Thursday, October 8, 2009

'Cause He's the Overweight Lover, Heavy D

This for me is one of those absolutely essential remixes that just completely ruined the original album version for me. And the album version was fresh. In fact, the album version is almost the same as the remix. But that "almost" is a real deal breaker.

After making a respectable name for themselves with their first album, including a plethora of singles, Heavy D & the Boyz returned with Big Tyme. They made a huge smash in the clubs with their Teddy Riley produced single, "We Got Our Own Thang," and followed that up with a poppy, pure New Jack Swing love song with Al B. Sure called, "Somebody for Me." Finally it was time for a "real" song, to keep from alienating the purist heads completely, and so they came dropped the Marley Marl produced "Gyrlz, They Love Me."

The raps are simple but catchy stories of Heavy coolin' in the club and getting the girls. There's an amusing hook of girls praising "the overweight lover Heavy D!" The beat is pure, old school Marley with funky horn sample in the background, dwarfed by light, snappy drums and a funky bassline. DJ Eddie F cuts up the vocal sample "funky" on the hook and just randomly during Heavy's raps. It might not stand out as a banger, but it's an undeniably appealing number for any hip-hop lover.

So, that's the album version (which is also included on this 12"). But like I said, I'm done with that version forever now. It's all about the "12" Version" (which is the one they used in for the video, too). The beat is the same, the vocals are the same, the hook is the same, and Eddie F's cuts are the same. So, what's the difference?

Well, first of all there's a new intro, of a guy flabbergasted that someone who's "big, big! That boy is big!" can get all the ladies. When the song kicks in, there girls' singing is layered echoed (as if more girls were singing). The drums are the same but mixed louder, and so is the bass. And that's also echoed; making the whole record feel much deeper and just plain louder. Really, play them back to back and you won't be able to not notice - you sound like you're in the club with Heavy himself.

But that's not the crux of it for me. They added keyboard horns, like really fake sounding ones. Think Slick Rick's "The Ruler's Back" (in fact, it's a similar riff). Yeah, they're corny I guess, but fuck they make the record a million times funkier! It's a sound that pretty much only existed in 1989, and I love it. They mostly play on the hook and then at the end, whoever's playing (the label doesn't say, but Marley Marl is credited with the remix) goes all out for a solo. I can hear you thinking to yourself, "I can live without some chintzy keyboards playing over the top of my records. In fact, I prefer it." But no; it's great! It's magical. And after having grown up with the music, it's an integral part of the song. Twenty years after this song came out, you could still stop me on the street and ask me to hum the "horn" solo for you.

Younger fans may know this only as the record that includes the line "Pete Rock & CL Smooth were on the stage drinkin' Sisco," but as far as I'm concerned this is signature 12" of the period. The B-side features the Instrumental and a Dub version as well, plus you get a glossy picture cover. And because it's a big, major label, underrated release, you can find plenty of copies for cheap. Gotta love that.

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