became their second album to top the R&B chart, and was their last release as a group. Their leader continued to juggle music, television, and film gigs until his 2011 death, which occurred due to a blood clot. ~ Steve Huey