October 14, 2008
Heavy D Returns With Hit Reggae Album Vibes
Don't call it a comeback - more like a return to the righteous roots that nurtured him. Legendary Heavy D, (Dwight Myers) has found himself with one of the country's hottest new reggae albums, Vibes, released on his own Stride Ent. Label and distributed by Universal Music executives' Monte and and Avery Lipman's UMG brainchild, Federal Distribution, in conjunction with UMG owned subsidiary Fontana Distribution. Renowned record executive Jordan Katz is overseeing Federal Distribution and the rollout for Vibes.
Hev's new album currently owns the #2 spot on the iTunes Reggae chart. Propelled by the top-requested single and digital favorite, "Long Distance Girlfriend," the album has become a mainstay of Reggae playlists after only a month of release. Currently, the new album is available in digital-only format. The physical album will be released on December 16th across the U.S. "The aptly named 'Vibes' has wonderful music and lyrics that will take Hev's fans and new listeners on a beautiful journey from start to finish," stated Mr. Katz.The versatile Heavy D is known as one of hip hop's most palatable and gregarious rap artists. On Vibes he has reignited his reggae pedigree on his latest and long awaited offering. Born in Jamaica, his family moved to Mount Vernon, NY when he was 8, but the charismatic artist has always seasoned his music with a peppering of reggae influences. Keeping busy the past decade with an array of production chores and an impressive acting resume, he was determined to clear the deck long enough to hit the studio and create music that would combine his noted production heft with the influential reggae rhythms he grew up loving. "Reggae's the first music I ever experienced," says Hev. "I've always mixed reggae and hip hop. But I came to a point where I felt I had put the exclamation mark on my hip hop career. I'm fortunate that I've been able to transfer the love, respect and passion I have for hip hop and reggae into my latest musical endeavor.
Vibes truly is a labor of love. Hev crafted the songs on his own timetable, ensuring that the 'vibe' and 'tlc' he felt for the music would inhabit the songs when the reggae spirit moved him.
Hev took great pains to imbue the album with an up-to-the-minute currency, but also anchors it with the kind of riveting authenticity that he has experience in his past collaborations with reggae giants such as Super Cat, Buju Banton, Josey Wales and others. "You can't fake this stuff," says Hev. "I learned a long time ago you go with the music that's in your heart or you don't go at all.""Long Distance Girlfriend," is the kind of nimble, horn-filled sonnet that grabs both avid reggae aficionados and mainstream music fans. Flexing his trademark repertoire of danceable rhythms, including the occasional 'Hev-mastered' signature hip hop beat (and even ska influences), songs such as "Love You Like This," featuring Barrington Levy, and the soaring "Queen Majesty," round out the hit album, with Hev's relaxed, confident manner shining through on every track.
Emerging on to the underground hip hop scene while still a teenager, Heavy D & The Boyz became one of the most embraceable brand names in hip hop households in the mid-1980s, with classics such as "Mr. Big Stuff," and "The Overweight Lover's In The House," among other hits. 1987's Living Large, and its follow-up Big Tyme, are regarded as seminal hip hop albums, with the latter album delivering the hits "Somebody For Me," and others.
Hev's lolloping sense of musical and strategic timing, coupled with his easy going demeanor, catapulted him beyond the world of music and into deeper entertainment waters. One of the first rapper-turned-label-chief/A&R execs, he eventually became President of trailblazing urban music imprint Uptown Records, helping to nurture the careers of artists such as Mary J. Blige and Jodeci, as well as a budding, streetwise mogul-in-the-making named Sean Puff Daddy Combs. Hev has also established a solid acting resume, by becoming an award winning theater actor and appearing in breakthrough movies such as Oscar nominated The Cider House Rules starring Tobey Mcguire and Charlize Theron, Life with Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence and Big Trouble directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, to name a few, parlaying his Hollywood success into memorable TV gigs such as his recurring role as Big Boy in the Emmy winning television drama Boston Public.
Never abandoning his love for making music, his stellar production credits through the years include lending his touch to Jay-Z's masterful 2003 opus, The Blueprint 2.1, with "Guns and Roses" featuring Lenny Kravitz, Carl Thomas's "Summer Rain", and Beanie Siegel's "Feel It In The Air" from the 2005 album The B. Coming, among others.
Also proud of the role he's played for several years now as a self proclaimed 'stay-at-home-dad,' Hev cites the full spectrum of experiences that have shaped his life as motivation for Vibes. "I've been blessed with family and work," he says. "I'm an artist by birth. When I reached for inspiration to make sure this album flowed with the kind of organic spirit I felt for this music - it was there. You can't ask for any more than that."