Now that he’s regularly getting checks appearing on television shows such as “Bones” and “Are We There Yet?” it’s easy for people born before the year 1980 to forget just how important Heavy D was. Before there was a Notorious B.I.G., “Waterbed Hev” was the original large, lazy-eyed ladies man. At his peak, only LL Cool J and Big Daddy Kane surpassed Heavy D’s ability to earn respect from the streets and still woo the ladies. But Hev managed to do it without taking his shirt off. And when it came to busting out The Running Man or those choreographed dance routines with The Boyz [Eddie F, G-Wiz and the late Trouble T-Roy], he could hold his own.
“From when we go in and work, it’s just something from the heart,” Hev explained during a “Yo! MTV Raps” interview with Fab 5 Freddy. “We don’t go in with no plan to cater to a certain audience, we just make music that’s from our heart. We take suggestions from other brothers in the industry—we keep our ear to the street…most of our crew is still in the ghettoes and all that. We just keep that flavor.”
A quick glance at the RIAA’s database reveals that Heavy D and the Boyz essentially put Uptown/MCA Records on their back at one point. Before Andre Harrell and Puffy discovered the lucrative world of R&B with Jodeci and Mary J. Blige, Heavy D and the Boyz enjoyed a five year run that saw the albums Big Tyme, Peaceful Journey and Nuttin’ But Love go platinum, while Blue Funk was certified gold. It’s a point that wasn’t lost on Hev.
“We’ve got fans that stuck with us through thick and thin,” Heavy D added. “They’re true fans, and not many brothers are blessed to have true fans. We are definitely blessed by the fans and blessed by God. This is our fourth album; we’re going on our seventh year. We’ve maintained a certain amount of success and status, and I definitely feel good about that.”
The success of Peaceful Journey was bittersweet, in that it was a dedication to crewmember Troy “Trouble T-Roy” Dixon, who died after an accidental fall the previous year. “Don’t Curse” served as not only the ultimate posse cut [with Big Daddy Kane, Kool G. Rap, Grand Puba, Q-Tip, Pete Rock & CL Smooth], but also as a light moment during an album that had to be a bit more serious by Heavy D standards.
As Tipper Gore and others began spearheading campaigns about the dangers of profane Hip Hop and Rock lyrics, “Don’t Curse” was a shot right back at them. And for those of us outside the Tri-State area, it was a formal introduction to Pete Rock & CL Smooth. The duo would later cement themselves in the memory of many Hip Hop fans with their own “Trouble T-Roy” tribute, “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.).”
Eventually, Heavy D would appear on an episode of NBC’s “A Different World” and gradually segue into an actor and composer while dropping the occasional album. But “Don’t Curse” catches him and The Boyz during their peak. Interestingly enough, everyone else in the song is still making albums, including Sean Combs, the young, bald guy holding up the “Don’t Curse” sign.