NEW YORK (WABC) -- Hands down, when it comes to Hip Hop, Heavy D put Mount Vernon on the map.
"You couldn't go anywhere without people calling us, Mrs. Myers, Mr. Myers," said Eulahlee Myers, Heavy D's mother.
Eulahlee Myer's son, Dwight Arrington Myers, is better known as Heavy D.
His younger cousin is legendary producer, DJ, and rapper Peter Phillips, AKA Pete Rock.
As a teenager, "I snuck down in the basement of Hev's house, turned on the equipment and Floyd came down and caught me and taught me," Pete said.
Dwight's older brother Floyd.
Pete is considered one of the greatest Hip Hop producers of all time.
This is a story about family, it's influence on each and every decision Dwight made as an artist.
"He said, 'Mom, do you think I could face you and my dad, listening to me on the radio and I'm using profanity?'" his mother said.
On November 8, 2011, Mrs. Myers' youngest child died. A blood clot traveled to Dwight's lung. He was just 44 years old.
"In the morning you speak to your child and within four hours, he's gone," she said.
From their home in Mount Vernon, the matriarch of this proud Jamaican-American family told Eyewitness News about the very beginning, when a then 17-year-old Dwight told her he wanted to be a rapper.
"I said to him, I'm going to give you one year and if you make it I'll be supportive, but if you don't make it, I want you to make me a promise, you're going back to college," she said.
"Within six months, Andre Harrell was at my house asking me to sign the papers," she said.
Harrell was also looking to make his mark in the industry and started his label, Uptown Records. Heavy D and the Boyz was first to sign.
What followed were late nights in the studio and a certain neighbor who idolized Heavy.
"He would follow him everywhere he went and Dwight loved him, thought he said you are getting to be a pain in the neck, you know that, so he went to Andre and said, 'Do me a favor, just hire Puffy,'" she said.
Sean Diddy Combs, the then-intern at Uptown, would years later become president of the label.
Heavy D and the Boyz was on top with five albums. Dwight released four solos but in time, there was a shift.
Heavy always made sure his lyrics were family friendly. It is one reason why artists like Michael and Janet Jackson worked with him.
But he was well aware that the industry was changing with more expletives in songs.
"He said, 'I can't do it mom,' he said, 'Even if we have to go back to where we were, we go back,'" she said.
Dwight focused on acting, raising his daughter, and in a full circle moment landed back at Uptown and later Universal.
But in 2011, he made a return to the stage in what would be his last performance at the BET Hip Hop awards.
Today, Mrs. Myers holds onto words of wisdom she instilled in her family and the lessons that made Dwight the person he was.
"We've always taught our children, show kindness and be respected, it will take you a long way," she said.
Watch our half-hour special 'The Bronx and Beyond: 50 years of Hip Hop' airing on Eyewitness News at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, August 11, followed by a one-hour extended look on Channel 7 at 1 p.m. on Sunday, August 13. Both editions will be made available to stream on-demand at ABC7NY.com or our ABC7NY app on Roku, FireTV, Apple TV and Android TV.
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