Heavy D parlayed an eminently likable persona and strong MC skills into a surprisingly lengthy career, in tandem with his backing group the Boyz. Weighing in at over 250 pounds, his girth could easily have become a one-note premise, but he varied his lyrical concerns to include positive message tracks and fun-loving party jams, and exuded a genuine warmth and respect for women without getting too graphic or sentimental. Musically, his appeal was just as broad -- he was able to mix elements of R&B, reggae, dance, and pop into his music, but his raps were quick-tongued enough that he avoided the accusations of selling out that dogged many other crossover successes of his era. Moreover, he was an all-around talent -- an agile dancer, a naturalistic actor, and an astute businessman who eventually became a label executive. Even after his tenure as a pop hitmaker had effectively ended, he maintained a solid, steady level of popularity all the way through the '90s, and his albums kept on going gold.