Aired: 9/28/11 Episode 13002 "Personal Fouls"
Known in the late '80s and early '90s as the star of Heavy D & the Boyz, Heavy D, the 250-pound, lovable emcee has managed to remain relevant after parlaying an illustrious solo career, acting career and influential roles as a label executive.
Along with G-Wiz (born Glen Parrish), Eddie F (born Eddie Ferrell) and Troy Dixon a.k.a. Trouble T-Roy, Heavy D. formed a rap group called Heavy D & the Boyz. Their demo tape fell into the hands of legendary Uptown Records founder Andre Harrell, and in 1986, Heavy D & the Boyz became the first artists signed to Uptown. Their 1987 debut "Living Large" featured the classics "Mr. Big Stuff" and "The Overweight Lovers in the House" and became a major crossover hit.
Although "Living Large" was well received and went gold, the group's second effort, "Big Tyme," which featured the hits "Somebody for Me" and "We Got Our Own Thang," became a platinum phenomenon. Heavy D & the Boyz went on to release three more successful albums, including 1991's platinum-selling "Peaceful Journey."
By 1995, Hev - looking for a fresh start - became one of the first rap artists to head a major label after accepting a prestigious offer to take over as president of Uptown Records. This spawned the careers of everyone from Mary J. Blige and Jodeci (whom Hev convinced Andre Harrell to sign) to a young A&R exec named Sean "P. Diddy" Combs whom Hev hired. During his tenure, he signed R&B star Monifah and the group Soul For Real.
In 1997, Hev moved on from Uptown to become Senior Vice President of Universal Records, where his focus became scouting and nourishing the careers of new hip-hop, pop and R&B acts. That same year, he dropped his first solo album, the Uptown/Universal LP "Waterbed Hev," which featured one of the biggest West Coast rap duos of that time, Tha Dogg Pound. He soon followed up with 1999's "Heavy."
Around this time, Hev was also raising eyebrows for his various acting roles. Though he was a regular face on the popular '90s sitcoms "Roc" and "Living Single," he won the hearts of critics in 1995 when he starred in the Laurence Fishburne-directed off-Broadway play "Riff Raff," which earned him a prestigious Drama Desk Award nomination.
Hev went on to appear in several films including 1995's "New Jersey Drive," "Life" and "The Cider House Rules," which won two Academy Awards. By 2000, Hev had a recurring role on the Emmy-award winning television drama "Boston Public."
In 2002, he co-starred in the comedy "Big Trouble" directed by the legendary Barry Sonnenfeld also starring Tim Allen, Rene Russo, Omar Epps and Tom Sizemore. In 2006, Hev was honored with a NAACP Spirit Award for his riveting starring role as Dale "D.J." Jackson, a Vietnam veteran, in the Will Smith-executive produced and Delroy Lindo-directed play "Medal of Honor Rag."
But never straying too far from his rap roots, Hev kept busy with an impressive catalog of production work ranging from Jay-Z's "Guns & Roses," Timbaland & Magoo's "I Got Luv 4 Ya" and Beanie Sigel's critically-acclaimed "Feel It in the Air," to name a few. In 2008, Hev went back to his deeply carved Caribbean/reggae roots with the reggae album "Vibes."