Before Dwight Myers would become a music producer (he’s actually produced a track for Jay-Z), actor (check out his stellar work in Step It Up), and take a stab at his most recent venture, becoming a reggae artist, he was a bona-fide rap star, known to the world as Heavy D.
The Jamaican born rapper moved to Mount Vernon, NY as a kid where he eventually fell in love with hip-hop and decided to take his bid at emcee supremacy…or, get a deal so he could make some cheese to support his eating habits. Either way, Dwight, along with his deejay (DJ Eddie F), and back-up dancers (G-Whiz and the late Trouble T. Roy) would eventually become the first group signed to industry mogul, Andre Harrell’s newly formed Uptown Records imprint, under Heavy D & The Boyz. Uptown Records, which would later become the label home to such r&b acts as Guy, Jodeci, and Mary J Blige, released Heavy D’s debut album (which I’ve never heard in its entirety) Livin’ Large in 1987. Livin’ Large spawned two mild hit singles in “Mr. Big Stuff” and “The Overweight Lover’s In The House”, which propelled it to earning a gold plaque, setting up high expectations for their sophomore effort Big Tyme.
Like the majority of Heavy D’s catalog, Big Tyme is light-hearted hip-hop with a twist of r&b which maintains a pop appeal. Teddy Riley, creator of the new jack swing sound, (who also produced the majority of Livin’ Large), provides a track, with Eddie F taking care of the majority of the production this time around (with a few contributions from a few hip-hop producing legends, more on that later). Big Tyme was a commercial success, eventually earning the chunky one a platinum plaque.
All I really want to know is why Heavy D and Eddie F each get their own honey for the picture inside the cd booklet, leaving Trouble T. Roy and G-Whiz to share one.? I tell ya, backup dancers get no respect.
We Got Our Own Thang – For the second consecutive write-up I’m mentioning a hip-hop track (I use the term loosely) produced by Teddy Riley…who would of thought. This is Heavy’s letter to the world, kindly letting us know he and his Boyz got their own thang, so God bless a child. Though I can’t stand most hip-hop/r&b blends, this one works for me since: a) it’s not a forced rap ballad b) Heavy (who is by know means a hardcore rapper) kind of fits this mold of hip-hop perfectly c) Teddy’s instrumental is pretty nice. No this isn’t a hip-hop classic, but it is an enjoyable listen.
You Ain’t Heard Nuttin Yet – The intro, which has a symphonic/cinematic feel, is way too dramatic of a build up for what actually happens when the real beat kicks in. But once this mid-tempo bass heavy groove settles in, Dwight follows suit and rides this instrumental like a pony, and sounds right at home with his smooth delivery. The lyrics were pretty random (Dwight even take the time to inform us that Harry Houdini is his favorite magician of all time; which fits in perfectly with this post, since what would have been Houdini’s 137th birthday just past yesterday. Happy belated birthday, in the most literal sense of the term) but who listens to a Heavy D album for lyrics, anyway. This was a nice mellow joint.
Somebody For Me – This might be the most popular song on Big Tyme (if it’s not “We Got Our Own Thang“). Eddie F provides Dwight with the second r&b flavored instrumental of the evening. This is a love rap, but at least it’s not a ballad. Heavy sounds sincere in voicing his desire to find that special lady, but since its apparent he won’t, he’ll just carry on being the overweight lover (which is simple an excuse for being a male ho). Al B. Sure joins the proceeding to provide a very out of tune hook. Again, this is what Dwight does, so it’s believable and enjoyable as well.
Mood For Love – Over Eddie F’s reggae tinged instrumental, Dwight goes back to his Jamaican roots with a little chanting and singing, covering one of his favorite topics: love (he doesn’t call himself the overweight lover for nothing). This gives a glimpse into the path Heavy Dwight is currently traveling, as he comes across as a poor man’s Bob Marley (I mean that in the nicest way possible). This wasn’t great nor was it terrible, it just…is.
Ez Duz It, Do It Ez – Dwight calls on old partner in crime, Marley Marl, to provide the beat for this one. Marley, knowing his overweight buddy’s strengths, plays to them, providing a poor man’s new jack-swingish instrumental. While the track isn’t bad, Heavy doesn’t sound interested in his own verses, which causes this one to stutter a bit.
A Better Land – The liner notes say Pete Rock (also Heavy’s cousin) co-produced this one with Heavy, which explains it semi-soulful feel. Dwight use this track to share a few uplifting verses, ultimately coming off as a hip-hop version of Michael Jackson’s “Heal The World”, only less corny. Other than getting the chance to hear some of Pete Rock’s earliest work, there wasn’t a whole lot to see here.
Gyrlz, The Love Me – I believe this was the first single off the album. Marley Marl returns to provide his second of three production credits on Big Tyme. In case you cared, Dwight wanted to make sure you know: girls are crazy about him. Personally, I didn’t care, nor do I care for Marley’s beat. I do remember the video version of this song having a much hotter instrumental, though.
More Bounce – Eddie F borrows the beat from Roger Troutman’s song of the same title, for Dwight to make an attempt at catchin’ wreck (key word: attempt). Heavy D has a knack for riding a track with his smooth flow, but he is not a great lyricist, by any stretch of the imagination. He sounds overly excited on this track, which seems to throw his flow way off. And to add insult to injury: his rhymes sound corny (how many time on one album do you have to say your height, son?). It was kind of amusing to hear Dwight drop a “faggot” and “skeezer”, both in the same song (that’s hardcore for a Heavy D song). Needless to say, this was weak.
Big Tyme – Dwight invites Pete Rock back to help co-produce this track. The beat is cool, and Dwight sounds at home on this track (and just in case you missed it the other 712 times previous to this track: Dwight is 6″2), but Dwight, was it really necessary to take a shot at Debarge? Yes, I would agree that El and Chico probably aren’t the manliest of men, but Dwight, you’re marshmallow raps don’t put you too far ahead of them on the tough scale. At the end you get to hear Pete Rock throw in (what would eventually become signature on a Pete Rock produced track) some adlibs. All in all, this was cool (although, I prefer Brand Nubian’s usage of this same sample).
Flexin’ – Over a sparse Eddie F instrumental Heavy does his best to convince the listener (and himself) that he’s not only a lover, but a battle ready emcee. I’m still not convinced.
Here We Go, Again – Marley Marl provides his final contribution to Big Tyme, and it’s not a memorable one, folks. Next…
Let It Flow – Eddie F’s instrumental work would have worked if the mixing were cleaner. As is, even with headphones on it’s a strain to hear the elements on top of Eddie’s drum beat. (I could barely make them out, only with the help of ear buds and a completely silent room, but one pin drop and its all over). Heavy’s flow is still intact, and it was kind of nice to see it end on a unity level as he extends an invitation for his fellow rappers to join him on stage so they can sing “We Are The World” and get paid together.
I mentioned earlier in this write-up, I’m not a huge fan of r&B flavored hip-hop. But ironically, the r&b flavored joints on Big Tyme are the strongest songs on the entire album, which eventually translates to an underwhelming listen. There is no question Heavy D has a solid rap voice and a quality flow, but his lyrical ability and song ideas are limited. He’s almost comical when he tries to come off as a battle emcee over harder tracks. Maybe Big Tyme would have faired better if it consisted of all New Jack Swing r&b flavored joints for Heavy to get down on. Oh wait, that would make it a Father MC album. By the way, did you know Heavy D is 6 2″?