I read the TMZ news today that old-school rapper Heavy D died at the age of 44. This is sad news no doubt.
So like we’ve done with other artists who’ve impacted us with their live show and unfortunately passed on too soon, I’d like to pay tribute to Heavy D because he was at the center of one of my favorite hip hop concerts ever.
And as I think back to that moment it’s amazing how vivid and fresh that concert still is in my mind. It feels like the show just happened yesterday.
Here’s what I wrote back in 2009 when I experienced Common, The Roots and Heavy D: Feeling as One At The Shrine
Old school stalwart rapper Heavy D also showed up and played some classic hits and some new reggae tracks. And it was during his performance of the classic ”The Overweight Lovers in the House“ that a fan, who I didn’t know before this show, looked at me and grinned the biggest grin and tossed me a fist bump.
That knunkle-to-knuckle moment ranks as one of the most memorable of my recent concert experiences because it was more than just two fans sharing a great live music moment. It was a micro-moment that personified the vibe in The Shrine. And to me it was a black fan and white fan sharing a golden moment that was so pure and so honest and transcendent for both of us.
I also think that moment was important because I know that there’s still a huge struggle with race in our country. And, unfortunately, hip hop isn’t immune to racism. As a white male, I’ve been to hip hop shows where I didn’t feel welcomed because of the color of my skin, or I didn’t feel any sense of fan solidarity, unity, energy or community among the fans before, during, or after the show.
Disappointing, disconnected and disinfranchised hip hop shows confirm for me that live hip hop still has a long way to go to break free from its self-destructive chains and skin-colored shackling stereotypes.
But this Shrine show was the polar opposite. It inspired me. It gave me hope.
Yeah, it was great night back in 2009. And it was an honor to get to experience Heavy D at a live show. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.
If you’re like me, I’m sure you’re feeling a mix of emotions and grief about this, so like we’ve done before with our ongoing live music mourning exploration, we’d invite you to share your favorite Heavy D concert moments too. Go ahead and post them in the comments below and we’ll feature them in a future episode of Live Fix Radio. Thanks to Fakeshore Drive for the YouTube video clip.