I would say I’m a man of a certain size. Some, less eloquent, people would simply describe me as fat. Whatever (eye roll emoji).
I’ve been a big guy for a long time. Although I’ve fluctuated in size over the years, I’ve always been one of the biggest guys in the crew.
Sometimes that’s a good thing. People make room for you in crowded places. Everybody assumes you have discerning taste in food, so you’re always getting people’s best cooking. And in many cases, fighting isn’t necessary. You can just be ‘BIG’ and a lot of folks won’t take the gamble. (Word to the wise, however. If you’re a big guy, I’d suggest you learn how to fight. You don’t want to be the big dude that got whooped by a skinny guy. Not a good look.)
But as we all know, kids are dicks. And being fat in school is a lesson in resilience. You need thick skin if go to public school wearing husky pants. (You know what I’m talking about, big man.) It can be rough. So the headphones became part of my defense. They could say what they want. I couldn’t hear them. We all kept it movin’.
What people didn’t know was, in the headphones, I found not only an escape from potential ridicule, but a major source of encouragement.
Heavy D & The Boyz got regular airplay in my Walkman. We’ll get to them in a minute.
The Fat Boys first got my attention in the “Krush Groove” movie. I mean…all you can eat for $3.99? You can’t beat that. Even in 1985. Plus Sbarro, in their heyday? I’m in. And as much as I loved “Rap Symphony”, “Don’t You Dog Me”, and “Wipeout”, it wasn’t until “Crushin” that I saw them as anything more than ‘party rap’. Plus there were too many instances of the “fat and jolly” trope for me to really be hooked.
But when Heav dropped “Living Large” and the overweight lover was in the house, that was the first time I saw an MC who was big and fly and funny and smooth and dope as fuck on the mic. Two years later, he came out with my favorite Heavy D album, to this day. “Big Tyme”. I was gonna buy it because it was Heavy D. But when I saw the cover, I was shook. Eddie F, G-Whiz, and Trouble T Roy in white suits with the black shirts and the man himself, rockin’ a mustard yellow suit, looking fly as hell.
Then I plugged in. Eddi F asked if Heav was “ready to drop this”. He said, yeaaaahh. And we were off.
The whole album is a rider. Every track, fire. Heavy D was an ill MC, no question. But on top of that, he made it look so classy. He had style, charisma, personality. He had that big man swag that was completely untouchable.
Every day, I’d pop a tape in the deck and feel a little more confident. I could be a little more assertive. And yes, I felt a little sexier. The overweight lover was in the house. I worried less about what other people thought, and focused more on my own house. I danced more at parties. Talked to girls more freely. Hell, I even dressed better. And, as the years went on, I noticed the ridicule lessened drastically. (I learned how to fight in that time, too. So that helped, but still)
Since The Fat Boys and Heavy D, hip hop has produced some seriously gifted heavy hitters. Action Bronson, E-40, Chubb Rock, Fat Joe, Big Pun, and my all-time favorite Biggie.
Yes, weight, health concerns, body image, yadda yadda yadda. That’s another conversation for another day. If you really want to go there, come see me in the gym with “Niggas Bleed” in my ear buds. These bars ain’t gonna lift themselves. Feel me?
I’m talking about people being able to live their lives without some entitled douchebag thinking it’s ok to put them down for being big. I’m talking about the MCs who reminded us that a person’s size doesn’t have to keep them from taking part in all the good things life has to offer. And I’m talking about doing it with style.
Shoutout to all the overweight lovers out there. I see you fam.
RIP Heavy D
RIP Trouble T Roy