Heavy D Panel Discussion at Brooklyn Historical Society
Last night, Brooklyn Bodega brought their Bodega Education Initiative to the Brooklyn Historical Society. Aimed at educating people in hip hop culture, the B.E.I. had a candid convo about the late Heavy D. The discussion was moderated by Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival creator Wes Jackson, and the panel included producer/DJ Marley Marl and hip hop journalist turned Vibe’s Editorial Director, Datwon Thomas.
Marley Marl knew Heavy D would stand out from his Uptown roster from jump, recalling his confidence, charisma, and style as a “big rapper”. As Heavy’s career began to take off, he opened the doors to Mt. Vernon unknowns at the time. He was pivotal in launching the career of his cousin Pete Rock, and getting Sean “P. Diddy” Combs’ his first internship at Uptown Records. Diddy, greatly influenced by Heavy, later applied the “Heavy D formula” to newcomer Biggie Smalls. He had convinced Biggie that “Machine Gun Funk” was too hardcore to be the lead single off Ready to Die, instead opting for the more radio friendly “Juicy”.
Marley Marl and Datwon Thomas spoke of Heavy’s many notables, including being the first rapper to collaborate with Michael Jackson, producing the theme song for In Living Color, as well as the intro to Mad TV. The 1994 album Nuttin’ But Love was a testament to his love and respect from industry colleagues – the first song, “Friends and Respect”, included shout outs from Queen Latifah, Q-Tip, Kool G Rap, LL Cool J, Krs-One, and Treach (Naughty By Nature). But perhaps the biggest accolade though, is Biggie’s tribute in “Juicy”. You know the words. “It was all a dream, I used to read Word Up Magazine. Salt-n-Pepa and Heavy D up in the limousine.”
Catch Brooklyn Bodega back here again, May 10th, as they continue their Bodega Education Initiative. More info can be found on their site here.
Text and Photo: Steven Lau