According to Lil Cease, Heavy D and the Notorious B.I.G. discussed working on a joint album before their untimely deaths.

“There was an immediate bond,” Lil Cease tells XXL. “Hev was instrumental in getting Puff his first job so they had that connection through Diddy. But Hev always saluted [Big] like, ‘Yo, you that next one. That next big man.'"

“Him and Big was doing the records, they was trying to do a whole project together," Cease continued. "Eventually, they was trying to work on a project together."

But things didn't pan out, timing-wise, because Biggie's career took off in an unexpected way.

“After Big took off, it was hard for them to set up the schedules," Lil Cease said. "But, Big always had the idea in his head like, ‘Yo, you know what? Me and Hev doing something together.' The relationship was there being around the whole Uptown situation. It was a unit, everybody was a family up there; Mary [J.] Blige, Jodeci, Christopher Williams — it was that bond. Him and Big was gonna try to put something together. That’s why they were doing all those records together [and trying to get] a vibe off each other.”

Hev and Big made three official songs together in the early and mid '90s, “Jam Session,” “A Buncha Niggas” and “Let’s Get it On,” the latter notably featuring Grand Puba and Tupac Shakur.

Cease says Big was a big fan of Heavy D and that he and the “Overweight Lover” became fast friends. In fact, Hev encouraged Big to be confident about his plus-size and his appeal to the ladies.

“Hev was that mentor [to Big],” Cease explained. “Hev would give him lessons on the type of records to make. ‘Don’t be afraid to go out your comfort zone. I know you’re known for the ‘Gimme the Loots’ and ‘Ready to Dies,’ but don’t be afraid to make those other type of records, too.’ He was letting him know, ‘The ladies tend to like us big guys if we talking the right shit.’

"So you hear those influences in ‘One More Chance,’" he said. "You hear it in the remix, ‘Fuck You Tonight,’ all those girls records.  Of course Big got some of that from him. Even with the style part, the dress codes. They both was big guys, so they couldn’t find shit to fit them. So Hev would come out with that custom made leather shit. Big, he was getting those 5001 Flavors leathers made of his own shit with the ‘B’ on it.  He just took that pipeline from Hev because Hev is the one that opened the door for the big guys to be lovable , to be fly.”

Cease and the rest of the hip-hop community were stunned when Heavy D died early last week in Los Angeles. A cause of death has not yet been determined.—Shaheem Reid @ShaheemReid