One of the great tragedies in hip-hop is how the game seemed to take Heavy D for granted. The Overweight Lover from Mt. Vernon was one of the most consistent presences in hip-hop throughout the 1990s, and he became one of the more under-appreciated producers in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Add to that his tenure as a producer and labelhead at Uptown Records (he helmed major hits for acts like Soul IV Real and Monifah) and you have an artist that played a huge role in shaping the sound of urban music in the 1990s.

Of course, fans everywhere were stunned when Heavy passed away on November 8, 2011. Those who don't remember the Heavster's heyday firsthand may not completely get why so many are still saddened that he's not here.

So here are 15 songs to help you understand the gift that was Dwight Myers. Long live Heavy D.

  • "Mr. Big Stuff"

    Living Large (1987)

    Heavy D's early style was undeniably fun and lighthearted, and it informed the rest of his career. From the very beginning, he let you know that he wanted you to have a good time. And he let you know who he was.

  • "Blue Funk"

    Blue Funk (1992)

    In 1992, Heavy went in a slightly different direction with a jazz-inflected album that sounded more like Pete Rock & CL Smooth than the guy who made Peaceful Journey. But it was some of his most underrated work--including this Pete Rock-produced classic.

  • "Gyrlz They Love Me"

    Big Tyme (1989)

    Another hit from his sophomore album that set the template for what Heavy D did best: charm, wit and loverman. All carried with an infectious hook.

  • "Somebody For Me"

    Big Tyme (1989)

    Heavy brought in a new jack superstar in Al B. Sure for this standout single from his second album. Proof positive that nobody in hip-hop did new jack swing better than Dwight Myers.

  • "You Can't See What I Can See"

    "Don't Curse" b-side (1992)

    Contrary to popular belief, Heavy D could get a little hardcore. Without ever pandering to gangsta-ism, he nonetheless showcased his more street side on this b-side from 1992--which was co-produced by Puff Daddy.

  • "Big Daddy"

    Waterbed Hev (1997)

    Heavy's biggest latter day hit; this track took some criticism from those who thought the veteran rapper was getting too jiggy wit it; but it was Heavy just being Heavy.

  • "Black Coffee"

    Nuttin' But Love (1994)

    One of Heavy's all-time best tracks, this catchy tune (another home-run from Pete Rock) is a perfect ode to the sistas.

  • "Truthful"

    Blue Funk (1992)

    Heavy D didn't always go for the simple and sweet when discussing romance. This Pete Rock-produced banger featured the Heavster getting serious about the negative side of love.

  • "Now That We Found Love"

    Peaceful Journey (1991)

    Heavy D's association with Teddy Riley was a musical gift that many fans took for granted. Aaron Hall guested on the hook of this single that became one of the biggest rap hits of 1991.

  • "Is It Good To You"

    No rapper was more comfortable working in the new jack swing style than Heavy; and one of his best new jack tracks was this Teddy Riley-produced classic.

  • "Got Me Waiting"

    Nuttin' But Love (1994)

    Pete Rock is a magician. Over an excellent sample of Luther Vandross' "Don't You Know That," Heavy delivered one of his best loverman anthems.

  • "The Overweight Lover's in the House"

    Living Large (1987)

    Early Heavy was always fun. This Marley Marl-produced hit was one of Heavy's biggest early singles and it would become an unofficial theme song for the rapper.

  • "We Got Our Own Thang"

  • "Don't Curse"

    Peaceful Journey (1991)

    Why is this classic posse cut so underrated? With guest verses from Big Daddy Kane, Q-Tip, Pete Rock & CL Smooth and Kool G Rap, it was an ironic shot at censorship--done with the kind of charm that made it almost playful instead of pointed.

  • "Nuttin' But Love"

    Nuttin' But Love (1994)

    One of Heavy's most beloved songs, and certainly one of the best pop rap singles of the 1990s, this infectious tune was inescapable in 1994, and still stands as one of the purest examples of the kind of effervescent upbeat-ism that nobody did better than Heavy D.