This week, rap lost one of its pioneering fathers, Heavy D. Heavy D reportedly collapsed outside his home of respiratory distress on Tuesday, November 8th. The New York-raised artist was known for much more than being just another rapper. He was an innovator. His confidence for stepping out as a heavy-set guy made women swoon over him just as much as his music. To his fans, he was a loveable-type guy who couldn’t seem to ever hurt a fly. He came into rap at the time of the “New Jack Swing” era of music with the fresh leather jackets and Jordans’. This was a critical time in rap as it was time for artists to step up and show what they knew best in the late 80’s. Rap was still a fresh idea that hadn’t received a cross-over appeal yet. Heavy D and the Boyz pushed that crossover success fans and artists experience today as their movement grew. Heavy D and the Boyz were infamous for being the coolest guys in videos at that time. They not only had the flashy loud-colored clothes and mack lines, but they cut a rug on the dance floor as well. Heavy D, being the first rap artist of his size, owned every crowd he performed in front of. He never hesitated to break a sweat and create some of the hottest dance moves on TV. He moved as small as a 100-pound man as he was a true entertainer giving you a complete show with his lyrics. During his time, guys weren’t too cool to ask a girl to dance. If she declined, then that guy would dance with his boys in a crowd while everyone watched in awe. Girls would sweat out fresh perms dancing after staying in the beauty shop for hours getting their best look for the night. When a Heavy D song came on, believe you were getting up to move some way, somehow. Times have changed as women are dancing more at clubs and parties, but Heavy started it all. With producers like Guy’s Teddy Riley, he couldn’t go wrong with hit after hit. Parties would have patrons sweating so hard to joints like “Now That We’ve Found Love,” “We Got Our Own Thang,” and “Is it Good to You.” Watching the “Soul Train” awards was always a must back then because you can guarantee Heavy D and the Boyz would turn out the show. Not only was Heavy D in music, but he was an actor as well. Some of his features included “Living Single,” “New Jersey Drive” and most recently “Tower Heist.” The artist had slowed down his music over the years, but will always be remembered. At just the age of 44, Heavy D was taken away, but his spirit on being apart of the “New Jack Swing” will forever live on the dance stage.