By 2008, Heavy D had taken a break from rapping to get back to his Jamaican roots. He released the reggae album 'Vibes,' and dropped the first single, 'No Matter What,' to marginal fanfare. The video features Heavy showcasing his reggae vocals and professing his devotion to the woman in his life, while dancing behind images of his home country of Jamaica. 'Vibes' earned him a Grammy nomination in the Best Reggae Album category in 2009.
R&B quartet Soul 4 Real got the chance of a lifetime when Heavy not only discovered them but produced their debut album and lead single 'Candy Rain.' The crooners' single topped the Billboard Singles charts and Heavy D jumped on the remix, released in 1995. The group never recreated the success of their debut, but got to bask in the light of his success, if only for a short time.
Despite his hip-hop persona, Heavy D's ability to cross over into the R&B lane was most prevalent on 1988's 'Don't You Know.' Released off his debut LP, 'Living Large,' the slow jam was sugary yet masculine as Heavy proclaimed undying love with pen and paper in hand. Instead of rapping, the he poetically recited a letter to his lady love proposing marriage while the Boyz harmonized in the background.
Stepping out on his own two feet, 1997 saw the rapper's Waterbed Hev moniker emerge. Sans the support of the Boyz, Heavy D held his own on the single 'Big Daddy,' but never steered too far away from his "overweight lover" alias. As the tide of hip-hop began to change, his solo career stayed afloat with this track, becoming the only single on the album to make it on the Billboard charts.
Heavy D paid homage to black women with this 1994 ode to the his perfect match. Similar to LL Cool J's famously descriptive 'Round the Way Girl,' Heavy's ideal love interest was a take-no-prisoners type, who's not afraid to have his back in a fight. While most men may have been attracted to the softer side of femininity, Heavy preferred the undiluted coffee, with "no sugar, no cream."
This 1991 single provided Heavy D and the Boyz the opportunity to break down the art of love making. This second single, released off their third LP, 'Peaceful Journey,' held a quintessential new jack swing beat beneath Heavy's flirtatious flow. Dedicated to "all the lovers in the house," the large rhymer slowed the mood up with the uber-sexual track, which peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Rap charts.
The hip-hop group put their spin on Jean Knight's hit 'Mr. Big Stuff,' for their 1987 debut 'Living Large.' The music video finds the group convincing a bar owner to let them perform in front of a skeptical audience of senior citizens. While the single didn't make a huge commercial impact, peaking at No. 60 on the Billboard R&B charts, the album was noted as one of The Source magazine's Top 100 Best Albums Ever.
Above all else, Heavy D was hip-hop's lovable teddy bear. He had no qualms about expressing his sentiments when it came to romance. Originally released by the O'Jays, 'Now That We Found Love' was featured on Heavy D and the Boyz' 1991 effort 'Peaceful Journey.' The song became a breakout hit for the group and was featured in Will Smith's 2005 film 'Hitch.' Twenty years after its release, the video has clocked over 2 million views on YouTube.
In 1994, the MC and his group released their fifth and final album together titled 'Nuttin' But Love,' led by the single of the same name. This parting gift became their highest charting release while the Brett Ratner-directed music video featured a then unknown Chris Tucker and a bevy of beautiful models. To this day, Ratner credits the project with sparking Heavy's move from hardcore rap videos to more female-friendly projects.
Heavy D was never shy about holding himself in high esteem. In a sea of slender rappers, he embraced his large frame, and on 1991's 'Gyrlz, They Love Me,' off his 'Big Tyme' album, he chose to boast about getting female attention with the classic chorus: "Gyrlz, they gyrlz, they love me, (cause he's the overweight lover Heavy D)." The single peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Rap charts and No. 9 on the R&B charts.