We last heard from Heavy D & The Boyz in 1993 with their gold selling fourth release Blue Funk, which also happens to be my favorite Heavy D album. As the title suggest, Blue Funk found Heavy D and dem trying to move forward but still in a mourning state over their fallen dancing comrade Trouble T-Roy. Hev and the crew would return in ’94 in better spirits, releasing their 5th album, Nuttin’ But Love.
Nuttin’ But Love would be the final project for Heavy D & The Boyz as a group (Hev would continue releasing music as a solo artist, which is pretty much what he was doing with “The Boyz” anyways), and as the title suggests, most of the themes would be centered around love, which if you’re remotely familiar with Heavy D’s catalog, you know that falls right into his wheelhouse. Hev would call on familiar faces to produce the album: his cousin Pete Rock, Eddie F, Marley Marl, Teddy Riley and a few other special guests. Nuttin’ But Love would go one to become Heavy D & The Boyz most successful commercial album, earning the trio another platinum plaque, selling two million plus units.
I’ve never listened to Nuttin’ But Love in its entirety before today. Let’s walk through it and see if my feelings towards the album match up to the album’s title.
Friends & Respect – Nuttin’ But Love opens with a nice warm and mellow instrumental playing, while several of Heavy’s friends, from Queen Latifah to Q-Tip (I got my Tribe Degrees of Separation in!), LL, Treach, Kool G Rap, KRS-One, MC Lyte, Spike Lee and several more, stop by to drop a line showing love and respect for the Overweight Lover. This is a very heartfelt and touching piece, that’s even more intensified now that he’s gone.
Sex Wit You – The first actual song of the evening (which was also the fourth single released from the album) finds Heavy’s cousin Pete Rock jacking the same Whatnauts loop that De La Soul used for their classic “Ring Ring Ring” record, but of course the Chocolate Boy Wonder adds his signature horns to it. Heavy Dwight stays true to his lover boy persona, as he spits game to a potential love prospect. I love PR’s production work on this one, and Hev accommodates the track, perfectly.
Got Me Waiting – This was the third single from Nuttin’ But Love. This time around Heavy’s trying to figure out if a certain lady is really trying to be with him or just leading him on. Before reading the liner notes I had no idea that Pete Rock produced this one, as it doesn’t sound like his normal steez. It’s got a strong R&B presence (which is probably more so do to Crystal Johnson’s singing during the hook), but it’s still a dope hip-hop instrumental and Heavy sounds smooth spittin’ over it.
Nuttin’ Nut Love – This title track was also the second single released from the album, and I’ll admit I never liked it back in the day. The Heavy D/Kid Capri concocted instrumental is way too synthy for my taste buds and it just plain sounds corny. To add insult to injury, Heavy’s rhymes are all over the place, bordering on senseless. Well, at least the hook is catchy.
Something Goin’ On – Marley Marl gets his first of two production credits on Nuttin’ But Love, building this instrumental around a loop from Tonya Gardner’s “Heartbeat”, that most will recognize as the musical foundation for Ini Kamoze’s Hotstepper”. Hev uses it to reflect on the good woman in his life that left him because he wasn’t treating her right. Kudos to our host for being vulnerable and still managing to keep the song light-hearted. This was pretty dope.
This Is Your Night – The legendary creator of New Jack Swing, Teddy Riley gets his only production credit on Nuttin’ But Love, building this breezy backdrop around elements of George Benson’s “Give Me The Night”. Unfortunately, Heavy struggles to keep up with the track’s pace and never finds his footing, but I still enjoyed Teddy Riley’s instrumental, and completely understand if it’s too commercial sounding to my hardcore hip-hop folks.
Got Me Waiting (Remix) – Heavy taps Alton “Wookie” Stewart to produce this remix, and he drenches the track heavily in R&B seasoning. The 90’s R&B group Silk stops by to sing the hook while Heavy regurgitates his rhymes from the O.G. version. I’m not crazy about this song, but it definitely fits Hev’s R&B lover boy emcee persona.
Take Your Time – Erick Sermon steps out of his traditional funk realm and lays down a smooth instrumental built around a loop from Patrice Rushen’s “Take Your Time” (which happens to be one of my favorite hip-hop loops), and the lovely Vinia Mojica (whose voice you might recognize from De La Soul’s “A Roller Skating Jam Named “Saturdays”” or ATCQ’s “Verses From The Abstract” (Bam! There’s another Tribes Degrees of Separation for dat ass!), or Black Star’s “K.O.S. (Determination)”, just to name a few) stops by to sing the hook. Hev leaves the ladies alone on this one and spits light-hearted freestyle rhymes. This is easily one of my favorite songs on the album.
Spend A Little Time On Top – Heavy brags about his freakiness while some brave young ladies ask the Overweight Lover to spend some time on top of them during the hook. Marley Marl completely butchers the classic Sylvers “Misdemeanor” loop (see The D.O.C.’s “Funky Enough” and Gang Starr’s “Soliloquy of Chaos”) that he builds this terrible instrumental around. This was horrendous.
Keep It Goin’– Heavy D and Troy “Druppy Dog” Williams get co-production credit for this smooth jazz-tinged groove that our host uses to get loose over and demonstrate how nimble his tongue is. This was pretty dope.
Black Coffee – This was the lead single from Nuttin’ But Love. I’ve probably said it once or twice before on this blog, but Easy Moe Bee is an extremely underrated producer. He lays down this silky smooth instrumental that Heavy uses to rap praises and express is commitment to the black woman. This record actually sounds better today than it did twenty-five years ago.
Move On – On this one Hev stresses that no matter what life throws at you, you gotta keep your head up and keep it movin’. Tone (half of the often overlooked and under-credited production duo, Trackmaster or sometimes spelled Trak Masterz) gets credit for the soulful mid-tempo groove built around a loop from Diana Ross’ “Love Hangover”. Side note: Hev previously rapped over this loop on the Marley Marl produced track “The Lover’s Got What You Need” off the Peaceful Journey album. I like what Marley did with it, but Tone’s flippage of the loop mixed with Heavy’s content makes for a stronger song. Another side note: Vinia Mojica gets her fourth and final vocal credit of Nuttin’ But Love, as she and Maurice Lauchner handle the hook and adlibs. All in all, this was a pretty dope song.
Lord’s Prayer – Nuttin’ But Love ends with Heavy’s nephews saying the Lord’s Prayer while Soul For Real (remember those guys?) sings behind them. And this concludes the catalog of Heavy D & The Boyz.
I mentioned earlier that Blue Funk is my favorite Heavy D album, mainly do to the fact that it’s the purist hip-hop album in his catalog, but after living with Nuttin’ But Love for the past few weeks, pound for pound, it may be a better album than its predecessor. There are a few missteps (mainly “Spend A Little Time On Top”), but overall, the team of decorated producers recruited to create the soundscape for Nuttin’ But Love do a great job, and Heavy spits over the batch of bomb backdrops with charisma and confidence. There are several emcees who have a better flow and stronger bars than Heavy D, but only a few have been better at consistently crafting commercially successful albums that are equally quality and entertaining than the Overweight Lover.