Smooth rap kingpin Heavy D — née Dwight Errington Myers — died yesterday at age 44, apparently due to respiratory issues, Vibe reports. The Jamaican-born, New York-raised, self-proclaimed "overweight lover emcee" was known for his narrative rhymes, breezy cadence, and crafty use of R&B backing tracks, thanks, in large part, to his work with New Jack swing producer Teddy Riley. He was the frontman of popular hip-hop group Heavy D & the Boyz, which released 5 albums during its seven year tenure — three of which went platinum. Listeners too young to know Heavy D's oeuvre surely know the work of his descendants, whose ranks include Craig Mack and Biggie Smalls. To call Heavy D an icon is no understatement. He will be mourned in hip-hop, and in pop music at large.