Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Nov 8 2011 7:54 PM EST 3,415

Heavy D: He Did His Own Thang

We reflect on late hip-hop legend's career and impact on the next generation.

There was this odd but super cool sound that rolled off Heavy D's tongue that we all tried to emulate. It was his melodic calling card; it was the key thing he inserted into Heavy D & the Boyz' "We Got Our Own Thang."
Its significance was cemented in pop culture when he guest-starred in a 1989 episode of one of the era's hottest sitcoms, "A Different World." He was set to be a featured performer at a fundraiser on the show, and the pompous, pretentious Whitley wasn't having it.
"I'll tell you what lacks melody is that diddly diddly diddly diddly diddly dee," she drawled, displaying her disgust for hip-hop, completely unaware that she was, in fact, bemoaning Heavy D himself.
Heav, playing a caricature of himself (and an old junior high friend of Dwayne Wayne), laughed and shrugged it off. We all chuckled with the laugh track as Whitley realized her mistake and Heavy showed her the right way to do the thing that had all of us — in the 'hood, in the 'burbs and in the sticks — trying to copy him every time we heard one of his wicked, uptempo tracks. We next see him onstage, doing that infamous Heavy D shake, performing the track "Somebody for Me," the single that questioned — and longed for — a woman's affections for the man who dubbed himself the Overweight Lover.

Heavy D, born Dwight Arrington Myers, died Tuesday (November 8) at an L.A. hospital. He was a young 44.
TMZ is reporting that a 911 call was placed from his Beverly Hills home around 11:25 a.m. PT to report an unconscious male on the walkway. When help arrived, the entertainer was conscious and speaking and was taken to the hospital.
He died shortly thereafter.
Heav was that kind of touchable performer. We felt comfortable with his Overweight Lover nickname — he was the big guy who could move. His size never stopped him. He moved in ways that intimidated the slimmest dude in the crowd.
He was smooth, dapper and celebrated the around-the-way-girl through song; his music helped soundtrack 10th-grade dances near and far, and his colorful, danceable and at times sensitive brand of hip-hop clearly proved to be wildly influential to new-millennium household names like Diddy or Drake.
In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who came up after Heavy D that doesn't cite him as an influence — and if they didn't say it out loud, their showmanship certainly was a giveaway.
He brought professionalism to live hip-hop shows, and because he fancied a variety of music and musical stylings, his shows were thought-out, deliberate and defined all that New Jack Swing embodied.

Heavy brought the bounce to hip-hop and his smooth delivery made every woman look at big boys with new eyes. He was sexy — so were his lyrics, and so was his style. He was one of few rappers to collaborate with Michael Jackson (he rapped on "Jam"), and we all applauded when he linked up with Janet Jackson for an "Alright" remix.
His death is tragic for a number of reasons. Until last month, we hadn't seen Heavy perform live onstage in 15 years. When he hit the stage back in October for the BET Hip Hop Awards, he showed the young guys that he could still swing with the new New Jacks.
He also showed off an amazing 135-pound weight loss, but his hip-hop moniker was still fitting for a guy who gave so much to a musical genre that continues to shape pop culture.
Even past his hit-producing hip-hop prime, Heavy continued to be a force in entertainment. He'd often dabbled in film and television, and most recently. we saw him in an episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and the just-released "Tower Heist."
Some of hip-hop's biggest luminaries tweeted their affections for the rapper Tuesday. It was undeniable what he brought to the genre.
He was one of the biggest who ever did it — and he got there because he did his own thang.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Nov 7 2011 4:19 PM EST 14,496

Conrad Murray Found Guilty In Michael Jackson's Death

Jury took nearly nine hours to return a verdict against Jackson's former doctor.

After nearly six weeks of testimony and several gasp-inducing courtroom moments, the jury in the involuntary manslaughter trial against formerMichael Jackson doctor Conrad Murray rendered a guilty verdict Monday (November 7) after almost nine hours of deliberation.
The verdict came after 49 witnesses took the stand and the prosecution presented often-bruising testimony against Murray, a cardiologist with clinics in Texas and Las Vegas who was recruited in 2009 by Jackson to help the then-50-year-old star stay healthy in the run-up to his planned 50-date comeback tour, This Is It.

The prosecution brought a long list of medical experts and emergency-room doctors to the stand to testify that Murray had not followed proper procedure in dealing with Jackson when the singer was in distress on the morning of June 25, 2009. They also presented evidence that the care Murray provided for Jackson in the weeks and months leading up to that fateful morning were substandard or outside the bounds of legal and ethical requirements. The witnesses concluded that Murray lacked the proper monitoring equipmentto administer the surgical anesthetic propofol to Jackson, an off-label use of the intravenously delivered drug that was reportedly employed to help chronic insomniac Jackson get to sleep.
Investigators found that Murray ordered nearly 4 gallons of propofol in his treatment regimen for Jackson and administered the drug inside the singer's rented home, a practice that all the prosecution experts said was unheard of. Jurors also heard testimony about how Murray left Jackson's bedroom for a period after providing him with propofol and spent his time making calls and sending texts to a former girlfriend. When he realized Jackson was in distress, Murray gave the pop star CPR on a bed, a decision that also deviated from the suggested method requiring a hard surface under the patient.
Murray was additionally faulted for waiting more than 20 minutes to call 911, not keeping proper records and failing to tell the paramedics and ER doctors that he had given Jackson propofol.
While prosecution witnesses claimed Murray acted with "gross negligence" in treating Jackson, the physician's own team of lawyers countered with astring of defense witnesses who called into question claims made by Jackson's bodyguard that he requested that staffers hide bottles of propofol before he dialed 911. Other character witnesses testified to the generous, attentive nature of Murray's medical practice, while expert defense witnesses cast doubt on the theories about Jackson's death provided by the prosecution's star witness, Dr. Steven Shafer.
Murray, who was slated to make $150,000 a month to care for Jackson, had pleaded not guilty to the single felony charge and is now facing four years in prison. But new sentencing laws in California aimed at mandatorily reducing state prison overcrowding mean that, as a nonviolent offender with no prior record, he is likely to be sentenced to county jail instead. If that is the case, his sentence could be reduced further.
He also still faces a civil lawsuit brought by MJ's father, Joseph Jackson, which seeks financial restitution. Both Joseph Jackson and Michael's mother, Katherine, were on hand to hear Monday's verdict, along with several of the singer's siblings and a throng of sign-waving fans gathered in support of both Jackson and Murray.