The follow-up album, 1989's Big Tyme, was the group's real breakthrough. Like its predecessor, it featured production from both Marley Marl and new jack swing guru Teddy Riley. By this time, though, there was a bit more depth to Heavy D's persona, and he was also hitting a peak of consistency as a songwriter. "Somebody for Me," "We Got Our Own Thang," and "Gyrlz, They Love Me" were all significant R&B hits, with the former two reaching the Top Ten; plus, "We Got Our Own Thang" attracted some attention from MTV, while his appearance on Janet Jackson's "Alright" gave him significant mainstream exposure. Big Tyme would eventually reach number one on the R&B album chart, make the Top 20 on the pop side, and be certified platinum. Unfortunately, tragedy struck on the album's supporting tour, on July 15, 1990, when Trouble T-Roy fell from a height of two stories and died. He became the subject of Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth's elegiac hit "They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)" as well as a tribute cut on the next Heavy D & the Boyz album, 1991's Peaceful Journey.
Peaceful Journey was another platinum-selling hit, thanks to the single "Now That We Found Love" -- a modernized version of the Gamble/Huff composition originally recorded by the O'Jays -- which made Heavy D a full-fledged mainstream success. It reached the R&B Top Five and just missed the pop Top Ten. "Is It Good to You" and the posse cut "Don't Curse" were also popular with hip-hop fans, and the MC was also a weekly television presence via his theme song for the sketch comedy series In Living Color. Released in 1993, Blue Funk was a tougher effort with productions from Pete Rock (his younger cousin), DJ Premier, and Tony Dofat; despite its lack of pop appeal, it managed to go gold. In the meantime, Heavy D was establishing a concurrent acting career and landed his biggest role yet as a recurring supporting character on the Fox sitcom Roc; around the same time, he became the vice president of A&R at Uptown. Over the next few years, he would also appear as a recurring character on another Fox sitcom, Living Single.
Heavy D & the Boyz returned to platinum status with 1994's Nuttin' But Love, which spawned hits in "Black Coffee," the R&B Top Five "Got Me Waiting," and the title track. It also became their second album to top the R&B chart, and was their last release as a group. Their leader continued to juggle music, television, and film gigs until his 2011 death, which occurred due to a blood clot. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi